ROME – A reconstruction of an organ designed by Leonardo Da Vinci capable of sounding continuously without interruptions has been unveiled and played for the first time in Italy on Monday.
Experts played the recreation of the instrument, which in the version presented now, more than five hundred years after it was conceived to mark the V centenary of the death of Da Vinci, generates a sound like a recorder.
“This instrument is particularly interesting because its sound quality and intonation are probably better than those of any other instrument designed by Leonardo,” experts from the Milan-based museum and research center Leonardo 3 said in a statement.
The reconstruction is aimed at highlighting “the extraordinary heritage of creativity” that the Renaissance genius gave the city, councilor of culture, Filippo Del Corno said.
The organ has been made from sketches the inventor created featured in the Madrid II Codex, which is housed in the Spanish National Library.
A meticulous study of Da Vinci’s (1452-1519) designs has paved the way for a faithful physical and functional reconstruction of the organ for the first time in history, the museum added.
The wind instrument designed by the Renaissance master consists of a large organ equipped with a double-bellows system to blow air into the tubes and produce sound.
In the organs of the courts, theaters or churches of that time, the musician was put before the keyboard, while an assistant operated the bellows and generated air, but that power was interrupted when the bellows reach their maximum capacity.
To solve this problem, Leonardo designed in his sketches a set of pedals with which the musician himself could activate the bellows and fuel the organ whilst making an uninterrupted sound.
Thanks to the Florentine artist’s ingenious design, one person would be enough for the whole process.
The construction of the “Continuous Organ” was possible thanks to a detailed study of the historical sources, the manuscript of the Madrid II Codex, together with the knowledge about the Da Vinci projects acquired over the years by the Leonardo 3 research center.
This contraption will now become part of the collection of Leonardo’s musical instruments of the institution open to the public.