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Hupfeld Phonoliszt-Violina Model B Music Cabinet
- This rare Hupfeld Phonoliszt-Violina Model B is the finest automatic music player of its time
- Finely tuned instruments, including three violins and a piano, are integrated into the machine
- Boasting an unprecedented musical range, the player closely mimics the sound of live musicians
- It is one of only 63 surviving examples of this remarkable machine
- Get complete item description here
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A large step above the popular mechanical piano of the day, the Phonoliszt-Violina was expensive to produce, and therefore was only available to the most exclusive clientele. The necessity for its expense is evident when considering the astonishing complexity of the instrument. Three violins playing strings tuned to D, A and E are bowed by a circular 1,350-strand horsehair bow cage, while a cross-strung Rönisch pianoforte accompanies the strings. Remarkably, both the piano and the violins are dynamic, allowing for a previously unheard-of range of volume and tone. From the most delicate pianissimo to a crashing fortissimo, the unparalleled instrument has the ability to render musical pieces with all of the skill and vigor of a real musician. Over 900 music rolls were created for the Phonoliszt-Violina over the decades, of which 50 rolls are included with the present machine.
The firm of Ludwig Hupfeld was established in Leipzig in 1892, when Ludwig Hupfeld, an accomplished musician, mechanic and businessman, acquired the musical instrument manufacturers J.M. Grob & Co. The firm quickly rose in popularity as its mechanical instruments grew more and more complex. Products made by the firm included various piano-playing machines and orchestrions. The idea of creating an automatic violin came to Hupfeld in 1900, and by 1907, the firm displayed the Klavier mit Streichton, or piano with string tone, at the Leipzig Autumn Trade Fair. At the Brussels World’s Fair of 1910, a Phonoliszt-Violina was received with great acclaim and earned a medal, with renowned violinist Ephrem Zimbalist calling the instrument “the wonder and marvel of our time.”
This Violina model is featured on the cover of The Violin-Playing Machines, 2012, by Q. D. Bowers
106” high x 75” wide x 32” deep