Thursday, March 08, 2007

Steampunk Music

No, this isn't a post about Vernian Process or Abney Park (though I hope to do be doing something on Vernian Process soon, and there is a nice interview with Abney Park in the first issue of Steampunk Magazine.)

No, this post is about a strange of link our resident expert of the strange, Iain de Sane, sent me.

Yes, friends and neighbors, this is about the Stroh Violin, seen above. This odd duck of a stringed instrument, (or chimeric combination of strings and brass) was patented in 1899 by Johannes Matthias Augustus Stroh. Apparently the recording equipment of the time did not pickup the notes of a violin well. The Stroh Violin compensates for this by being much louder, through using a metal horn which is similar in appearance to a gramaphone speaker, as a resonator instead of the traditional wooden sound box. Advances in microphone technology in 20's pretty much did away with them, though that wacky old Tom Waites has been known to use one in his recordings. The sound while louder, is more metallic and lacks the warm depth of tone which comes from wooden violins. You can hear some samples here. has a model with an aluminum bell for $405 USD and a brass model for $445.
Readers across the pond may wish to order from the German site Phonofiddle who offer two similar models for 360 Euro and 400 Euro, respectively.
Could be just the thing for entertaining folks in the cavernous common room during a transatlantic Zepplin cruise...

1 comment:

TSDF said...

I so want to hear what that instrument sounds like :)