Hamamatsu Museum of Musical Instruments, Hamamatsu-shi, Japan

The Hamamatsu Museum of Musical Instruments (浜松市楽器博物館) is the first municipal museum of musical instruments in Japan. It was established as part of the Hamamatsu City“Creation of a City of Music” beginning in 1981, and is registered museum facility under the law of museums.

The mission of the museum is to collect and preserve a representative selection of musical instruments and related materials from around the world, to research them, to exhibit them with an equal and unbiased perspective, and to cultivate a vast knowledge and understanding of music, musical instruments, and cultures through a variety of activities.

The exhibition rooms are in the 1st floor and the basement. The 1st floor is for the musical instruments from Asia and Japan, early Japanese-made western ones, and for hands-on room, whereas the basement is for the instruments from Africa, Oceania, America, and Europe. 1,300 out of 3,300 collections of musical instruments are for permanent exhibition.

With the motto, “See, hear, and touch,” the permanent exhibition rooms exhibit by 5 continents of Asia, Africa, Oceania, Europe, and America, whereas Japanese instruments and Japanese-made western ones are exhibited separately. You can enjoy playing the musical instruments and the sound instruments in the hands-on room.

The exhibition for Europe is classified by Sachs Hornbostel classification method that classifies musical instruments by the principle of sound production. The classification goes further by style, date, form, and usage. Since most musical instruments are displayed without cases, you can see the texture closely.

Headphones and monitors are equipped so that you can enjoy 100 different sounds and 30 different videos. A personal earphone guide system gives you the explanation and sounds of 80 different instruments. Since the exhibition renewal in March 2006, our concept, “To exhibit the world musical instruments from unbiased and equal perspective,” has appeared more clearly.

Asia Musical Instruments:
This is the only museum in the world that owns 3 kinds of gamelans: bronze gamelans from Bali and Java, and the world’s largest bamboo gamelan , ‘Jegog.’ Musical instruments from Iran, Turkey, Thailand, India, Mongolia, and Korea are also fully collected.

Oceania Musical Instruments:
With the main exhibits from Papua New Guinea, musical instruments from Polynesia, Melanesia, Micronesia, Australia and New Zealand are exhibited. You can find one of the world’s largest Tam Tam slit drum from Vanuatu, Garamut slit drum from watershed areas of mid-Sepic River in Papua New Guinea, water drums, bamboo flutes, and so on.

Africa Musical Instruments:
This corner’s musical instruments are from Tanzania, Kenya, Ethiopia, Congo etc. Nigerian drum, ‘Dimkedim’, and Kenyan gourd trumpet, Abu’, are precious instruments which can not be procured today. With Litung, Zeze, Ngoma and Limba from Gogo-people in Tanzania, video-movies taken at their villages are shown. Big drum from Ghana representing a woman body is also precious.

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America Musical Instruments:
Musical instruments from the Central and the South America are exhibited. One of the largest marimbas in the world is from Guatemala. Steelpans that work as drums made of steel drums are from Trinidad and Tobago in the Caribbean Sea. Quena and charango from Andes Area, Mexican drum Huehuetl from ancient era are exhibited.

Europe Musical Instruments:
The core collection is the musical instruments in 18th to 19th century that were the former collection by late Robert Rosenbaum who was an American collector of musical instruments. Included are the world-valuable instruments such as the oboe made by T. Stanesby Sr. in London in 18th century, the Quantz flute made by Freyer in Berlin in 18th century, and the harpsichord made by F.E. Blanchet II in Paris in 1765. You can find many valuable collections including the pianos (fortepiano) of 19th century made by skilled craftsmen such as Walter, Broadwood, and Streicher, and the saxophone made by Adolphe Sax himself.

Japan Musical Instruments:
Almost all kinds of Japanese instruments are exhibited. You will see very precious instruments such as the main instruments for Gagaku, Jinashi-Shakuhachi or the old form of Shakuhachi, and folk instrument from Satsuma, Gottan.

Early Japanese-made Western Musical Instruments:
The western musical instruments industry in Hamamatsu originated in 1888. After more than 100 years of its history, Hamamatsu has become one of the centers in the world in the field of western musical instruments industry. We exhibit the history and materials for manufacturing western musical instruments in Hamamatsu and in Japan as well. We have many exhibits for expression pedal reed organs from Meiji to early Showa period.

Electronic Instruments:
Electronic Instruments made in Japan and abroad in these 40 years are displayed to tell new inventions and progress of science in 20th century, which made the new world of music. This category includes some of electric instruments such as electric guitars.

Hands-on room:
Here you can touch and play the world musical instruments and implements such as pianos, guitars, erectronic drums, djembe drums, talking drums, and thumb pianos(limba from Tanzania) from Africa, and angklung from Indonesia, morin khuur from Mongolia, Japanese reed organ, American banjo, etc.
Reference corner

Reference corner:
Reference books such as music dictionaries are provided. Touch-screen “Japanese music a la carte” enables you to easily search for Japanese musical instruments and music. You can also compose music with melodies by various instruments through computer.

We hope the museum will become a center for all musical instruments and their cultures, and a place where people will meet together to discover this wonderful world.

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