Ancient Instruments


If you are lucky enough to visit Vienna, Austria, you MUST see the Kunsthistorisches Museum (the Museum of Art History).  Not only does it house famous paintings by Raphael, Rembrandt, Brueghel, an impressive collection of arms and armour, Egyptian artifacts, and many more, it has an absolutely amazing collection of Ancient Musical Instruments!

This is the entrance to the collection:

Just outside the entrance is this grand hall with a grand piano:

Once inside, you can look back on the history of many instruments, especially the pianoforte!  The piano we have today was not the same one that Bach, Mozart, or Beethoven composed and performed on!  Instead, the modern piano has evolved from its creation by in the late 17th century by Bartolomeo Cristofori, an Italian music instrument maker.  Since then, the keyboard has been improved by John Broadwood, Sebastien Erard, Alpheus Babcock and Steinway & Sons.

Before then, stringed keyboard instruments such as clavichords, virginals, and harpsichords were used.  Their sound was created by a completely different mechanism.   In the museum, you can hear recordings of these instruments, and even recreate those sounds yourself!

This museum shows an huge variety of keyboards, from the earliest ones to ornate keyboards which were played for kings and queens in castles and palaces!

Included are some interesting twisty instruments.

Look carefully…the usual key colors are reversed!

This keyboard was operated by bellows:

Could this be the predecessor of the Keytar (keyboard guitar)?

Interesting variation of the keyboard:

Yes, it’s backgammon and piano together!

I highly recommend a visit to this museum.  You won’t be disappointed!

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