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MMD > Archives > October 2008 > 2008.10.07 > 01Prev  Next

Mechanical Music in Central Europe
By Jim Katz

Berlin has the Technical Museum and the Music Museum.  Both are great,
not a lot of mechanical music but lots of other things we tend to be
fascinated with.  Some things that would be the hit of the show in the
USA are just side stuff over there.  For example, the original Enigma
cryptographic machine sits among old phonographs and early transistor
radios.  The music museum has a display case showing the methods of
violin construction and, oh yes, that fiddle in the corner not even
named is a Stradivarius.

Dresden has unbelievable stuff, the Swinger museum contains several
collections.  Perhaps the best operating automatic musical instrument
is a carillon of dozens of bells played hourly and with special
concerts at particular times of day.  The bells are fine Meissen
porcelain, and the music is amazing -- great arrangements that
highlight the unusual sonority of these bells.  That complex also
houses a technical museum with a large collection of clockwork
automata, orreries, clocks and other scientific machines going back
to medieval times that I never knew survived, all restored.

Nothing in Holland is very far from anything else.  You can get from
Amsterdam to Utrecht, for sure.

Jim Katz

(Message sent Tue 7 Oct 2008, 05:39:51 GMT, from time zone GMT-0400.)

Key Words in Subject:  Central, Europe, Mechanical, Music

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