Saturday, we met our friends Ellie and Bill for lunch at the Music Instrument Museum in northwest Phoenix. I have been wanting to go there for several years and by the end of our visit both of us knew we would return, probably more than once. The Cafe Allegro in the museum was a great place to enjoy lunch and talk after exploring just one part of the facility.
Bill and Ellie have been there several times before and Bill was anxious to see the special exhibit on Stradivarius. I know nothing about violins but I do know the name Stradivarius. The exhibit told us a lot about Cremona, Italy, where he worked and about what made his violins so special. We learned a lot about how violins are made. This is a viola, which is a little larger than a violin.
This one is a violin.
The decorations put on violins is very detailed, including strips of design cut into a thin layer of wood, then covered with ebony to fill in the thin grooves. The same process is use to make the black lines along these edges, then small pieces of bone are put in the larger groove.
We saw stringed instruments--or lutes--from several European countries. Some are small and simple, others even more richly decorated than the violins we saw in the Stradivarius exhibit.
We also saw this huge guitar--apparently the largest ever made. These levers are how the strings are depressed.
There are steps to allow access to the levers.
Here you can get a better idea of the size of the instrument.
Each visitors is given a set of ear phones. When you get fairly close to each exhibit, maybe 5 to 10 feet away, you can hear the music being performed and/or an explanation of what is shown. Here are Bill and John listening to one of the displays on violins.
We only visited the special exhibit and the section on European instruments. There are other areas on other continents. There was no way we could see everything at one time, so we will definitely return.
Thanks, Bill and Ellie, for getting us to finally see this wonderful museum?