Nov 22

Leonardo Da Vinci’s “The Viola Organista”

Leonardo Da Vinci’s “The Viola Organista”


This instrument , Leonardo Da Vinci’s “The Viola Organista” was invented by over 500 years ago and has been built and brought to life using his own plans by Slawomir Zubrzycki.  It has a piano style keyboard and sixty one strings, but instead of being struck or plucked by hammers or plectrum, there are four spinning discs covered in horse hair that graze the strings, almost like bowing them.  The spinning is controlled by the player who presses on a pedal under the instrument which turns a crankshaft and spins the wheels..

It took Slawomir Zubrzycki 5000 hours to make and it is believed to be the first completed instrument of it’s kind.  Da Vinci himself never built it and there are no records of him ever having heard the sound it made.  All the more remarkable then that it worked at all and it has to be wondered what it would sound like if he had heard it and refined it.  It’s very string like in sound, almost organ like too, hence the name and it certainly is an interesting hybrid sound.




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