Monday, July 27, 2015 A
Musical Instrument Museum

Julia and I both have sore throats, and our eyes burn. Our lungs don't feel well, either. Is it bug or air pollution?

We didn't seem to ail so badly when we were at the Musical Instrument Museum, which is way north and way east of the central location of our hotel. We'll probably cut our visit short a bit, and head far west and far south and home after breakfast.

But, wow MIM, what a fantastic experience! We did opt for the introductory tour, and I'm so glad we did. It begun in the room with the world's hugest musical intrument, the octobass:

Octobasse (octobass bowed lute)
Save, Taranto Province, Italy, 2007
Antonio Dattis, maker
Replica of an instrument made by Jean-Baptiste Vuillaume (c. 1850);
Tuned two octaves below the violincello, (to hear it, a video)
MIM, #2010.107.1.1

After he showed us this, we headed upstairs. I spent a good bit of time in the Egyptian and Middle Eastern displays.

Overview of the area...

Left side...

Side with the ancient Egyptian illustration, which is from the 18th Dynasty tomb of Nakht, TT 52 at Luxor, here if not there at Wiki.

Ud (plucked lute)
Cairo, 2010
Marco, maker
Wood, mother-of-pearl, nylon
MIM, #2010.190.1.1 ??

Exquisite details...

More details...

More details...

More details...

Qanun (plucked zither)
Cairo, 1976
Walnut, rosewood, fishskin, metal
Gabriel Tutunigy, maker
MIM, #2009/75.1
"Popular for its bright sound and the rapid plucking technique used to play it. Tutunigy is known as one of the finest qanun makers."

Simsimiyya (lyre)
Early 21st c.
Wood, wire
Gift of El Mastaba Center for Egyptian Folk Music
MIM, #2012.87.2

"The simsimiyya is a traditional plucked lyre used in Egypt, Jordan and Yemen." Photo source and quote Wikipedia

Ud (plucked lute)
Kuwait, 2010
Spruce and ebony wood, nylon
Jawharat Salmeen, maker
MIM, #2014.31.4
(The large circle contains Salmeen's name.)

Julia could read "Salmeen" in the center 'deco'.

Some of the decoration was quite elaborate:

Khatam tonbak (goblet drum)
Iran, 20th c.
Mulberry wood and rosewood, animal skin, camel bone, brass
Parvis Amir Ataie and Mohammad Reza Golriz Khatami, makers
MIM, #2012.352.1.1
"Master artist Golriz Khatami took 2,000 hours to complete the intricate khatam marquetry on thid drum. The geometric designs are typical of Islamic art." (From the info card)

We had fun with the Indonesian gamelan display, which amounts to a whole orchestra. One display showed the making of the brass gongs:

"Gamelan is traditional ensemble music of Java and Bali in Indonesia, made up predominantly of percussive instruments. The most common instruments are metallophones played by mallets as well as a set of hand played drums called kendhang which register the beat."

"The word gamelan comes from the low Javanese word gamel, which may refer to a type of mallet used to strike instruments or the act of striking with a mallet."

"Varieties of gamelan are distinguished by their collection of instruments and use of voice, tunings, repertoire, style, and cultural context. In general, no two gamelan ensembles are the same, and those that arose in prestigious courts are often considered to have their own style. Certain styles may also be shared by nearby ensembles, leading to a regional style." (from Wikipedia)

Even the pounding of the metal into the proper shape was musical...

In the "Experience" gallery, we learned the funny knobs are there because that's the area that gets struck. I did love playing with the smaller jar shaped ones and the big ones.

A giant drum featured a movie displayed on it in which we could try and follow along with the beats.

Returning back to Middle Eastern music, the Jewish area featured a video clip with the pianist Alice Herz Sommer, who lived to 110. She credits music wtih giving her the strength to endure in the hideously evil conditions of the Holocaust.

In the Latin Americal galleries, we heard on woman say, "After a while, they all start to sound the same."

By the time we'd made it to the Irish display, I made the comment, "Here's some music that sure doesn't sound like the rest!" I made sure to get photos of a drum signed by the Chieftains:

Bodhran (frame drum)
Wood, goatskin
"Proponents of traditional Irish music since the 1960s, the Chieftains signed this drum, which they played in a 2009 concert in Minnesota. Displayed with beater." Anonymous gift
MIM 2011.175.1.1-2
All the best from the Chieftains
Paddy Moloney, Seán Keane, Kevin Conneff, Matt Molloy, and Triona Marshall, who plays the harp with them since Derek Bell died in 2002.
"Water from the Well" is an album the Chieftains did.
Fad Saol: "Fad" means "length" or "long," "saol" means "life; it is pronounced as fah-d seal (from Wikihow)

By this time it was 1:00pm, and Julia and I were hungry and tired. And we hadn't explored everything on the second floor, let alone the first floor. Lunch revived us. Gratefully, there were clearly known gluten free items: a lentil soup that was excellent, and a Greek salad which was tasty.

We decided to stay on the first floor and see some of the exhibits there. Mechanical instruments, both small and huge, are among them.

Apollonia Organ #1002
I neglected to photograph the info card, but I found a website which has the details:
"Measuring over twenty-five feet long and weighing over two tons, this dance organ was originally manufactured in 1926 as organ no. 1002 by the preeminent Antwerp firm of Theofiel Mortier, S.A. It was remanufactured into is present configuration by another famous Antwerp company, Gebroeders Decap, in 1950. The largest organs made by the Decap brothers were often given unique names; "Apollonia" is the female form of "Apollo," the Greek god of the sun and music. During its working life, this organ was owned by the firm Gebroeders M. & G. Tuegels, which provided organs for the popular circuit of dance halls and traveling shows. It remained in Teugels's collection until the mid-1980s, when it was imported into the United States by an American collector."
This video captures the demonstration we saw.

The Musical Instrument Museum is a completely awesome experience.

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