Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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The control of a piano with the timbre of a violin.
  [vote for,

This is a new instrument, that takes a keyboard interface, adds a few levers, and produces a tone that resembles that of the violin, viola, or cello, depending on the octave.

Firstly, a soundboard is constructed with violin strings, all strung vertically, much like an upright piano, with one string for each key. The strings are not stationary, but rather, when the corresponding key is pressed, the whole string shifts forward half a centimetre, forcing it into contact with a mechanical bow.

The mechanical bow is situated horizontally, perpendicular to the array of strings, and near the base of each string, which is where a violinst would ordinarily place his or her bow. There is a gap of half a centimetre between the bow and the string. The bow is moved back and forth by a lever, which the musician controls with one hand. Thus, pressing a key will not produce any sound; the task can only be accomplished by pressing keys with one hand, and moving the lever with the other.

This instrument cannot accompany itself like a regular piano, as there is only one free hand with which to press keys. It has an advantage over a regular piano, however, for it can provide a wider range of dynamic ability, including the ability to crescendo on a long tone.

The same result could probably be achieved with a synthesizer, but then again, acoustic instruments do possess an allure of their own.

WordUp, Jul 04 2004

Wurlitzer Band Rolls http://www.carousels.com/wurroll.htm
The 165 music roll had the most playing notes and register controls of the three styles. Swell shades, register controls for wood trumpets, trombones, violin and viola (loud), piccolo and flagolet, flutes, violin (soft). [not_only_but_also, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 05 2004]

EBow http://www.ebow.com/
Equip a piano with these. [waugsqueke, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 05 2004]

Eventually technology obsoletes ingenuity. http://www.youtube....watch?v=EzjkBwZtxp4
[mouseposture, Feb 27 2010]


       You've just invented the hurdy-gurdy, and only a few centuries late.
(Later) I know it's not quite how a hurdy-gurdy works, but the concept is similar. The hurdy has eight or ten strings permanently bowed, and the player stops up to four of them to produce varying notes. Your instrument has 88 strings and the player selects which of them (to a maximum of five - one per finger) are to be bowed. Yours has no drone strings, the hurdy has several.
A possible objection is that, for the string to be capable of being moved toward the bow, it cannot be in contact with a sufficiently large sound-board to produce a resonant sound unless the pivot point is precisely where the string passes the bridge. Different strings having different thicknesses (by a factor of quite a lot), I'm not sure that this is possible.
Nice idea though; it may be worth developing.
angel, Jul 05 2004

       One end of the string on a moveable tuning peg, one end on a good sounding board. To be big enough to provide 88 string fastenings, the sounding board would be piano-sized and therefore not sound like a violin. Still, you could have an interesting new instrument there. Full polyphony is available, especially if you replace the sostenuto pedal with a bowing pedal, freeing up both hands. And no, you couldn't really synthesise it very well, bowed instruments are notoriously difficult to synthesize properly. Croissant.
wagster, Jul 05 2004


       A good idea, but I think it has been baked. Some guy invented an "automatic orchestra" which included a device for violins similar to yours, except the piano hammers were little revolving bows (instead of one big bow and strings brought forward).   

       + anyway, since it reminded me of the lovely device.   

not_only_but_also, Jul 06 2004

       "I prefer a violin rather than a piano."
"Oh, why is that?"
"I move furniture."
FarmerJohn, Jul 06 2004

       Theoretical croissant for [waugs]'s notion of a piano with 88 E-Bows. Amazing devices; every guitarist should get one. Part of the amazingness lies in the variation of tone available by altering the position of the 'bow relative to the string; may be difficult to achieve.
angel, Jul 06 2004

       Q. If you throw a violin and a violano off a roof, which one lands first?
A. Who cares?
phundug, Jul 06 2004

       Why not just put frets on the violin, like a guitar? Of course, you would lose most of the ability to have a nice warm vibrato, which would make the violin is a completely different (and less pleasing) instrument.
luecke, Jul 06 2004

       I guess I should've mentioned, this thing wouldn't have any strings below, say, the second E on the piano. Also, it might be a wiser idea to create different sizes of these instruments, resulting in a whole family with violinos, violanos, cellanos, whatever...   

       If I had the know-how to build one of these, I'd definitely make it portable.
WordUp, Jul 06 2004

       //Why not just put frets on the violin, like a guitar? //
You mean like the viol, which is one of the ancestors of the guitar?
angel, Jul 07 2004

       Foot cranked, keyboard controlled hurdy gurdy. Better yet, replace the striking/plucking mechanism of a Fender Rhodes with hurdy gurdy wheels. Again, have it be foot cranked. Either foot cranked, or automatic with a speed modulating foot pedal.
Joolin, Oct 24 2009

       If you're going to have the strings raise to meet the bow-device, then you can have the "bow" be a horsehair (or horsehair-like substance) belt-loop run between two pulleys placed on either side of the frame. There was a device called a "bowed clavier" which according to Wikipedia, had a cylinder which rotated above the strings of a keyboard instrument.   

       I think you'd be restricted to (relatively) slow passages though since you'd be moving the weight of an entire arm and string up to meet the belt for each played note.
FlyingToaster, Feb 27 2010

       That's what I like about this place - it's an MMPOFG (massively multi-player online fool-playing game).
MaxwellBuchanan, Feb 27 2010

       [MB] eh ?
FlyingToaster, Feb 27 2010

       I said "it's an MMPOFG (massively multi-player online fool- playing game)"
MaxwellBuchanan, Feb 27 2010

       meh, I'll stay upwind of whatever that was.
FlyingToaster, Feb 27 2010


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