In Prague to visit the NS factory, I came across the “Original Prague Syncopated Orchestra” playing 1920s Jazz on the beautiful Charles Bridge. What caught my eye was the violinist, who was playing a strange hybrid violin with a brass horn wrapped around the back of his head. I introduced myself to Jan Simunek, who explained that the design, called a violinophone, gained some popularity early in the last century, and that the sound is perfect for the jazz music he loves to play.
I thought that those of you who, like me, enjoy inventive instruments from the past, would find this interesting. It’s a bit like it’s better known cousin, the Stroh violin, which also uses a horn, but this one is even more fun. As you can see in the photos, it incorporates a shoulder rest for the right shoulder and none for the left! The sound is pure and sweet, but a little thin and quiet compared to a normal violin.