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Codex Madrid II, folio 76r

Continuous Organ

It is a musical instrument with bellows, known as "Leonardo's Accordion". Despite some similarities with the traditional accordion, it is an instrument with a totally different timbre.

The accordion's sound, bright and vibrant, is produced by the sound of vibrating metal reeds. In the Continuous Organ, on the other hand, it is produced by the passage of air through the pipes - made of wood or, as Leonardo himself suggests, paperboard - which produce a warm, soft sound.
The instrument was carried with straps and fastened to the belt with a hook, probably made of iron, clearly shown in the drawing. This particular configuration allowed the musician to have both hands free and to be able to walk while performing the tunes. With one arm the musician would swing the entire instrument, imparting an alternating "left-right" motion.
L3 Collection
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