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Magic Musical Instruments – and Where to Find Them

Europe: Heritage Lived Musikinstrumenten-Museum des Staatlichen Instituts für Musikforschung

The project „Magic Musical Instruments – and Where to Find Them” aims to develop a multimedia-tour through the Museum for Musical Instruments at the State Institute for Music Research for children and adults alike, that focuses on the spectrum of European tradition in building musical instruments as well as the associated playing techniques and sounds in a family-friendly manner.

The tour will be offered in five European languages (German, English, Spanish, French and Italian) to grant optimal access for both, tourists and Berlin-based communities from the respective countries. In addition it is the first multilingual offer for kids and family, that is available for visitors constantly and independent from events. Hence it is an explicitly sustainable complement to the education-program, which comprises concerts for children, workshops, holiday-programs and guided tours, all of which will be along the motto “Magic Musical Instruments – and Where to Find Them” in the season 2018/19. This title arouses associations to the magician-cosmos around Harry Potter that is famous across nations and generations. Since many historic musical instruments are no longer present in our todays’ common knowledge as well as their playing-technique and timbre, for a first approach object–related descriptions can be formulated in the form language of magic and sorcery (in the style of J.K. Rowling). Parallel to that for each object we design a “non-magic” text-version with organologic and historic information. For example: The Theremin, being played without even touching it, today still fascinates by its magic impression. The physical explanation however (an electromagnetic field is influenced by the movement of the human body) finds its place in the “non-magic” text. With Antonio Stradivari’s Violin the question imposes on the visitor, why this instrument – which is for lay-people not distinguishable from other violins – has gained such a nimbus. Sorcery is here part of the game, isn’t it? Musical examples will be provided with each object. For that we will produce short videos within the scope of this project, in which the instruments will be introduced appropriately.