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MMD > Archives > March 2017 > 2017.03.09 > 01Prev  Next

Dispersing a Mechanical Music Collection
By Franco Severi

I have a different experience.  Since 1990 I am a collector of mechanical instruments.  In 1998, together with fans and friends, we founded the Italian Association of Mechanical Music (AMMI) 

Now my instruments are in an eighteenth-century villa with five hectares of government-owned park.  The villa has been restored (one million euros) to achieve Musicalia Museum, 

The cost of the restoration was paid by the government, sponsors, friends, and by our association.  In the museum we only operate guided tours and all the instruments are playing -- in seven rooms that tell the story of five hundred years of mechanical music.

In the first room you enter into a military war tent with the mechanical drum of Leonardo da Vinci.  In room number five is a Melodica Racca Piano that belonged to our Queen Margherita.  You can see the pictures of all the seven rooms at this link: 

Many schools bring students to visit the museum -- school children, aged five and over, that at the end of the visit are enthusiastic about what they have seen and heard.  They all are invited to play a small barrel piano for photos while wearing a straw hat and neckerchief.

Our library with 500 publications is also used by students for their University thesis.  Our associates build crank-organs and their music cartons and build music cylinders for barrel pianos.  Our Ammilab, an advanced R&D laboratory, has developed and built electronic scanners to scan every kind of mechanical music media: pinned cylinders, punched music cartons, rolls for autopiano, every kind of records: carton, metal, etc. 

We have set up a foundation (Franco Severi Onlus Foundation) to which I donated all my instruments.  Nothing will be with us in the future.

It would be a pleasure to receive your visit.

Franco Severi - President AMMI
Cesena, Italy

(Message sent Thu 9 Mar 2017, 12:16:36 GMT, from time zone GMT-0800.)

Key Words in Subject:  Collection, Dispersing, Mechanical, Music

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