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April 2015
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3D Printing Brings Science to the Symphony Hall


With the advent of 3D printing, designers, musicians, and engineers have been able to create instruments that just years ago, no one could have ever dreamed up.

MONAD Studios has just unveiled their piezoelectric violin, an instrument with two strings, but which the designers claim still sounds and plays like a traditional violin.

Piezoelectricity, which passes naturally through substances such as quartz, has been used for decades.

Gramophones, for example, use piezoelectricity to recognize sounds when a needle presses against vinyl records, which then converts that pressure into electrical currents, and ultimately into sounds.

MONAD’s violin is one of several instruments they bring to the 3D print design show in New York, alongside a cello and two sizes of didgeridoo.

Designer Eric Goldemberg described why he wanted to create the piezoelectric violin in a recent interview with the BBC:

“Our desire to create unusual instruments emerged when we realised the aesthetic and technical issues we were facing as architects did not differ much from those of musicians and composers.”

“With each of our original instruments, a certain functionality and ergonomic structure is preserved: this is why we can call our violin a violin, our cello, a cello, and so forth.” He added, “There is a certain physical standard of componentry which must be maintained.”

Goldemberg said that he and the co-creators of the instrument are working to achieve a “balancing act of paying homage to history and tradition while at the same time looking forward boldly into the future.”


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