Hupfeld Phonoliszt-Violina 1926dev_admin

Hupfeld Phonoliszt-Violina 1926

This instrument is thought to be the most human-like of all automatic musical instruments. This was manufactured by Ludwig Hupfeld A.G. of Leipzig Germany. Three vertically mounted violins, arranged in a semicircle are played by a rotating bow having 1344 individual strands.

The action of this instrument is entirely pneumatic, an electric motor operates a vacuum pump, motive action for all other functions is created by use of vacuum. Individual mechanical “fingers” made of steel, with wooden pads having leather pads simulate the texture of human fingers to fret the individual notes. The violins can play at varying degrees of volume from soft to loud, and can play with a vibrato when called upon by the roll. The piano is expressive, having the ability to play from soft to loud as well.

These instruments were popular in European cafes and restaurants; they provided background music in the age before electronic amplification. Their sheer size saw the destruction of many of the instruments as they fell out of use, making survivors like this very rare.

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