The violin with a bell
From a playing standpoint the Stroh violin is a violin. It is merely necessary to get used to the forwardly displaced center of gravity of the instrument. To amplify the generated string vibrations, the Stroh violin however does not have a sound body, but rather a bell (or funnel) like a gramophone. The unusual name of this extraordinary instrument is derived from its inventor, Johannes Matthias Augustus Stroh, who developed it in 1899 in London.
A Stroh violin has four to five strings, which are played in the classic way with the bow. The bridge, however, sits on a movable metal arm, which transmits the vibrations of the strings directly to a diaphragm. The resulting sound is then amplified by the funnel directed towards the front (towards the audience). In order for the player to hear himself, there are also models with a second, much smaller funnel that points backwards.
The sound of the Stroh violin is not as tinny as you might think. Especially on recordings of the early twentieth century, Stroh fiddles often sound more authentic than the originals, as their sound could carry better. Stroh violins are much louder than traditional violins, which is a great advantage with unamplified performances. The design with one or two funnels made of aluminum, tin or brass is also an excellent choice for the steampunk scene. Fortunately, the times when a Stroh violin was four to five times more expensive than an ordinary violin are a good 100 years behind us.
Not to be confused with the Vioara cu Goarna
Visually similar, but technically not identical with the Stroh violin and therefore not to be designated as such, is the Romanian horn-violin, the Vioara cu Goarna. This instrument actually uses the resonator of a gramophone. A pointed metal pin protrudes from the bridge on one side and transmits the vibrations to the resonator, which is incorporated into the body of the slender instrument. The horn is narrower and more elongated in these violins. Many of these Romanian horn-violins are homemade instruments.
Those who would like to buy a Stroh violin, will find a selection of 4 and 5 stringed models here in the shop.