“The magic of instruments. Peculiarities of the three-voice invention”
The world of music and musical instruments is extremely rich and diverse. That is why the Museum of Folk Musical Instruments in Szydłowiec decided to expand the exhibition space with another permanent exhibition, which presents some of the most interesting and original musical instruments both Polish and foreign. Additionally, the exhibition “The magic of instruments. Peculiarities of the three-voice invention” was placed in the unique scenery of three 15th–16th century chambers, which until recently housed the museum offices. Richly decorated with Renaissance friezes and coffered ceilings, the interiors, together with the presented musical instruments, allowed to create a unique scenery.
The Old Poland Chamber
In the first chamber of the exhibition “The magic of instruments. Peculiarities of the three-voice invention”, called the Old Poland Chamber, there are four exhibition areas, presented to the Visitor by a narrator. The narrator’s tale revolves around the instruments that used to be found at court — drums, natural trumpets and bagpipes (Wielkopolska, Żywiec, Silesia and Podhale regions), which in turn present their sound.
The Intermezzo Chamber
The second exhibition room, the Intermezzo Chamber, is a genuine sound experiment. Thanks to numerous multimedia and applications specially made for the Museum, the Visitor is transferred into the virtual world of music. Additionally, instruments were made available: single-row squeezebox, cimbalom, chord zither and walking stick violin, which available to everyone to try to play. What is more, the museum Visitors, both the older and the younger ones, can draw the chosen instrument on specially prepared drawing boards equipped with LED light pads and take their drawings home. Another multimedia attraction are the sound simulators, which enable virtual playing on one of the five instruments. The melody, composed and “performed” by yourself, can then be sent to your e-mail and listened to again outside the Museum walls. The Intermezzo Chamber also features magical boxes with folk musical instruments and colorful ottoman-puzzles, which can be arranged into large-scale pictures, or can be used to sit back and relax while watching an educational film. There are also two display cases in the hall. The first one contains various types of zithers — autoharps, concert zithers and harp zithers. The second one contains music boxes — mechanical instruments considered to be one of the most important musical inventions.
The Luthier’s Chamber
The third and final part of the exhibitory invention is the Luthier’s Chamber, where violin is mainly heard, but not exclusively. Lute guitars, lutes and mandolins also have their own place here. The dominant feature of the interior harmony is a painting from the collection of the Museum in Szydłowiec Kobieta w czarnej sukni (Eng. Woman in a Black Gown) (1820) by German painter Johann Peter Brett. An unusual multimedia attraction here is the interactive “baton”, which in the hands of the Visitor-conductor brings the instrument presented in the display cases to “life”, and a magical wave of the baton at the selected instrument fills the interior with music.
The new permanent exhibition “The magic of instruments. Peculiarities of the three-voice invention” is the second instrumentological exhibition, after “Instruments… — see and hear the tradition” exhibition opened in 2015. What is more, innovative technological solutions and available multimedia create an interactive exhibition, whose main aim is to stimulate and develop the musical interests of the Visitors. It all adds up to a coherent whole: an exposition that reflects the magic of musical instruments in an unusual manner.