Automatic String Instruments

Mechanical cimbalom

    Mechanical cimbalom

    Turkey, Constantinople


    Carmelo Formosa

    Brass, steel, wood, fabric; woodwork, varnishing, fitter's work

    67 x 111 x 46 cm

    On the plaque: "Fsa CARMELO CONSTANTINOPOLI". On paper sticker inscriptions in Italian and Greek: "CARMELO FORMOSA Inre di Lavori in Lengnio Musiche GALATA, Perchembe-bazar STRADA HEZARENE №13 COSTANTINOPOLI KAPMEɅOΣ ФОРМОZА"


     The body is trimmed with fine wood, the facade panel is decorated with openwork carving, which forms a frame, covered with Bordeaux fabric. Painted image of a girl with flowers and a boy playing lute is in the oval metal frame in the center. A soundboard with strings is behind the panel. A plaque with the inscription: "Fsa CARMELO CONSTANTINOPOLI" is below, on the front side of the base. A barrel with metal pins and a row of felt hammers are in the jukebox bottom part. A crank rotates the barrel. Tunes changing bundle with a plunger pin and a lock are on the left side. One of eight tunes is selected when the barrel is moved along the axis. When the crank is rotated, the barrel pins are forced to hit the hammers in the proper order along the strings and the bell. The musical range of the instrument is three octaves, contains 37 tones, plus the bell. This original instrument was especially popular in Greece, where it was called "Latern". This instrument was widely spread in the first third of the 20th century and played a significant role in the development of Greek popular music. No celebration, holiday or wedding passed without it.