Introducing the Hupfeld Phonoliszt-Violina

The Hupfeld Phonoliszt-ViolinaCourtesy of YouTube

March 14, 2017

Have you ever wished you could play three violins at once? Well before you go trying to grow extra arms, meet the Hupfeld Phonoliszt-Violina.

Originally invented in 1907 by German industrialist/instrument maker Ludwig Hupfeld, this orchestrion was a highlight of the World's Exhibition of 1910 in Brussels. Collectibles website Antique HQ once dubbed it "the eighth wonder of the world":

Three violins (each with only one active string) mounted vertically were played by a round rotating bow made of 1300 threads of horse hair, according to the program on the roll of perforated paper. The small bellows replaced the violin player's fingers, pressing on the strings to obtain the necessary notes. The piano can be driven either unaccompanied or together with the violins. It controls 38 accompaniment keys with 12 high notes (one octave) in extension. The whole pneumatic systems are controlled by an electric engine of uninterrupted current.

The Hupfeld Phonoliszt-Violina was recently restored by Fred Bernouw of The Netherlands, and you can see the amazing instrument in action below:

Emil Ohlsen — Lotosblumen, Op. 100: Waltz

Frédéric Chopin — Nocturne In E-Flat Major, Op. 9, No. 2

Hugo Hirsch — Lelia