What fascinates me, wearing my musicology hat, is that he chooses the Folias de Espagne by Marais, to demonstrate the sound of the instrument. This is a composition dating from the late 17th century used to demonstrate an instrument envisioned by Leonardo in the late 15th, early 16th century. This reminds me of the old joke: a musicologist is someone who can perform a piece of 18th century music using 15th century ornaments!
Now let me offer an historical critique. The musical instrument that Leonardo might have been thinking of is the hurdy gurdy, a venerably ancient instrument whose strings are sounded with a rotating wheel, just as in this case. The difference is the addition of a keyboard, which was present in various forms of the organ in Leonardo's time. Now, the question is, did Leonardo think of putting them together, or was it our Polish friend? We really need to see those excerpts from the original notes of Leonardo to know. Here is are some photos of the hurdy gurdy:
|Medieval hurdy gurdy|
|Later form of hurdy gurdy|