Playing the Instruments

Copies of historical as well as modern instruments can be played in the exhibition. In workshops, instruction is available.

Should the real historic instruments also be played again? This is the most crucial dilemma of their conservation: Played instruments wear out, get damaged, and suffer dirt and corrosion. Being conserved unplayed, silent, they loose their voices, are reduced to a mere identity as an object. Wind instruments pose biggest challenges as breathing air causes interior damage of the wood or brass. In addition, the central questions of historical mouthpieces, reeds and playing techniques need to be solved.

The Playing Collection allows a part of its instruments to be played under a predefined conservational regime. Please send specific requests to the director. Some instruments can only be played in the museum, others may be loaned for projects of historical performance practice.

Top 10 of Playing Instruments (in the collection only)

Flute, Grenser, Dresden, ca. 1780, restored to soundability
English Horn, Koch, Wien, ca. 1825, restored to soundability
Clarinet, Clementi, ca. 1825, restored
Bassoon, Savary le jeune, Paris, 1825, restored to soundability
Saxophone, Adolphe Sax Fils, ca. 1895
Valve Horn, System Prager
Natural und valved trumpets, Antoine Courtois, ca. 1855
Alto Trombone, Paulus, Berlin, late 19th c.
Ophicleide, Kretzschmann, Strasbourg, mid 19th c.
Cornet with Stölzel valves, Kretschmann, Strasbourg, mid 19th c.

Top 10 of the Lendable Instruments

Flute, Theobald Böhm-Mendler, München, ca. 1880
Oboe, Heckel, Biebrich, late 19th c.
Clarinet, Gautrot, 13clefs, mid19th c.
Tarogato, Stowasser, Budapest, 20th c.
Horn, 2 valves, Guichard or Gautrot, mid 19th c.
Horn, Egger, copy after Millereau ("Cor Chaussier")
Cornet, Adolphe Sax, Paris, 1876, with original mouthpiece
Valve trumpet Egger, copy after Antoine Courtois (ca. 1855)
Slide trumpet Egger, copy after Antoine Courtois (ca. 1845)
Bass saxhorn in Bb, 4 valves (Euphonium), Besson, ca. 1880