- Museum number
Bowed hollow-body phonographic dichord, a variant of the Phonofiddle.
Pear-shaped wooden soundbox, flat back painted black with incised V-shaped decorative lines, areas painted black on upper and lower belly, f-holes.
Arched bridge/diaphragm housing, made of wood, with metal (aluminium?) circular covers on each side. Each cover with central aperture (a throat) with an oval imprint indicating where a pipe, obliquely set, would originally have been attached to carry a horn. The inner surface of each cover supports a diaphragm of transparent mica with a centrally placed openwork legged dome bridge. Housing fixed longitudinally on to belly. The neck serves as a fingerboard, incised with position lines once filled in with a white inlay (paint?) mostly now missing. Machine heads (tuning pegs) with celluloid buttons, the head plate cut off at one end. Metal replacement string holder. One wire string remaining. Both horns missing. (Description kindly supplied by Martin Medland, see also curator's comment).
- Production date
Length: 88 centimetres
- Curator's comments
- Bowed hollow-bodied phonographic dichords (with a single horn) are rare; double-horned examples are rarer still. Further, the instrument is unusual in that it has a separate bridge, diaphragm, and originally an amplifying horn for each string. Both horns were missing when the object entered the collections in 1972. The instrument is most likely homemade rather than a commercially made piece: the f-holes are crude, inexpert, not aligned; the machine heads’ fixing plate has been cut abruptly at one end, suggesting, perhaps, the plate originally held possibly three or four machine heads. The instrument is almost certainly played seated, held between the knees inclined to the player’s shoulder (cello-like).
Fitted with two strings, double notes and chords can be played (double stopping). The soundbox is pierced by and borne on an elongation of the neck. (Much of the above information, and correct identification of this instrument, kindly supplied by Martin Medland. July 2018.)
The double horns were designed to be removable, for storage, or for use on another instrument. Phonographic dichords were popular with buskers for their strange appearance, which attracted attention, and their loud sound.
- Not on display
- small split on upper edge of box at side
- Acquisition date
- Britain, Europe and Prehistory
- Registration number
- Additional IDs
Miscellaneous number: 1972,As3/Eu1.29 (original Register no., in error)