The discussion of the past days, "What's a hurdy-gurdy," brought me to the idea to introduce to you the Monocorde de V.J. Poussot.
V.J. Poussot was a French "inventeur et fabricant" who invented and built a unique instrument at the end of the 19th century. The instrument consists of the body of a violin with one string (monocorde). Above the string there is a keyboard (19 keys, 1 1/2 chromatic octaves) which presses tangents against the string, one tangent for each key. The string is bowed with a normal violin bow.
V.-J. Poussot says in an advertisment of 1889: "It's very easy to play my Monocorde. A few minutes of exercises without teacher nor textbook, is enough. The Monocorde is an instrument to be played in the saloon; its outfit, its decoration and its sound, which harmonizes well with the piano, will entertain the audience. Some "chef de musique" are using this instrument in their orchestres exclusively. Different types of the Monocorde are available: fifre, soprano, baryton, basse and contrebasse."
To play this instrument I had to exercise much more than "a few minutes" and my audience does not enjoy very much the sound of my Monocorde -- but I enjoy having this "semi-mechanical music instrument" in my collection of mechanical music instruments.
Please enjoy the attached picture of my soprano Monocorde.
Greetings from Germany
26 Mar 2002 14:28:51 +0100