Found Violin

Table of Content

What is Found Violin?

How to Set it up?

Found Violin Dictionary

Collective Developing Process

Performance History

Sound Bank (under construction)

What is Found Violin?

Found Violin is an improvisation system that consists of prepared instruments, extended techniques, sound objects, live electronics, dramaturgy, and choreography. The name implied its concept inspired by the Dada readymade philosophy: the artist chooses a set of objects including a violin and uses them for making noise instead of their original usages. Here the violin became only one of the sound objects, but not a central instrument; like in the 1950s composers liberated voice by making it just one of the instruments in the ensemble, it liberated violin from its stereotype of a typical classical music instrument and sound wise made it possible to let violin blend in “noises” of sound objects and electronics.

Being amplified, banded with an elastic string as capo, being used as a resonance body of a vibrator, being played like a guitar, Guqin, Pipa or percussion…These new instrumentations are added to “ordinary” extend technique like scordatura, con Legno, vertical bowing, together shaped a new library of amplificated object sounds, which fit all kinds of audio effect and many kinds of algorithmic music.

This usage of the violin does not depend on the violin-bow relationship, so the player can be free from holding a violin on their neck. That brings countless possibilities in dramaturgy and choreography which are tightly connected to the music. With the help of live electronic, Found Violin can be a conversation partner of the player and create a narrative even without further performers.

Dong Zhou started developing Table Violin in 2017. Through continuous new experiments, Found Violin as an improvisation system is shaped in 2020 and was performed in 11 festivals and concerts till January 2021. Rather than inventing a new instrument, Dong Zhou regards it as a development of a methodology. As an open system, Found Violin can be always renewed.

How to Set it up?

(under construction)

Found Violin Dictionary


Objects and Combinations of Objects

Extend Techniques

Work with computer music



Objects and Combinations of Objects (click to see example)

Must Amplified

elastic ring

CD/ card



elastic ring + CD/ card

CD + vibrator

elastic ring + bow with low velocity

CD + bow with low velocity

Must Not Amplified (or only very little amplification)


2 bows

elastic ring + bow with normal to high velocity

CD + bow with high velocity

Extend Techniques (click to see example)

Extend Techniques Only for Found Violin

Must Amplified

Guqin Pluck

Pipa Pluck

Guitar Tremolo

Finger Percussion on Front Board (with low velocity)

Must Not Amplified

Double Bowing Back and Forth

Double Bowing Back/ Forth and Left/ Right

Existed Extend Techniques which also work on Found Violin

Here is an uncompleted list of extend techniques which were proved that work on Found Violin well. If not specified, they can play both with and without amlification.

con legno, scordatura, Bartok pizzicato, on bridge, circular bowing, hit on front or rear board

Following extend techniques are recommended to play without amplification.

sul tasto, sul ponticello, sub ponticello, vertical bowing

Work with computer music

Live Electronic through Audio Processing

Algorithmic Music



Collective Developing Process

Found Violin was developed through many jam sessions with different musicians. From now on I would like to be more initiative to include more people to this improvisation system. Any new elements added to it, or any new performers to play with it are very welcomed. Please leave a comment on this page or send a message to to tell me your ideas. I will add your contribution to this page with credit.

Performance History

08.02.2020 WE PRESENT #15 in LICHTHOF Theater Hamburg

29.02.2020 SERIAL – The International Festival of Exploratory Music of Évora

13.06.2020 Harmonie – Gong Projekt Online Performance

17.10.2020 Soundwave Festival

29.10.2020 Silence Song in Tonali Saal Hamburg

24.11.2020 Dreaming Fields of Action : Improvisation collective en multiplexe avec Hambourg

11.01.2021 Hahaha Hehehe Hihihi in HfMT Hamburg, played by Deniz Bo and Dong Zhou

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