more top stories »


— Music

Exploring the future of the violin

By - July 23, 2006 5 Pictures
July 24, 2006 One glance at a Ted Brewer violin leaves one in no doubt whether he is a maker of traditional musical instruments. He freely acknowledges that with a world of changing possibilities, it is his duty to explore applying new materials, technology, design and his passion for crafting beautiful instruments to explore the future of the violin. Currently Brewer produces three models at his Rotherham, U.K. workshop – the customised individually produced Crossbow (as used by Vanessa Mae (video here)) and Hades and the new Vivo2. Ted handcrafted just 25 instruments a year until massive market demand forced a need to look to greater throughput and he began to explore new production methods for his new vivo2 line, which is now sold by selected stockists. Instead of hand-carving his instruments from acrylic block, he took full advantage of the capabilities of GE Plastics' Lexan Visualfx special effects resin to add some stunning visual impact at the same time as moving to injection molding. The use of mainly transparent (mixed with blue and violet) special effects resin also allowed Brewer Violins to incorporate a special illumination feature: the Vivo2 violin has a built-in sound-to-light capability using two vertical banks of super-bright white LEDs. Light pulses along the length of the instrument to complement the music. The Crossbow can be heard here, the Hades can be heard here, and the Vivo2 can be heard here and here. Read More
— Music

The Electric Violin

By - March 25, 2006 6 Pictures
March 26, 2006 The violin is one of the oldest of instruments with roots going back 7000 years, arriving in its current form 500 years ago. So classically trained musician Tricia Ho felt that it was time to redesign the classical instrument with 21st century ergonomics and an interchangeable frame system that allow the player to customise the violin to suit their style and reduce musculoskeletal disorders in player’s necks and shoulders. “Coming from a background of classical violin training I have many friends who experienced problems gripping a traditional violin”, said Ho, a student at the University of New South Wales. Read More
— Around The Home

The world’s first software company and the world’s first player violin

By - August 24, 2005 8 Pictures
August 25, 2005 Prior to the advent of electronic mass media, the height of home entertainment technology was the player piano – a piano which played music encoded in binary format on perforated paper rolls. The company which became the dominant provider of both player pianos and the rolls they played is still in business today, and rightfully claims to be the world’s oldest software company. Interestingly, QRS (formerly Quality Roll Services) is now selling one of the most remarkable musical instruments in the world - the world’s first player violin, the QRS Virtuoso Violin. The QRS Virtuoso Violin is a real acoustic instrument. It produces sound by moving a bow across a string, just as a traditional violin does. Only in this case, bow and string are controlled by a computer chip rather than a human hand. Unlike the traditional violin, which has four strings, the Virtuoso Violin uses a single three-Inch steel "string-blade" to create sound. The bow, driven by motors and microchips in a box on which the violin is mounted, glides back and forth over this vibrating blade. The resulting sound rivals that of the traditional violin. Read More

Subscribe to Gizmag's email newsletter