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.
|“||I have a song here which, I realize, should be accompanied on a folk instrument, in which category the piano does not, alas, qualify. So imagine, if you will, that I am playing an 88-string guitar!||”|
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.
This instrument is popular for large bands, where several trombonists can add depth to the overall sound.
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.
This instrument was originally used in marching bands but has since become one of the most important musical instruments in jazz largely due to some tenor saxophonists in swing music, alto saxophonist Charlie Parker in bebop, John Coltrane in modal music, and figures like Stanley Turrentine in the bluesier elements of jazz.
- Cremona is where the famous maker of violins and other string instruments, Stradivari, had his workshop.
- Steinway has factories in Astoria, Queens, New York and Hamburg, Germany. You can tour these factories and also buy pianos there.
Vibraphone, xylophone, and marimba
- 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.
Many national and regional museums have a small selection of local musical instruments. Some more specialist museums are listed here.
- 1 Whittaker's Music Museum, 2 Korora Road, Oneroa, Waiheke Island, ☏ . Daily 13:00-16:00. Collection of accordions, pianos, organs and the like. Learn their history and the period they were made for.
- 2 Royal College of Music, Prince Consort Rd, South Kensington, London, ✉ email@example.com. 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.
- 3 The Musical Museum, 399 High St, Brentford, West London. Tu-Su 11:00-17:30. Something of an undiscovered gem. The recently reopened 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.
- 4 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.
- 5 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.