Leonardo Da Vinci's wacky piano is heard for the first time, after 500 years
Take a bow: The viola organista's strings are played in the same way as a cello. Photo: Tomasz Wiech/AFP A bizarre instrument combining a piano and cello has finally been played to an audience more than 500 years after it was dreamt up Leonardo da Vinci. Da Vinci, the Italian Renaissance genius who painted the Mona Lisa, invented the ‘‘viola organista’’ - which looks like a baby grand piano – but never built it, experts say. The viola organista has now come to life, thanks to a Polish concert pianist with a flair for instrument-making and the patience and passion to interpret da Vinci’s plans. Full of steel strings and spinning wheels, Slawomir Zubrzycki’s creation is a musical and mechanical work of art. Advertisement ‘‘This instrument has the characteristics of three we know: the harpsichord, the organ and the viola da gamba,’’ Zubrzycki said as he debuted the instrument at the Academy of Music in the southern Polish city of Krakow. The flat bed of its interior is lined with golden spruce.
Related: New Musica
• Classic Music