The collection also encompasses instruments whose makers, while little known in the West, are revered in their home countries. Among these artists are Empu Resowigno (gamelan, Wirun, Java/Indonesia, 1986), Kanai Lal Das (sitar lute, Calcutta/India, 1940)) and Amin and Sayyed Amin (oud lute, Cairo/Egypt, 1980). However, the makers of the vast majority of instruments are unknown – nameless people whose ingenuity enabled them to create incredibly formed instruments and outstanding sounds with the most basic of materials. Of the 6,000 musical instruments and sound sources in the present collection, more than half are of non-European origin, exemplifying the global vision of the collection’s founder. It is this diversity that renders the Collection Music at the Münchner Stadtmuseum one of the finest of its type.
Of course, the instruments alone give us no insights into the world of sound. Why is it that we dismiss so many kinds of music as "caterwauling"? It is our listening habits that we need to address. The sensation of "beautiful sound" depends on numerous factors: it is neither innate nor absolute. We can train ourselves to listen better. For this reason the Music Collection presents its regular series of selected concerts and Sunday matinees. The matinees also provide opportunities for institutes of music education – music schools, youth orchestras and ensembles – to perform in public.
Complementing these concerts, visually-oriented guided tours highlight the connections between musical instruments and explain their heritage and origins. Trying out a Javanese or Balinese gamelan, or playing with others in an orchestra or ensemble, enable us to experience and appreciate different musical cultures, helping us to relativize basic tenets of musical aesthetics and pedagogy and have fun in the process.