15 June 2012 until 24 August 2014
Ingenious Instruments
Flageolets, Stroh Violins and Other Inventions

Is there no competition for the Stradivari? When did the violin lose its body? What’s a flageolet? How did the oboe get its name and the transverse flute its keys? And since when have ladies been allowed to play the flute? These and other suspenseful questions lure visitors onto a journey through the history of instruments and music of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. In sixteen chapters, some one hundred unusual instruments from the Wolfgang Hanneforth Collection recount how violin-makers, engineers, inventors, musicians, clock-makers, goldsmiths and other experimentation-happy craftsmen conceived of musical instruments as technical/scientific objects. They investigated and experimented, availing themselves of the latest technical and physical findings of the young sciences in the search for perfect sound. The exhibition presents the results: technically exceptional and innovatively designed string and wind instruments. Among the outstanding objects on display are “Stroh violins” with their trumpet-shaped metal attachments serving to amplify the sound – a contraption developed by the engineer Johann Matthias Augustus Stroh for the purpose of early sound recordings‒, and violins with unusual body forms such as the one with the guitar-like sound box designed by François Chanot. Also on display are rare “dancing master kits” or pocket violins (also known as pochettes), various mute violins and miniature instruments. Of special historic value are the French and English flageolets, among them double flageolets manufactured in the William Bainbridge workshop in London. Forty-two audio tracks with sound samples of the historical instruments, films of minuets and tango, and spoken audio features bring the musical instruments, their uses and their times to life. The audio catalogue to the exhibition is available as free iphone app with 50 audio and video examples, and offers a comprehensive guided tour of the exhibition. The exhibition is being made possible with kind support from the Gerhard Trede-Stiftung, the Justus Brinckmann Gesellschaft, the Hamburgischen Kulturstiftung and the der Ernst August Bester Stiftung.

Ill.: Stagg-Music, Belgien, Elektrogeige, China, um 2005, Foto: Maria Thrun; Geb. Wolff, Kreuznach, Modell Stumme Geige, vermutlich Deutschland, zwischen 1910 und 1920, Foto: Maria Thrun; Julius Zoller, Entwurf Violine in Flaschenform, vermutlich Nachbau der Firma Framus International, Karlsruhe, 1980, Foto: Maria Thrun; Johann Matthias Augustus Stroh, Strohgeige, London um 1910, Foto: Roman Raacke; unsigniert, Stumme Geige, vermutlich Deutschland, spätes 19. Jh., Foto: Roman Raacke