Around the world, the culture of music has developed over many centuries. Integral to that development has been its tools: musical instruments. Musical instruments play an important part not only in art, but also in many other social contexts, such as religion, the military, celebrations and ceremony. This is reflected not just in the sounds they produce but also in their design and purpose. Instruments can be made in unusual shapes, with precious materials or with beautiful decoration, making them unique and collectable items.
Museum collections inform and provide essential points of reference for musicians and instrument makers seeking to interpret this cultural heritage. This exhibition, drawn from the collections of nine of Europe’s major musical instrument museums, offers a selection of instruments that illustrates a range of styles and cultural uses.