Stroh violin

Stroh Violin

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Stroh violin

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A Stroh violin, Stro(h)viol, violinophone, or horn-violin is a violin that amplifies its sound through a metal resonator and metal horn rather than a wooden sound box as on a standard violin. The instrument is named after its German designer, Johannes Matthias Augustus Stroh, who patented it in 1899. The Stroh violin is also closely related to other horned violins using a mica sheet-resonating diaphragm, known as phonofiddles.

In the present day, many types of horn-violin exist, especially in the Balkans.

Description and background

Stroh violins are much louder than a standard wooden violin, and its directional projection of sound made it particularly useful in the early days of phonographic recording. As regular violins recorded poorly with the old acoustic-mechanical recording method, Stroh violins were common in recording studios, but became rarer after record companies switched to the new electric microphone recording technology in the second half of the 1920s. While the Stroh produces significantly more volume, it does this at the expense of tone, offering a sound that is harsher and more grating than a standard violin. On early records the Stroh violin can be recognized by its characteristically thin whining tone.

The Stroh violin was an expensive instrument: in 1911 it was offered by the London dealers Barnes & Mullins for nine guineas (£9.45, then equal to $37.80) or twelve guineas (£12.60 / $50.40) at a time when a reasonable factory violin could be had for...
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