Maria Teresa Arfini (Università della Valle d'Aosta), Musical Landscape: The Correspondence between Music and Painting in Early-Nineteenth-Century Germany.
For many German writers toward the end of the eighteenth century, natural landscape is interwoven with religion, painting and music. Harmonic disposition of trees, foliage, light and shadow is interpreted as a kind of musical score we can listen with the “inner ear”. The topic is very frequently used in literature, such as for example in Friedrich Heinrich Jacobi’s Eduard Allwills Briefsammlung (1775–1792), Johann Jakob Wilhelm Heinse’s Ardinghello, oder die glückseeligen Inseln (1787), Karl Philipp Moritz’s Anton Reiser (1785–1790), Friedrich Schiller, Über Matthissons Gedichte (1794), Karl Ludwig Fernow’s Über Landschaftsmalerei (1803), or Ludwig Tieck’s Franz Sternbalds Wanderungen (1798). Such literature strongly influenced painting at the time, which includes the musical landscape of Karl Friedrich Schinkel (1781– 1841), Caspar David Friedrich (1774–1840), Carl Gustav Carus (1789– 1869) and the music “arabesque” painting of Philipp Otto Runge (1777–1810). In the first case, the main subject of the painting is the natural landscape, more or less populated by musical elements, such as instrument players; in the second, it is pursued by the harmonic (and musical, indeed) disposition of decorative elements.
Angela Bellia (Institute of Fine Arts, New York University & Dipartimento di Beni Culturali, Università di Bologna), Images of Music in Magna Graecia: The Case of the “Tomb of the Diver” at Poseidonia (5th Century BCE).
The Tomb of the Diver (480–470 bce)—unearthed a kilometer-and-half outside the walls of Poseidonia (Paestum) and today on display at the Museo Archaeologico Nazionale in Paestum—is unusual for its liminar location in the Tempa del Prete necropolis and for the uniqueness of its decoration among Greek tombs from the time. The tomb is made of five limestone slabs forming the four lateral walls and the roof. All five slabs were painted on the interior side using a fresco technique. The scene shows a symposium in which ten people are lying on klinai, and it recalls the Greek habit of meeting and entertaining, which was also practiced in the colonies of the West. Such visualization, showing the people linked by friendship and common interests and drinking wine in the presence of male or female players, had a strong social and political relevance.
The decoration painted inside the tomb is unparalleled among the thousands of Greek tombs from the time, but it was well known in Etruria and in the regions inhabited by Etruscans in Campania, at the borders of Poseidonia. It appears that the two tradition have met here, because although the Tomb of the Diver is decorated inside, it has a very different overall form from the Etruscan tombs. It is a sarcophagus decorated only for the deceased, while Etruscan tombs consisted of a chamber accessible from outside where family members of the deceased were able to conduct periodic rites.
The scene of the symposium seems to refer to happiness after death and to the continuation of life in all its happy and positive aspects. The image projects beyond death where a serene and youthful humanity prepares to reach a state of happiness in the afterlife. This happiness consists essentially in prolonging the pleasures of the earthly symposium, where the gift of Dionysos joins with the singing and the music. It is exceptional evidence of paintings, which helps us to understand how music is the greatest pleasure, even after death.
Stephen A. Bergquist (Boston), Scapino: A Portrait of Francesco Gabrielli.
In 1633 the Milanese sculptor Carlo Biffi (ca. 1606–ca. 1675) produced a remarkable etched portrait of the commedia dell’arte actor and musician Francesco Gabrielli, in which the subject is surrounded by an assortment of fantastically shaped musical instruments. Gabrielli (1588–1636) was one of the first actors to play the role of Scapino, a zanni, or servant, one of the stock characters of the commedia; he became so closely identified with this character that he himself became known as “Scapino”. Not all of the actors in the commedia dell’arte were musicians by any means, but Gabrielli seems to have been not only a musician, but a skilled performer on a number of unusual stringed instruments, which are depicted in the decorative frame surrounding his portrait. Gabrielli may have been seen by Claudio Monteverdi when he was performing in Mantua or Venice; his musical instruments were discussed in correspondence between Monteverdi and the classicist and music theorist Giovanni Battista Doni, who was always looking to acquire new information on musical instruments of all types. At Doni’s request, Monteverdi provided him with some drawings of Gabrielli’s instruments that had been prepared by his, Monteverdi’s, friends. It is not known why Biffi happened to produce this portrait; there is no known commission. In spite of the fact that it is Biffi’s only known etching, it is highly accomplished in both draftsmanship and etching technique. This portrait is seldom encountered; it was already described by the print scholar Adam von Bartsch in 1819 as “très rare”.
Biancamaria Brumana (Università degli Studi di Perugia), The Castrato Singer Francesco Ceccarelli: His Friendship with the Mozart Family and a Portrait from the Salzburg Period.
Francesco Ceccarelli (1752–1814), the castrato singer from Foligno, had a notable career in Italy and abroad. In his early career he sung opera in Perugia Castello, Venice and Verona, but after 1776 he abandoned an operatic career to devote himself to sacred music and chamber concerts. From 1777 to 1788 he was a member of the Salzburg court chapel, and at that time collaborated with the Mozart family. Later on he sung at the court of Mainz (1788–1792), but then returned to Italy for a second and intense theater seasons: Naples (1793–1795), Venice (1795), Florence (1795, 1797), Ferrara (1796, 1798), Mantua (1796), Livorno (1798), Padua (1798) and Trieste (1799). From February 1800 to his death he kept position of Kammersänger contralto at the court of Dresden.
Recently restored portrait of the singer at the Raccolte Comunali di Palazzo Trinci in Foligno—originating from the collection of a descendant of Ceccarelli, Monsignor Michele Faloci Pulignani who donated it to the town of Foligno in 1936—has been identified as the work by the same painter who made the 1780–1781 portrait of the Mozart family, traditionally attributed to Johann Nepomuk Della Croce (1736–1819). Letters of the Mozart family, in particular those of 12 and 20 April 1778, show that some portraits of Ceccarelli were made in the Mozart family home, even though within the context of a game.
Rogério Budasz (University of California, Riverside), Central-African Pluriarcs and Their Players in Nineteenth-Century Brazil.
The pluriarc, or bow-lute, is a musical instrument indigenous to the African Atlantic coast that features a series of bow-shaped string carriers attached to a resonator. It has strong connections with communal life and very specific religious practices. During colonial times, Western interest on the instrument emerged in narratives that emphasized the primitive and the exotic, although its features and dispersal were also used to support theories of the early diffusionist school of anthropology. Four visual sources of pluriarcs in Brazil—three watercolors from ca. 1780 to ca. 1830 and one photograph of ca. 1880—show that this instrument was once a common sight in Rio de Janeiro and northern Brazil. Moreover, these sources reveal the ideological framework of colonizers, local elites, and foreign visitors, while providing valuable material for inquiry into the dialectics of representation and reconfiguration of Central African culture in South America. Unlike other African instruments, the pluriarc reached a dead end in Brazil by the end of the nineteenth century, while continuing to blossom in other areas of the Black Atlantic. Urbanization, culture industry, wars, migration, and revivalist ideologies are some of the factors that determined the pluriarc’s fate. Yet, as shown by recent developments in Angola and Congo, the instrument is far from being obsolete and its relevancy is guaranteed by constant reinvention.
Sarah Deters (Musical Instrument Museums, University of Edinburgh), The History and Future of Public Programming at Musical Instrument Museums Edinburgh.
The University of Edinburgh has had a display of musical instruments since the opening of the Reid Music School in 1859. Since its founding, those responsible for the musical instrument collection have continuously grappled with how to engage with the public in such a theme-specific institution. Over the years, the philosophy behind public interaction has changed, from times when the general public was invited into the museum, periods where the museum was shuttered off and only open to academics, to the creation a concert series to engage visitors, and now to the current push to create a more engaging and inviting space. In this paper the history and development of the public engagement programs of Musical Instrument Museums Edinburgh is explored in order to critique the development of the display and to investigate whether the collection has been proactive or reactive in its approach to the public. In addition, this paper looks to the future of engagement with a discussion of how the museum plans to embrace a new and growing audience through the redevelopment plans of St Cecilia’s Hall.
Eric de Visscher (Cité de la Musique, Paris), Sight and Sound: From a Museum of Instruments to a Museum of Music.
The Musée de la Musique in Paris, which opened its doors in 1997, has developed a number of practices for exhibiting music, both in its permanent collection as in temporary exhibitions. Taking examples from projects—the reinstallation of the collection in 2009, and the display “Touchez la musique!” (2013), and exhibitions “We Want Miles” devoted to Miles Davis (2009), “Paul Klee Polyphonies” (2011) or “Musique & Cinéma: Le mariage du siècle?” (2013)—examined are the strategies implemented to transform the museum from a display of instruments to a museum of music.
The question raised by these exhibitions is then: why do people attend exhibitions about music? Does the museum of music truly offer a renewed experience of music? And reversely, does the presence of music within museums alter the conception that one can have of museums themselves? Sound in museum galleries, in any form, does change the perception one can have of these spaces, of the architecture and the design, as well as of the presentation of artifacts, thereby creating linkages that one would probably not perceive when looking at separate, discrete objects, framed or stacked in display cases. The sense of time is obviously different when one visits a museum while listening to music. But sounds can rapidly become intrusive or, on the other hand, insignificant and monotonous. This is a reason why any reflection on music in museums has to include its counterpart: silence!
Monika Fink (Institut für Musikwissenschaft, Innsbruck), Sounds of War: Musical Compositions Based on Francisco de Goya’s Desastres de la guerra.
Musical settings of the series of etchings Desastres de la guerra by Francisco de Goya (1746–1828) are configured around episodes and atrocities during the reign of Napoleon and the Spanish War of Independence. The autobiographically motivated 1943 piano composition “Enterrar y callar” from the Trois caprices of the French composer Maurice Ohana (1913–1992) ranks as one of the earliest musical reflections to a picture from the Desastres. In 1955 the German composer Klaus Jungk (1916–2005) set to music the suite entitled Caprichos Goyescas, op. 45. The plate no. 44 (“Yo lo vi”) from Desastres was also selected by Siegfried Behrend (1933–1990) as the title for his 1959 composition for guitar and singing voice, subtitled “Szenen nach F. de Goya”. The Spanish composer Luis de Pablo (b.1930) named his 1970 a cappella work for twelve voices Yo lo vi para coro mixto a cappella (doce voces), again after plate no. 44. Manuel Hidalgo (b.1956) wrote his Desastres de la guerra for a narrator and nineteen instruments as an accompaniment to a text by Juan Carlos Marset. Among the more recent examples of Desastres compositions is Martin Bresnick’s Caprichos enfáticos: Los desastres de la guerra (2006), a concerto in eight movements for piano/ keyboard and percussion quartet.
Two musical reflections of the Desastres are closely examined: The German composer Michael Denhoff (b.1955) composed the orchestral work Desastres de la guerra, subtitled “Orchesterbilder nach Goya”; and since 2006 Helmut Oehring (b.1961) is engaged with works based on the plate “Yo lo vi”, no. 44: two settings for orchestra: Goya. Yo lo vi (2007), Goya II. Yo lo vi (2008); setting for eighteen string instruments Goya III (2014), and the opera Goya IV is presently being worked on.
Marco Fioravanti (Università degli Studi di Firenze), Conservation of Historical Wooden Musical Instruments: Advance in Understanding Material Aging.
Historical musical instruments are objects of great value both as historical relics and as musical instruments that are normally played. In order to preserve these precious objects, it is necessary to monitor and analyse the environmental conditions of their conservation as well as to assess the structural parts that, in stringed instruments, are typically made of wood. In violins the effect produced by mechanical loading induced by tuning, and moisture change of wood determine by fluctuation of environment a RH%, results in the generation of internal stresses within the constitutive polymers of the wood that accelerate material ageing. If these actions might produce sweet effects on the tone of young instruments, in the long term they represent a potential risk for the preservation of historical wooden instruments considered to be objects of cultural heritage.
Sarah Mahler Kraaz (Ripon College), Music for the Queen of Heaven in Early Fifteenth-Century Italian Paintings.
Many devotional paintings from the Renaissance feature depictions of music, usually involving angels singing or playing musical instruments. Some depict the act of music making with realistic mouth shapes and hand positions. These visual depictions of music can and do trigger viewers’ associations with live music heard and sung during worship, and indeed “transport” them to the immersive experience of religious services and encourages devotional use. Recent neuroscientific research supports this phenomenon of simultaneously seeing and “hearing” a painting. Less common in art from this period is the careful depiction of music notation and text in such a way that someone familiar with the notation could play or sing the same melody themselves merely from looking at the painting.
In three of their works, Gentile da Fabriano (ca. 1370–1412) and Taddeo di Bartolo (ca. 1362–ca. 1422) depicted the Marian antiphon Regina coeli in a similar way: Gentile used it in two versions of the Madonna with Child and Angels (ca. 1410–1412, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; and ca. 1405–1410, Galleria Nazionale dell’Umbria, Perugia) and Taddeo in the Madonna and Child (1418, Fogg Museum of Harvard University). The antiphon is depicted on a cartiglo held by angels at the bottom of the compositions around the feet of the Madonna. Such arrangement was rather novel at the time, likely designed for the viewers to be able to recognize it. Because of its widespread use, Gentile and Taddeo could be confident that viewers would recognize the chant and understand the meaning of the words. In a symbolic gesture, the cartiglo connects the singers gathering in the church around a choir lectern as a mortal choir with angels in their unending praise of the Madonna.
Silvia Lazo (The University of Montana), Building a Cultivated Labor Identity Through Art Decoration: Classical Images in the Catalan Workers’ Magazine Fruïcions (1927–1932).
In 1925, the violoncellist Pau Casals (1876–1973) founded in Barcelona the Associació Obrera de Concerts in conjunction with Catalan workers, activists and teachers at the Ateneu Politechnicum. With a mission to promote a cultivated identity for Catalan workers, the Associació presented twelve annual concerts by the Pau Casals Orchestra, established music courses and a lending library, and from April 1927 to September 1932 published its monthly magazine, Fruïcions, which featured essays on classical music, composers and instrumental technique. Fruïcions acted as a vehicle for the aesthetic education of and communication with the Associació’s members, understood as a broad spectrum of Catalan workers. Of the six recurrent music-related images displayed in forty issues of Fruïcions (the sample size for this study), five make reference to Greek and Roman art in association with music and musical instruments, revealing an effort on the part of the journal’s editors to relate classical iconography to the articles on music that they decorated. The only distinct piece not falling into the Greco-Roman antiquity is the grotesque figure with a guitar from Jacques Callot’s series of Varie figure gobbi (1616). These images functioned as a medium to build a collective identity and underscores the persistent symbolic value of classical images for projecting an egalitarian yet cultivated identity, in this case among a Catalan labor class.
Li Mei / 李玫 (中国艺术研究院音乐研究所 / Music Research Institute, Chinese National Academy of Arts, Beijing), Adaptations of Harps Reflected in Murals of the Chinese Western Regions.
The Buddhist caves in ancient Qiu-Zi areas (today in the Kuqa county in China‘s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region) contain murals produced between the fourth and ninth centuries which include many musical and dance scenes, as well as images of instruments. Among the many kinds of instruments, the various shapes of harps stand out, and they can be classified in four types. The first type is a Persian prototype of an angular harp, which first appeared in the murals of grottoes from the mid-fourth century. This kind appears depicted in grottoes all over Xinjiang and some archaeological artifacts corroborate their existence in this area. The second type is a changed form of the Persian type with added Chinese elements. This type appeared in murals of Xinjiang grottoes, in the eighth century, during the late Tang dynasty and it is identical with the Chinese Tang-dynasty harp preserved in Shōsōin repository in Nara. The third type is the Indian arched harp which appears in the murals of the late third century. The same image was found on a pottery figurine in Khotan (Southern Xinjiang) made in the seventh century. Finally, the fourth type is a subspecies of the arched harp with a long curved arm inserted in a kidney-shaped gourd wrapped in skin. As the climate in the area is very dry all year around, the thin skin had reinforced the box without reducing the quality of its sound. As this form only appears in Qiu-Zi (Kuqa) grottoes, it is suggested to call it the “Qiu-Zi type“.
Liu Yong / 刘勇 (中国音乐学院 / China Conservatory of Music, Beijing), When Mural Paintings Cannot Provide Iconographic Evidence?
Many wall paintings in China include music-related representations. The question however is whether or not these images can provide reliable evidence, since some of them have been altered during the passing of time, and the others in recent restorations. In the famous Kezier grotto in Xinjiang autonomous region, cave number 38—called “musical cave” because several wall paintings include musical objects—originally included two renderings of the instrument bili which were during the 20th century changed into suonas. Without closely examining these images, several Chinese authors claimed that they document the dissemination of suona in China already in the fourth century. Photographs of the wall paintings taken by the explorers from the Museum für Völkerkunde in Berlin, during their third exploration (1905–1907), led by Albert Grünwedel and Albert von le Coq, proved that the original depicted instrument did not have its current bell but only a straight bore of a bili.
Noel Lobley (Pitt Rivers Museum Oxford), Sound Galleries: Curating the Experience of Sound and Music In and Beyond Museums.
The Reel to Rear project (2012–13) is designed to make available for the widest use, both in and beyond the museum space itself, the unique sound collections of the Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxford University’s museum of anthropology and world archaeology. The museum has been collecting music, sound and instruments for over one hundred years. Thousands of hours of rare ethnographic sound, donated to the museum since the early twentieth century had, until recently, been held in storage, known only to a handful of scholars. These sound recordings—which range from children’s songs in Britain and Europe to music from South America and the South Pacific, and from improvised water drumming to the sound of rare earth bows in the rainforests of the Central African Republic—were preserved but unavailable to members of the public, teachers, students, or to the communities from which the sound originated.
Today, digital circulation of these recordings is promoting new listening engagements among expanding international audiences, and is also raising awareness of social problems facing increasingly marginalized communities. Ethnographic recordings are increasingly being used by sound artists, DJs, choreographers, filmmakers and researchers to engage new audiences. For example, the world’s largest archive of BaAka field recordings is currently circulating online, in museum gallery spaces and beyond in order to develop interdisciplinary projects linking ethnomusicologists, eResearch centers, conservationists, and BaAka source communities. These recordings can be reconnected with BaAka peopre for their benefit, creating responsible and reciprocal communicative networks between academic institutions, researchers and the BaAka communities requesting offline access to their sound heritage.
Arnaldo Morelli (Università degli Studi dell'Aquila), Bernardo Pasquini and His Portraits: From Their Origins to the Present Day.
The fame which Bernardo Pasquini (1637–1710) enjoyed during his life seems to influence production of a number of his portraits. The best known is the one painted by Andrea Pozzo (1642–1709), preserved today at the Conservatorio di Musica Luigi Cherubini in Florence. Further, there is a late seventeenth-century bronze medal attributed to Cosimo Citerni. On the obverse side is shown Pasquini in profile, facing right, in gentleman’s attire, with what appears to be a cloak over his jacket; on the reverse, he is depicted in a domestic setting. In the volume Iscrizioni che si trovano negli atti dell’Accademia Colombaria di Firenze (1801) by Lorenzo Contini it is reproduced another medal, clearly inspired by the previous one, inscribed with the year 1723. It is possible that the nephews of Pasquini, or some of his students, had taken the initiative to cast a new commemorative medal, which used the one coined from the life as a model. At the Charlottenburg palace in Berlin is preserved another portrait painted in oil, attributed to Francesco Travisani (1656–1746). It is displayed with those of three other famous composers from the time: Arcangelo Corelli, Giovanni Bononcini, and Attilio Ariosti. The last image of Pasquini is a marble bust realized three years after the composer’s death at the request of his nephew Felice Bernardo Ricordati and his pupil Bernardo Gaffi, the work of Pietro Papaleo (active ca. 1694–1716), placed on in his funeral monument at the San Lorenzo in Licina in Rome.
Christoph Riedo (Musikwissenschaftliches Institut, Universität Freiburg), How Might Arcangelo Corelli Have Played the Violin?
Treatises, reports and iconographic documents testify to the great variety of violin techniques coexisting in Corelli’s lifetime. Cristofor Schor’s famous engraving of Corelli leading an orchestra at the Piazza di Spagna in 1687 shows Corelli holding his instrument against the chest. This technique is also documented for the Italian violin virtuosi Matteis, Geminiani, Veracini, Locatelli and others and was, according to drawings by Pier Leone Ghezzi, widespread in the Roman milieu long after Corelli’s death. Taking sociological, functional, regional and chronological aspects into consideration, there is a strong evidence for the credibility of Schor’s document.
Although a violin hold against the chest complicates shifting at first, virtuosi of the time were able to manage the most difficult passages very well with this particular violin technique. While anecdotes report Corelli’s failure as a violinist in the highest hand positions, it was certainly not because of this hold, nor was this the reason for the fairly modest technical requirements of Corelli’s op. 5. In fact, it is not at all sure that Corelli intended to show his virtuosity with the sonatas of op. 5. Corelli’s playing was in fact praised by his contemporaries; his skill as a violinist lay not in the high left-hand positions, but rather in his complete control of the bow. Robert Bremner reports that this was a criterion for Corelli’s choice of violinists in his orchestras. The ability of Roman orchestras to play with nuanced dynamic control, as described by contemporary observers, confirms this feature of Corelli’s violin school.
Michael Russ (University of Huddersfield), Returning to the Exhibitions: Musorgskij’s Pictures Reconsidered.
Presented is a fresh look at both the work and the exhibition that gave rise to Modest Petrovič Musorgskij’s Картинки с выставки: Воспоминание о Викторе Гартмане (Pictures at an Exhibition: A Remembrance of Viktor Gartman, 1874), and traces how our understanding of Musorgskij and his most famous work have shifted in the last twenty years. A brief outline of the context of other nineteenth-century multi-movement piano works (Schumann’s Carnaval) and works that take their inspiration from works of art (Liszt and Respighi) is provided.
José María Salvador González (Universidad Complutense de Madrid) & Candela Perpiñá García (Universitat e València), Exaltata super choros angelorum: Musical Elements in the Iconography of the Coronation of the Virgin in the Italian Trecento Painting.
One of the most endearing and significant innovations introduced by the Italian Trecento painters in their renderings of the Coronation of the Virgin is the presence of musician angels around the throne. Their presence is inspired by a solid patristic and theological tradition reflected in hymns and songs describing sounds of musical instruments expressing the immense joy with which the angelic hierarchies and the blessed in Paradise pay tribute to honor Mary as their Sovereign Queen of Heaven. Although the open mouth of many of these angels could indicate a singing activity, the way to unambiguously represent their musical activity was by providing them with instruments. These music instruments are highly varied and respond to the musical and visual tradition of the time. Their depiction is characterized by their naturalist and detailed descriptions, both in terms of the physical characteristics that allow them to produce sound and in terms of their decoration. There is also a notable interest in visualizing the executive techniques of the performers. On the contrary, the depicted instrumental ensembles have little or nothing to do with reality. They respond rather to the desire of showing an angelical-musical atmosphere around the crowned Virgin with the broadest, most varied and richest display of angelic music, which is far beyond the limitations of human logic and earthly physics.
Cristina Santarelli (Istituto per i Beni Musicali in Piemonte, Turin), From Figuration to Abstraction: Dance in the Paintings of Gino Severini.
The central place the dancing female holds in paintings by Gino Severini (1883–1966) produced between 1910–11 and 1915 is an incontrovertible fact: apart from sporadic incursions into portraiture and some very personal re-examinations of modernist themes, the representation of dance remained the symbolic root of his being a painter, what makes him instantly recognizable within the futurist movement. Street music and shows put on by night spots, an expression of the joy of living of the Parisian bourgeoisie in the early twentieth century, were an almost exclusive source of inspiration in the years in which the artist refined the concept of “sensazione dinamica” (dynamic sensation). This was the cornerstone of his poetics, in which prevailed the simultaneous vision of a sequence of successive moments and the systematic deconstruction of figures subjected to constant vibration and resonance effects. The works from 1913–1914 revived the mélange optique of Seurat and Signac to achieve fully abstract results in which the forms, dealt with by the intangible means of light, break into small drops of colour distributed in segments, with results similar to those of the Orphic painting by Robert Delaunay. Finally in 1914–1915, Severini, influenced by Giacomo Balla, turned to the search for broader synaesthetic relationships, the so-called “analogie apparenti” (apparent analogies), proposing arbitrary associations of objects where color represents different areas of reality: again in these works, the artist often made reference to dance and urban music, as shown by the choice of emblematic titles.
Enrico Tabellini (Museo Internazionale e Biblioteca della Musica di Bologna), Installation, Technology and Education in the Communication Strategies of the Museo Internazionale e Biblioteca della Musica di Bologna.
The Museo Internazionale e Biblioteca della Musica di Bologna has in its collection the most important music prints, more than a hundred paintings, over eighty musical instruments and a wide selection of historical treatises, opera libretti, letters, manuscripts and autograph scores bequeathed by Padre Giovanni Battista Martini. Items on display tell stories through their relationships with other objects as well as through their provenance. In 2010 the museum undertook, in collaboration with the architects of Diverserighestudio in Bologna, an architectural, technological and semiotic analysis of the current installation and developed a new display which should concurrently present a less didactic and linear relationship between visiting the museum and the experience of listening to music. The display will abandon the usual formula of the guided visit in favor of a series of visits that will allow people to understand the collection from different viewpoints, including the display as a hypertext from which to draw pertinent material related to any given theme. In subsequent years, these musical experiences will be enriched with the participation in workshops and thematic laboratories at the museum, thereby establishing an initial contact, both creative and engaging, with the cultural heritage represented by the collection.
András Varsányi (Münchner Stadtmuseum, Sammlung Musik), Making Museum Audible: Reflection on Implementing a Soundlab within a Museum of Musical Instruments.
The Munich instrument collection was founded in 1940 as Städtische Musikinstrumenten-Sammlung on the basis of the private collection of Georg Neuner (1904–1962), which counted about one thousand objects. Since 1958 the collection is part of the Münchner Stadtmuseum, and it opened to the public in 1963. Today the collection has some six thousand instruments and sound objects. Neuner’s original goal was to exhibit mainly instruments from non-European cultures in order to demonstrate that Western musical instruments originated in “the high cultures from the East”.
The idea of museum’s Soundlab, which provides the framework for displaying different instrumental groups and sound phenomena, was born out of the need to give visitors an opportunity to experiment in order to understand the principles how sound is created or manipulated. The most difficult aspect for the public to understand seems to be the natural sound and not the synthetic sound created by keyboards or even high tech sound producing devices. All the questions deriving from the public’s experiences at the Soundlab lead not only to the fundamentals of traditional instrument making but also expose the different concepts underlying different kinds of music. The instruments of the world with their different aesthetics of sound (and appropriate movement) together with their attractive visual forms are placed nearby to help illustrate musical developments. lt remains a challenge to attract and communicate with young people—and not only young people—for this reason the learning from the Soundlab is not restricted to the visitors.
Simon Wyatt (Bristol), Music in the Museum: Intangible Influences.
An expectation that music accompanying a display of material objects in a museum environment can affect the emotions of the visitors and perhaps also their physiology, which may have a knock on effect for interpersonal behavior, was a starting point for a survey conducted among the visitors of the Curiosity Gallery at the Bristol Museum and Art Gallery. A bark painting by Birrikitji Gwmane of the Dhalwangu clan in North East Arnhem Land (ca. 1974) was shown along the background sounds of didgeridoo improvisation, a pair of moccasins from the Northern Athapaskans of Canada (ca. 1890) with an Athapaskan traditional fiddle playing, and the Bronze Age skeleton from Tormarton, south of Gloucestershire (ca. 1400 bc), with experimental sounds which could have been produced on the Wilsford Flute, a fragmentary crane or swan bone with three possible holes, excavated in a Bronze Age burial mound, Wilsford G23. A model of fourteen visitors showed contrasting reactions when viewing objects with and without music and they agreed that the background music had enhanced their experiences.
Karen Yuen (Research Center for Music Iconography, The Graduate Center, CUNY), Fashioning Elite Identities: Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Edward Burne-Jones, and Musical Instruments as Symbolic Goods.
Musical instruments as physical objects played a crucial role in shaping the social identities of Pre-Raphaelite artists. Inspired by ideas about class and capital as advanced in La distinction: Critique sociale du jugement (1979) by the French sociologist Pierre Bourdieu, this essay argues that Pre-Raphaelite artists Dante Gabriel Rossetti and Edward Burne-Jones saw musical instruments not so much as aesthetic support for their visual productions but as material, symbolic goods that could aid their social ascent and establish them as elite individuals in Victorian society. With the establishment of the notions that musical instruments could be objets d’art that are meant to be seen and that collecting them could indicate high social status, both Rossetti and Burne-Jones fashioned, through clever handling of these musical instruments for the eye, elite identities—the high-class collector and the high-class artist, respectively—that enabled them to become cultural notables. Through the implementation of various strategies in their encounters with musical instruments, suggesting that they possessed a large amount of economic, cultural, and social capital, Rossetti and Burne-Jones managed to convince their peers that they belonged on the same social level as the patrons they served.