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Acoustic piano sounds like a violin? Invention of Leonardo da Vinci built with modern technology.

It has intriguing keys and sound. It was designed by the master Leonardo da Vinci, and built by… Pole. The unusual instrument, designed over 500 years ago by da Vinci, was recently built by Slawomir Zubrzycki. He was able to restore an amazing mechanism. An instument called Viola organista, is … quite intresting, because it sounds like a combination of violin and cello.

Viola organista made by Sławomir Zubrzycki –

Slawomir Zubrzycki built an instrument based on plans of Leonardo da Vinci. It‘s the only working instrument of that kind in the world. What makes it special? The answer is simple. This is a combination of keyboard and string instruments. The project involved an innovative way of sound creation. The player plays on the keyboard similar to the piano keyboard, but the sound that comes out of Viola organista has characteristics typical for string instruments.

Unfortunately, Da Vinci couldn’t see the realization of his project. Only after his death, a similar machine was built by Hans Haiden in 1575. The real instrument built in accordance with plan of Da Vinci was constructed many years later. First attempt was taken up by Akio Obuchi in 2004, but he didn’t manage to do it well enough so the effect would be satisfactory. A full-featured instrument with sound that allows to concert was built only by Zubrzycki.

Zubrzycki was inspired by the story of a remarkable mechanism, built in the ’30s of the nineteenth century in the vicinity of Łańcut (Poland) by the priest Jan Jarmusiewicz.
Builder analyzed old documents. They showed that, as in most of Da Vinci’s inventions, the instrument was far ahead of his times. Old technology didn’t allow this instrument to sound good. The instrument was getting out of tune too quickly. Only modern technology allowed to show the extraordinary possibilities of this instrument.

Viola organist is fully functional, plays beautifully, allows to perform and … looks intriguing.

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