Museum of Musical Instruments
The Museum of Musical Instruments has one of the world’s largest and most complete collections (approximately 3,000 musical instruments from almost every country in the world).
In the second half of the 19th century musical instruments began to be collected at the Moscow and St. Petersburg conservatories. Similar collections were also accumulated at the Academy of Sciences, and the Ethnographic Department of the Russian Museum. In 1902 these small collections of musical instruments were brought together into a single collection, which became the State Musical Museum in 1918.
The collection includes quite a few exceptionally valuable exhibits: for example, an Italian spinet (one of the precursors of the modern piano) made in 1532, a German spinet of the 17th century richly inlaid with mother-of-pearl; a transverse flute, the work of a well-known musical master Jean Hotteterre who was at the court of the French King Louis XIV; and one of the three surviving guitars of the French master Georges Vauboam, luxuriously decorated with tortoise shell, mother-of-pearl and ivory, created in 1681.
In the eastern hall of the museum you will find the creations of Japanese masters: the samisen, the koto, and the biva. There is also a selection of free hanging gongs and exotic instruments made of birds beaks.
The Indian section has on display a unique instrument in which a thread of real spider's web is used.