Listen to Leonardo da Vinci's 500-year-old piano-cello hybrid
Drawings from the Codex Atlanticus were used by a Polish pianist to resurrect the 'mythical' instrument
Monday 25 November 2013
A musical instrument that was devised by the Italian luminary Leonardo da Vinci over 500 years ago has been constructed and played in Poland for the first time.
Sławomir Zubrzycki, a pianist and composer, crafted the ‘viola organista’ from the plans that were sketched by da Vinci in around 1470. The plans come from the Codex Atlanticus, an 11-volume collection of da Vinci’s drawings and writings, comprising work on a range of subjects from botany to physics.
There have been a number of attempts to recreate the viola organista in the past, but each time the instrument “fell into oblivion”, Zubrzycki said in an interview.
So, the Polish musician set upon creating his own version of the “mythical” instrument. Starting the project in 2009, Zubrzycki only completed it last year after overcoming a number of practical complications.
The instrument, which resembles a baby grand piano, is a hybrid of sorts, combining the piano and the cello. To play it, a foot pedal is continuously pumped, spinning four wheels inside the instrument that are wrapped in horse tail hair (the same material that is used for violin bows). When a key is pressed, the corresponding metal string presses down onto the wheel, creating a sound similar to a cello.
The viola organista was debuted by Zubrzycki last month at the Academy of Music in Krakow, the academy from which he graduated in 1988.
Speaking at the event, Zubrzycki said: “I have no idea what Leonardo Da Vinci might think of the instrument I’ve made, but I’d hope he’d be pleased.”
Life & Style blogs
As a white man, I'm surprised more women aren't tweeting the hashtag #KillAllWhiteMen
Scotland may have to leave the EU even if it votes to stay in, David Cameron confirms
Report finds that Britain's wages are the most unequal in Europe
Almost a third of school pupils believe 'Muslims are taking over our country', study claims
The day that Britain resigned as a global power
Gay marriage 'Bert and Ernie' cake bakery found guilty of discrimination in Northern Ireland
- 1 Crystal meth addict 'gouged out his eyes and ate them' while high on drug, Australian MP claims
- 2 As a white man, I'm surprised more women aren't tweeting the hashtag #KillAllWhiteMen
- 3 The ten most unequal developed countries in the world
- 4 Saudi Arabia 'seeking to head United Nations Human Rights Council'
- 5 Toddler throws a tantrum at the White House – in front of Barack Obama
iJobs Gadgets & Tech
£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...
£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...
£25000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Graduate UI Application Developer - ...