Today I learned that in 1910 at the International Exposition in Brussels a mechanical instrument was presented called the “Phonoliszt Violina”. It’s a mechanical machine that plays music by itself, like a barrel organ, but instead of using pipes or plates to make sounds, this machine was playing an actual piano along with the most impressive instrument to automate at that time: The violin. Due to the complexity of the play of a violin it was considered to be impossible to automate, but as the existence of this machine shows, it’s possible and very impressive. The machine basically contains three violins where each of them only plays one string. Mechanical “fingers” then make sure the accords are hit. Generally speaking very impressive.
I learned about this as part of re-watching some of the marble machine videos which I came across a long time ago. The same YouTube channel, “Wintergartan”, published the video I watched today that talked about this machine.