Friend Eric (eba) forwards several links to youtube clips of forgotten instruments: the Ondes Martenot (for which Messiaen among others composed), the Toy Piano (a favorite of mine; I’ve played such and (once or twice) really moved the parents of the kid-owners of such instruments), Trautonium, and even the Mellotron. Those who remember it from late-1960s Rock albums may be surprised to find how it’s used here.
To these I will add a clip of my old friend Roland Hutchinson introducing the Baryton, a mostly bowed instrument for which Haydn wrote many works, and a more modern version of the Arpeggione, which here—in a more modern version (but I believe essentially the same instrument)—is called a Bowed Guitar. What I continue to await is a serious performance of Schubert’s Argeggione Sonata actually ON one of these instruments—even a newer one. I’ve been the collaborating pianist on this piece, and it is a masterwork, but is only performed in transcription: double-bass, cello, viola, alto saxophone, what-have-you. It is a probably unique situation for a superb piece like this to have been written for an instrument that really never caught on at all, so all questions of performance practices, idiomatic writing for the instrument and so on are…utterly irrelevant until we see how the instrument really worked.
I’ll keep waiting. I’m used to waiting.