On entering the foyer, visitors are immediately reminded of where they are – in Munich and Bavaria! They are greeted by a traditional brass band, albeit one that "marches" to the combined tune of modern instruments and their musical ancestors. Many of these instruments originate from the city's own instrument makers. The percussion instruments from Turkish Janissary music were also incorporated into Bavarian military bands during the 19th century. A Stub'nmusi ensemble (Bavarian for chamber music), just a few steps on, could scarcely be further removed from the loud, open-air music of a brass band. The "Window onto Orff" leads visitors to a large display cabinet with many original items belonging to the Munich composer Carl Orff. Orff’s works made extensive use of instruments from around the globe, making him the ideal introduction to our collection of world instruments. At a media station, visitors can make neighboring exhibits burst into sound and learn more about the Museum's Music Collection. The “Munich Wall” offers biographical information and sound samples of distinct performers from across Munich’s music scene. Next up is a "cabinet of musical instruments” featuring a seemingly random but wonderful arrangement of some familiar and many largely unknown instruments. Visitors can locate and select them from a special cockpit using a laser pointer and listen to many of the sounds they produce.
The next section is “Africa”, where a selection of the Collection's 800 African instruments can be viewed. The exhibition features instruments from a kaleidoscope of cultures around the world, e.g. ancient clay flutes from Central America and bullroarers from New Guinea. A gargantuan "cannon drum" from northern Thailand marks the beginning of the exhibition's south-east Asian section, the highlight of which is provided by the complete and intricately carved gamelan ensembles from Java and Bali. Visitors on guided tours are given the opportunity to play the glistening bronze gongs and metallophones under supervision. Heading past the many other instruments from Indonesia, the Philippines, Myanmar and Thailand via Tibet to India, and the East Asian countries, visitors reach the Middle Eastern and finally European sections. In addition to hurdy-gurdies and bagpipes, the exhibits here range from special violin constructions through to a skeleton string quartet. The numerous display cabinets provide more information about the diversity of orchestra instruments and their evolution at the hands of renowned local and international instrument makers.
The Music Collection also hosts evening concerts and Sunday matinees featuring well-known artists, amateur performers and promising young musicians.
Guided group tours for schools and kindergartens, juveniles and adults can be booked by calling phone: +49-(0)89-233-27979 or by e-mail: fuehrung.stadtmuseum(at)muenchen.de