The Viola Organista by Leonardo da Vinci
The Viola Organista, the instrument invented by Leonardo da Vinci, for the first time in Italy, at Collegio Borromeo in Pavia.
This is the only one instrument in the world. It was built by Sławomir Zubrzycki in Cracow, Poland, working on Leonardo’s sketches.
Alessandro Marangoni – Art director
Stefano Sgarella – Director
Simonetta Bruzzone – Subtitles
SPECIAL THANKS TO
The Viola organista, built in Krakow, Poland in 2009-2012 by Sławomir Zubrzycki.
Designed more than 500 years ago by Leonardo da Vinci, was never built in his lifetime.
The sketch and drawings, described with Leonardo’s characteristic mirror writing, are included in the Codex Atlanticus, the largest set of his notes from the years 1489-1492, comprising over a thousand pages. The Codex is currently stored in the Biblioteca Ambrosiana in Milan. Leonardo’s design is an outline of a construction concept for a bowed string instrument which at the same time is a keyboard instrument. That’s not a technical drawing. It does not contain all the necessary information but more than enough to understand the concept of this instrument.
Some people during five centuries were following that concept. Unfortunately, viola organista did not come into general use. Almost all those instruments disappeared. The only surviving instrument was made in 1625, by a Spanish craftsman, Fray Raymundo Truchado in Toledo. It is preserved in the Musical Instrument Museum in Brussels.
The fact that the viola organista was rejected and forgotten, but every now and then someone returned to it, and then it fell into oblivion again, was extremely motivating for polish pianist, composer and constructor Sławomir Zubrzycki, to built his own version of the instrument invented by Leonardo da Vinci, and debuted it in a performance at the INTERNATIONAL ROYAL CRACOW PIANO FESTIVAL, 18th October 2013 in Krakow. Since that time there has given recitals at viola organista at music festivals in Europe and Turkey.