6,000 Years of History on Display at MIM’s New Exhibit

Marilyn HawkesNovember 4, 2021
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The Valley is in for a rare treat when the Musical Instrument Museum welcomes a new exhibit on November 12, Treasures: Legendary Musical Instruments, showcasing 75 instruments that underscore the power of music across 6,000 years of history. “The whole gallery is a testament to the significance of music in people’s lives… So many civilizations, so many communities and so many eras in time have all prioritized music-making in ways that have resulted in really outstanding musical instruments,” says Rich Walter, MIM’s curator for USA/Canada and Europe. “Music has been part and parcel of the human experience.” 

A few of the instruments on display:

Baroque Guitar 

Lisbon, Portugal, c. 1590
The earliest known full-size guitar, made by Belchior Dias, has tied gut frets and five courses of doubled gut strings characteristic of this time period.

Photos courtesy Musical Instrument Museum
Photos courtesy Musical Instrument Museum
Photos courtesy Musical Instrument Museum

Kamancheh  

Shiraz or Tehran, Iran, 1750-1794
This Iranian kamancheh (bowed spike lute) is the most ornate of the remaining seven examples made by legendary luthier Karam Khan.

Salpinx  

Hellenistic or Roman Imperial Period, 3rd century BCE-2nd century CE
This salpinx is believed to be the only surviving Greek trumpet of its kind, which was likely once used during ceremonial or athletic events, possibly at the Olympic Games.

Photos courtesy Musical Instrument Museum
Photos courtesy Musical Instrument Museum

Grand Piano  

Paris, France, 1889
Originally made for display at the 1889 Exposition Universelle in Paris, this grand piano made by the Erard company features a detailed wooden design and gilt-bronze mounts. The 1889 exposition also introduced the Eiffel Tower to the world.  

For more information, visit mim.org.

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