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New York Music School Has a Familiar Ring to it!

April 16, 2015 - Musical Musings

Hey Joe Guitar Manhattan music school Music teachers, New York

New York Music School Unveils Serpents, Wheelharps and Other Unusual Inventions

The name of Leonardo da Vinci is most often associated with his famous painting, the Mona Lisa. However, Leonardo was – literally – a quintessential Renaissance man, whose many talents encompassed mathematics, architecture, engineering, and other fields.

Among his many inventions was a little-known musical instrument, which he called “viola organista” – a string organ that can best be described as a blend of a harpsichord and cello.

The viola organista never really caught on, but recently a Polish musician used Leonardo’s 500-year-old design to build – and perform on – the mysterious instrument. Its sounds are truly unique and very beautiful.

Who knows how popular Leonardo’s invention would have become had it ever been mass-produced. It may not have ended up in the Louvre museum like the Mona Lisa, but it could have brought lots of pleasure and enjoyment to music lovers everywhere!

Playing their own tune

This is just one example of a little-known instrument, but there are many others. Unlike the viola organista, however, these instruments actually exist and are used – though not widely. Here’s a list of some interesting musical creations you likely never knew existed:

  • The design of an instrument called the “gameleste” was commissioned by the Icelandic singer Björk for her 2011 album Biophilia. It’s a combination of a traditional Indonesian gamelan and a piano-like celesta. This hybrid instrument is quite unique and the sound it emits is ear-pleasing .
  • The wheelharp is one of the newer kids on the block- it made its debut at the 2013 National Association of Music Merchants Show in California. An impressive piece of engineering, it has 61 strings that can be individually played and its sound is quite dramatic .
  • The serpent is so called because it is shaped like a snake. Its sound , however, has nothing to do with hissing; in fact, to our ears it sounds more like a contrabass.
  • And speaking of the contrabass, meet a device called the subcontrabass flute, which, at 15 feet long, is one of the largest instruments in the flute family. As you can hear, the sound it emits is quite dramatic in its intensity.

There are, of course, many, many more little-known but interesting instruments out there. Aren’t you glad we told you?

We’re not re-inventing the wheel

If you would like to have lessons in any the above-mentioned instruments, we’d better tell you right away: regretfully, we won’t be able to help you.

But if you are interested in learning to play the guitar, piano, drums, trumpet, trombone, brass, reeds, saxophone, clarinet flute, violin, viola, cello, strings, accordion, ukulele, banjo, recorder, mandolin, or have voice lessons – contact us.

One of our excellent teachers will come to your Manhattan, Brooklyn or Riverdale home or office and give you or your child music instruction. We may teach only ordinary instruments, but our lessons are truly EXTRAordinary!

Photo by unknown, available under Creative Commons License
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