The next star of the show in the Ottawa Symphony Orchestra could be its new violins and violas: they were created from plastic with a 3D printer.

The orchestra used a wooden violin as a model and then spent 18 months fine-tuning the replicas. It turns out they have a slightly different pitch.

Part of the motivation was simply experimentation, according to music director Alain Trudel.

“We wanted to see what the future might look like,” he said.

“What are the sounds that are out there?”

Another benefit of the project is that 3D-printed instruments could be produced at a fraction of the cost of wooden ones.

Soloist Mary-Beth Brown says that could help grow interest in the instrument, especially now that people can access lessons through webcams.

“That’s a lot of what I do,” she said. “So being able to 3D-print would give more people access to more music in more places,” she added.

With a report from CTV’s Annie Bergeron-Oliver