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Stroh violin / Phono violin

7. 1. 2008



la vioara cu goarnâ
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Note Book
Stroh violin or phono violin (viora cu goarnã or highèghe)
Jelu Covaci, village in Bãlnaca, Bihor region

Violin – wood, soundbox – brass

Violin : 61 cm x 12 cm
H :9 cm
Le (soundbox) : 39 cm
D : 12 cm
Bow : 65 cm x 2 cm

Museum of the Romanian Peasant

The Stroh violin or phono violin (vioara cu goarnã) can be found only in a few villages and towns in the tiny region of Transylvania, called Bihor. The body of a violin has been replaced by a mechanism consisting of a diaphragm (previously a phonograph amplifier) fitted into a small round box and connected to a trumpet or bugle bell (previously a phonograph bell). As the bow makes the strings move, they in turn make the bridge vibrate, transmitting the vibrations to the diaphragm which amplifies and expands them through the soundbox. The vioara cu goarnã has a nasal and penetrating sound, much louder than the standard violin (called a vioarã dulce or "soft violin" in the region) which it has supplanted over the course of the century.

Amateur musicians play the vioara cu goarnã (country people play it at home) but professional popular musicians also use it in their groups called taraf. Some buskers who play at fairs and in other Romanian regions, also use it. (In the photo from the Note Book, we see Dumitru Vrânceanu from the village of Berzunti in Moldavia). On festive occasions in Bihor (weddings, Sunday dances, baptisms, etc.), their songs and dance tunes (like Pe picior, Poarga and Mãnãntelul) are accompanied by the beating of a large tambourine (dobã) and possibly by the rhythmic playing of the double-stringed contrã (in this audio recording, a regular violin).

A few craftsmen still make the Stroh violin. The best known makers today come from the village of Rosia. They sell their violins from home or at big country fairs.




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