It looks like a piano and it’s played like one too. But Leonardo da Vinci’s invention, the concept of which is preserved on paper records hundreds of years old, would sound like a violin.
For centuries, the instrument has not been heard — until now.
Polish concert pianist Slawomir Zubrzycki recently built the “viola organista” and debuted his interpretation of it at a piano festival in Krakow, Poland, last month.
Zubrzycki posted video of his concert last week:
A Q&A by Tygodnik Powszechny with Zubrzycki (translated via Google Translate) reported the pianist finding Vinci’s notes on the instrument dating to 1489.
Further research led Zubrzycki to learn about physical constructions of the instrument dating to the 1600s, but “none has survived to our times,” he said.
Zubrzycki took it upon himself to begin reconstructing the instrument in 2009.
But he wasn’t the only one. Akio Obuchi constructed and played his own viola organista in 2004. Zubrzycki said though that Obuchi’s several iterations of the instrument have flaws.
Here’s another example of the viola organista’s music:
Check out this video for a more in-depth look at the instrument and its inner workings (Note: the audio is in Polish):
‘‘I have no idea what Leonardo da Vinci might think of the instrument I’ve made, but I’d hope he’d be pleased,’’ Zubrzycki said of his reconstruction of the instrument, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.
(H/T: Popular Science)