One of Leonardo da Vinci’s inventions has come to life for the first time. The Age reports that plans for a “viola organista” were followed by Polish concert pianist Slawomir Zubrzycki. The plans came from da Vinci’s Codex Atlanticus, a twelve volume set of drawings and writings.
Zubrzycki constructed the instrument over three years and 5,000 hours. He says:
“This instrument has the characteristics of three we know: the harpsichord, the organ and the viola da gamba.”
The instrument is similar to a baby grand piano both in outside appearance and the steel strings it has inside of it, yet it sounds more like a string section. The inside strings are connected to the keys on the keyboard. It has “four spinning wheels wrapped in horse-tail hair, like violin bows” which are turned via a pedal under the keyboard. When the keys are pushed down the strings are pushed onto the turning wheels, emitting sound.
Image by Eternal*Voyageur, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0).