da Vinci dreams up three instruments in one–Meet the Viola Organista

By Christina (Yelin) Chung

The Viola Organista. Photo by Josh Withers

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spaceMore than 500 years ago, Leonardo da Vinci dreamed up an instrument that looked like a piano but sounded like a cello–the viola organista.
 
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space However, this mechanism was not brought to life until Slawomir Zubrzycki, a Polish concert pianist, dedicated three years and over $9,000 to create it.
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spaceThe viola organista is a piano-violin hybrid that plays like a piano, but instead of hammers that are normally found within the instrument–it uses cranks wound around violin bows that rubs the strings. These create a similar sound to the church organ and a cello.
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space“Zubrzycki built the instrument from da Vinci’s original plans”, says Josh Withers, one of the many that attended the unveiling of the instrument on November 18th.
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Pianist Slawomir Zubrzycki presents the “viola organista”. Photo by AFP/AFP/Getty Images

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spaceAs for the pianist, Zubrzycki said, “I have no idea what da Vinci might think of the instrument I’ve made, but I’d hope he’d be pleased”.
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spaceThe revealing of the viola organista was at Poland’s Academy of Music, and it was “widely welcomed as a work of art, as well as [being] a great musical achievement” said Withers.
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space“This instrument has the characteristics of three [that] we [the general musical audience] know: the harpischord, the organ and the viola da gamba [viol],” Zubrzycki said as he explained his instrument with a hint of pride.
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View original article: Here
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