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Hear Music Played on the Viola Organista, Which Leonardo da Vinci Invented, but Never Heard

March 1, 2018

The Viola Organista might have changed the course of musical history had Leonardo had the wherewithal or desire to build one in his lifetime.

Sketched out in notebook pages contained in the Codex Atlanticus, the design showed “an outline of a construction concept for a bowed string instrument which at the same time is a keyboard instrument.” Having built a version of the instrument 500 years after its invention, Polish concert pianist Slawomir Zubrzycki describes it as having “the characteristics of three [instruments] we know: the harpsichord, the organ and the viola da gamba.”

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