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Watch The First Public Performance Of A Reconstruction Of Leonardo Da Vinci’s Piano-Cello Hybrid
November 19, 2013
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Among the myriad fantastical devices dreamed up by Leonardo Da Vinci in the Renaissance was the Viola Organista, a kind of cross between a piano and a cello that the famous inventor never got around to building. More than 500 years later, Slawomir Zubrzycki, a polish pianist and instrument builder, has fixed that. In a recent concert in Krakow, Poland, he debuted his version of the unique instrument, performing a selection of pieces from the baroque and classical periods. Inside the device are 61 steel strings and four spinning wheels wrapped in the same kind of horse hair used for a cello bow. Each time Zubrzycki presses a key, the corresponding string gets pressed down onto a wheel, sort of the inverse of what happens with a cellist's bow. You can get a look at the process at the 3:48 mark in the (Polish-language) video below:

Zubrzycki is not the first to attempt to build a viola organista; Japanese harpsichord builder Akio Obuchi performed on a much smaller one in 2004. "I have no idea what Leonardo da Vinci might think of the instrument I’ve made," Zubrzycki told AFP. "But I’d hope he’d be pleased."

Via Sydney Morning Herald

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