The Museum Consortium of Musical CultureRussian: Tsentralnyi muzey muzykalnoy kultury or Центральный музей музыкальной культуры boasts the largest collection of musical instruments in Russia. The museum’s five rooms present some 1,000 musical instruments from all over the world – these displays are of great interest and value from the cultural and historical points of view. The museum also displays books, sheet music, manuscripts, diaries, letters, photographs and the personal effects of renowned musicians and composers. The exhibition features a traditional layout, with instruments displayed in glass cases. State-of-the-art technology, including monitors and electronic tables providing information about exhibits, are recent additions to the museum. Some display cases are equipped with small screens featuring short videos of how to play a particular musical instrument.
The first room, dedicated to folk musical instruments of the peoples of Russia, is particularly impressive, with its vast array of instruments created by various cultures throughout the country. There are dozens of varieties of pipes alone, each different from the others! Some are long, other minuscule: there are pipes, reeds, horns, zhaleykasRussian musical instrument made of wood or cane… Shepherds used to play these pipes, and no village event was without their music. Balalaikas emerged in the 17th century and quickly became the favourite musical instrument of Russian peasants, as well as one of Russia’s musical symbols.
Musical instruments of the peoples of Russia inhabiting the Urals area, Karelia, the Volga area and Russia’s Far East include local varieties of gusliold Russian multi-string plucked instrument, bagpipes and flutes. The museum’s collection has a gusli dating back to the 13th or 14th century, which was found during archaeological excavations in Novgorodat its peak during the 14th century, the city was the capital of the Novgorod Republic and one of Europe's largest cities. Gusli played an important role in ancient Russia and were used both in everyday life and at princes’ feasts.
Other display are devoted to the harmonica, a musical instrument that gained popularity in Russia in the 1830s. Interestingly, the now popular bayana type of chromatic button accordion developed in Russia was created as late as the 19th century by P. Chulkov and is essentially an upgraded version of the ancient harmonica. On display are the personal bayans of popular Soviet musicians. A significant part of the exhibition is dedicated to the guitar, which became widespread in Russia in the second half of the 18th century. The seven-string guitar – nicknamed ‘Russian guitar’ in the West – which was most popular.
The second room contains French, Italian and Spanish musical instruments, with a focus on mandolins, guitars and citterns. These were the most popular instruments among music lovers in the 18th and 19th centuries.
The third room features folk musical instruments from different countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America, including China, Japan, Korea, India, Bolivia and Mexico. They have unique shapes, signature sounds and are made from exotic materials such as animal skins, snakeskin and even armadillos’ carapaces, such as the small Bolivian guitar with five pairs of strings. The museum also has a vast collection of Chinese instruments. Orchestras were part of the imperial Chinese court as early as the first millennium BC, with the mouth organ shen being one of its major instruments. Of special interest is the ancient string plucked instrument called tsin. One of the showcases in the room presents one of the museum’s oldest collections – musical instruments from Central Asia and Kazakhstan (36 items).
The next room is dedicated to keyboard instruments and to musical instruments used in traditional European symphonic orchestras and wind bands. The highlight of the exhibition is a violin crafted by Antonio Stradivari in 1671. It once belonged to David Oistrakh, a world-famous musician who received it under the will of Queen Elizabeth of Belgium. A violin-making class is worth a visit if you want to see the process of violin-making and tools used in the process. One of the showcases displays pochettes, which are minuscule 18th-century pocket violins that dance teachers used to play during class.
The collection of keyboard instruments is represented by lavishly decorated grand pianos manufactured by 19th-century European firms. A piano-giraffe in an unusual shape is worth a look. One of the collection’s highlights is a harpsichord made by the English crafter Burcat Schudi in 1766. Along the perimeter of the room are showcases displaying wind instruments, one of them an unusual crystal flute from France and a serpent-shaped wind instrument from Germany. Of particular interest is a collection of silver wind instruments awarded to Russian regiments for their feats in the Patriotic War of 1812the war between the Russian Empire and Napoleonic France on the territory of Russia in 1812.
The last exhibition room is dedicated to mechanical musical instruments, sound-recording and sound-reproducing devices dating back to the first half of the 20th century, including barrel organs, music boxes and pianos. On the way out, you will see a giant drum exhibit that you are sure to find fascinating, and in the foyer there is a pipe organ (from 1868) by the renowned German master Ladegast. This organs is used during the museum’s concerts. Out of two hundred pipe organs made by Ladegast, this is the only one to be found in Russia. Next to it is a small interactive space where you can play a drum kit, a synthesizer, an electric piano, an electric guitar or an electric violin.
As well as the main exhibition, the museum also hosts short-term exhibitions, concerts and educational programmes. When purchasing your entrance ticket, you will be given an audio guide with a spoken commentary on the exhibits as well as giving you a chance to listen to the sounds of the instruments. The museum arranges guided tours for children and adults alike, along with music events.© 2016-2018 moscovery.com