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Musical instruments are the tools used to make music; due to differences in musical instruments, similar musical ideas can sound different. Some acoustic instruments, such as drums and flutes, have existed since prehistoric times, but in the last few hundred years the number of instruments has grown to a multitude, and they have been supplemented by a variety of electronic instruments since the 19th century. This travel topic mentions destinations related to musical instruments.

Understand[edit]

There are few instruments that, in various forms, have existed in various forms and seem to be international: forms of the flute, harp, guitar, and drums all have long histories as instruments, and appear under other names in ancient works like the Bible. However, it was not until after the middle ages that musical instruments began to improve rapidly, along with the evolution of classical music during that era, and grew even more with the rise of marching bands and, not too long after, jazz music, which saw the range of sounds in musical instruments become very wide, and even saw musicians invent different sounds and techniques that could increase the range of an instrument.

Instrument-related destinations[edit]

Flute[edit]

Flute is one of the most ancient instruments, with flutes made of bone having been found in digs well into prehistory. Today, instruments of the flute/recorder family are widespread and found in many varieties around the world.

  • China is one country where traditional flutes (dizi) are for sale. As with anything else there, be careful about quality, as wooden flutes can crack, for example.

Violin[edit]

  • Cremona is where the famous maker of violins and other string instruments, Stradivari, had his workshop.

Piano[edit]

Drums[edit]

  • West African countries are great places to find drums. Brazil is also an excellent source, in that case of Afro-Brazilian percussion instruments among others.

Museums[edit]

Map of Musical instruments

Many national and regional museums have a small selection of local musical instruments. Some more specialist museums are listed here.

Belgium[edit]

  • 1 Musical Instruments Museum (Musée des Instruments de Musique or Muziekinstrumentenmuseum), Brussels/Pentagon, +32 2 545-01-30. The museum houses more than 7000 instruments, from all times and all over the world. The museum’s reputation is built on its extraordinary collection. The exhibits are displayed on four different floors featuring a wide range of instruments from all time periods and areas of the world. The MIM is a place to experience music. An infrared headphone system allows each visitor to enjoy the sound and melodies played by the instruments presented. The restaurant on the roof is also famous because of its panoramic view over Brussels. You need around 3 or 4 hours to really enjoy the whole museum, make sure you have enough time! The ornate façade of the building was decorated as such to promote the work of local tradesman and to protest the loss of jobs due to automation. There is no exhibition information in English, only in French and Dutch. Musical Instruments Museum (Q1131318) on Wikidata Musical Instrument Museum, Brussels on Wikipedia

Germany[edit]

Greece[edit]

Italy[edit]

Kazakhstan[edit]

  • 5 Museum of Kazakh Musical Instruments (Республиканский музей музыкальных инструментов им. Ыкыласа.), Almaty. Small museum with fine traditional facade; exhibits have descriptions in Kazakh, Russian and English. Kazakhstan National Museum of Instruments (Q2498214) on Wikidata Kazakh Museum of Folk Musical Instruments on Wikipedia

New Zealand[edit]

Switzerland[edit]

  • 7 Music Museum, Basel. The museum is part of the Basel Historical Museum, and has a collection of 650 instruments including a drum dating from 1571. Basel Historical Museum – Musikmuseum (Q2749161) on Wikidata Music Museum (Basel) on Wikipedia

Tajikistan[edit]

  • 8 [dead link] Gurminj Museum of Musical Instruments (Gurminj Museum, Музей музыкальных инструментов), Dushanbe, +992 372 2231076, +992 37 5731076, . This small museum has an interesting variety of Central Asian musical instruments as string instruments example: rubab, Pamiri rubab, tanbur, dutor, setor, qashqar, and ghizhak. There are also number of drums such as tabl, daf, and doyra. That alone is worth a peek if you like instruments, but better still is to go when a musical or cultural event is being held, or hope to catch the folk musicians who practice there and can demo many of the instruments in the collection. Gurminj Museum of Musical Instruments (Q5620176) on Wikidata Gurminj Museum of Musical Instruments on Wikipedia

United Kingdom[edit]

  • 9 Bate Collection of Musical Instruments, Oxford. M-F 14:00 - 17:00. Museum with a collection of 2000 instruments, run by the University of Oxford. The collection focuses on orchestral instruments. free. Bate Collection of Musical Instruments (Q4868742) on Wikidata Bate Collection of Musical Instruments on Wikipedia
  • 10 Royal College of Music, Prince Consort Rd, South Kensington, London, . Museum: T–F 11:30–16:30; Performances: varies. Victorian school of music created on a suggestion by Prince Albert. It is still an active school but visitors may be more interested in its museum and performances. The free museum houses instruments dating back to the 15th century with several unusual pieces. Performances—by students, professors or visitors—are often free as well.
  • 11 The Musical Museum, 399 High St, Brentford, West London. Tu-Su 11:00-17:30. Something of an undiscovered gem. The museum houses a vast collection of working automatic musical instruments, from barrel organs to player pianos and beyond. Tours with knowledgeable and highly enthusiastic guides are highly recommended, as is the opportunity to listen to the Mighty Wurlitzer (which rises from the floor in the main auditorium). In addition to its function as a museum, the venue also hosts occasional cinema screenings of classic films (preceded by music from the Mighty Wurlitzer, or - in the case of silent film - accompanied by it) and houses a popular cafe with Thames views. Among the unusual (and hard-to-find) items usually available in the gift shop are clocks made from 78 rpm shellac discs, and original player piano rolls.
  • 12 St Cecilia's Hall - Concert Room and Music Museum, Edinburgh Old Town. Tue-Fri 10:00-17:00, Sat 12:00-17:00. St Cecilia's Hall is Scotland's oldest purpose-built concert hall and opened in 1763 which contains the University of Edinburgh collection of historic musical instruments (16th to 20th century) that focuses mostly on instruments no longer in use today. Concerts and other events take place in the concert room. St Cecilia's Hall (Q7592777) on Wikidata St Cecilia's Hall on Wikipedia
  • 13 The Museum of Piping, National Piping Centre, 30-34 McPhater Street, Glasgow. M-Th: 9AM - 7PM F: 9AM - 5PM Sa: 9AM - noon. The home of the bagpipes is in the former Cowcaddens Free Church. The museum shows 300 years of piping history, mainly showing Scottish bagpipes, but also showing Northumbrian pipes and some from Poland, Hungary, Italy and Spain. The piping centre also has a restaurant, an 8 room hotel and teaches piping. National Piping Centre (Q6974920) on Wikidata National Piping Centre on Wikipedia

United States of America[edit]

  • 14 American Banjo Museum, 9 E Sheridan, Downtown Oklahoma City, Oklahoma (Bricktown), +1 405 604-2793. 11AM-6PM. A world class museum dedicated to celebrating the music and heritage of the banjo. See the largest collection of banjos on public display in the world and witness the history of the banjo from its African roots, throughout its heyday during the Roaring 20s to its present day voice in bluegrass, folk and world music. Adults $8, seniors (55+) and students $7, youth (5-17) $6. American Banjo Museum (Q85476623) on Wikidata American Banjo Museum on Wikipedia
  • 15 DeBence Antique Music World, 1261 Liberty St, Franklin, Pennsylvania, +1 814 432-8350. A museum dedicated to antiques related to music, such as phonographs, organs, and player pianos. Not only do visitors get to learn about the music-makers, you also get to hear all of them played. It may seem like an odd museum at first, but the tour is quite entertaining. Downstairs is an antique shop open year-round. You can visit the shop without taking the tour if you wish. DeBence Antique Music World (Q15213215) on Wikidata DeBence Antique Music World on Wikipedia
  • 16 Metropolitan Museum of Art (The Met), On Fifth Avenue in Manhattan's Central Park (at 82nd St), +1 212 535-7710. The Met has a large and very varied Music Department, which contains historical instruments from many parts of the world. One highlight is a beautiful, ornately decorated fortepiano made by Bartolomeo Cristofori, the man credited with the invention of the piano c. 1700. Some of the historical instruments are used in performances at the museum, or if you're a professional musician, you may be able to get permission to play one; email ahead to inquire. Metropolitan Museum of Art (Q160236) on Wikidata Metropolitan Museum of Art on Wikipedia
  • 17 Musical Instrument Museum (MIM), 4725 E Mayo Blvd, Phoenix, Arizona (Near AZ-51 and AZ-101 intersection), +1 480 478-6000. 9AM-5PM, daily. Has many exhibits where you can see and hear the history of music from around the world. There's also a room for kids of all ages to try out instruments. Musical Instrument Museum (Q1946710) on Wikidata Musical Instrument Museum (Phoenix) on Wikipedia
  • 18 National Music Museum (NMM), Vermillion (South Dakota), +1 605 677-5306, . The NMM's renowned collections, which include more than 15,000 American, European, and non-Western instruments from all cultures and historical periods, are among the world's most inclusive. They include many of the earliest, best preserved, and historically most important instruments known to survive. The quality and scope of the NMM has earned it international recognition. National Music Museum (Q6974530) on Wikidata National_Music_Museum on Wikipedia

See also[edit]

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