Carl Stroh's Amazing Violin

The other night, I saw a tiny bit of a terrible-looking film called Bloodhounds of Broadway. Madonna was singing in a 1920s bar. In the background was a violinist playing a violin with big metal horns poking out of the side. A bit of Googling reveals it was a Stroh Violin, invented in 1899 by Carl Augustus Stroh. It was developed for the early recording industry. Until around 1920, records were cut by the band standing around a large horn connected to a needle scraping the grooves into the master, and strings were hard to record. So Stroh removed the violin's sound chamber and replaced it with a brass (later aluminium) horn attached to the bridge. Later models also had a secondary horn, pointed at the player - probably the first monitor speaker in history. The Stroh should have died out completely in the '20s, but according to this page, they became popular in a small region of Transylvania called Bihor. Perhaps inevitably, Tom Waits uses a Stroh, as do The Kryonics. You can buy a new, Thai made Stroh for $408 from strohviolin.com (or $315 from their eBay shop).They offer this [mp3] unpromising sound sample to prospective buyers. More pictures at Elderly Instruments.


Comments:
the icelandic group Múm use something like this as well, with great results.
 
ive always wanted to know how to play the violin...
 
I HAVE ONE!!!!! mine was made in BIHOR Transilvania and I use it to play klezmer music!!!!I love it: its a real piece of sh*t in terms of construction, but stile, I love it!
 
About three years ago I took a ride service to the airport in SF and one of the ladies sharing the ride with me had the bell of a Stroh violin sticking out of her bag. We talked about it for the duration of the trip. Her's was brass in color and seemed to have a bigger bell, but otherwise it was similar. Wish I'd gotten her # to hear that thing played.
 
two places to here them played

www.jeremyb.com/music
---click on strings, then " Vioara Cu Goarna"
OR for a *real* Rom (gypsy) goto
http://real.irc.uci.edu/rgarfias/mp3/bihor/04-maruntel-din-valani.mp3
 
I've always wanted to know how to play the violin...
I wish to play it someday!
 
The first time I saw one of these was in the Lark in the Morning music store catalog
 
Tom Waits employs one of these on his album 'Alice'.

A very unique and haunting sound!
 
Louise played on the Stroh Fiddle (Violin) by Corwin Zekley age 11. Made by Johannes Matthias Augustus Stroh in 1900. Recorded at a concert December 15, 2007 with the Zekley Family Band. The instrument is also called the Phonofiddle or Phono Fiddle.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k8GFL2AVA4M
 
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