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  • Writer's pictureGraham Abbott

The Museum of Musical Instruments, Barcelona

In a departure from my usual posts, today I thought I'd take the opportunity to provide a bit of background to the picture at the head of my blog. It comes from an amazing place, and I took it myself.

In January 2018, and again in January 2019, I explored areas of Spain. Apart from two nights in Barcelona many years ago as part of a much larger round-the-world trip, I had never been to Spain before this, and I felt I needed to rectify the situation. The 2018 trip was central and south: Madrid, Seville, Cordoba, Granada and back to Madrid (with day trips to Toledo, El Escorial, Avila and Segovia) over three weeks. The 2019 trip was north: Barcelona, Zaragoza, Bilbao, Burgos, Leon and Santiago de Compostela, over about two and a half weeks (I had spent a week in Rome before this).

To say I loved exploring these amazing cities is of course an understatement. I speak no Spanish and just "went for it" in terms of immersing myself in incredible artistic and cultural experiences. And yes, I'm very keen to go back!

When I travel I usually post about it on Facebook, sharing pictures of my experiences. While in Barcelona last year, one of my Facebook friends made me aware of a musical instrument museum in the city, which I had not known about before, and I made the effort to find it. I'm very glad I did. It was tricky to find, even with it clearly marked on my tourist map, but it was very much worth the effort. I had the place to myself and spent over an hour wandering through the various rooms.

The Museu de la Música is not terribly large, but the collection is beautifully presented; apparently only about a quarter of the entire collection is actually on display. As you walk through there are little pockets of music being played from speakers right above you, and the music relates exactly to the instruments you're seeing at that moment. The speakers are narrowly focused so you really need to be under them to hear the music. Once you move away the music fades, so the overall effect of the place is calm and not at all noisy.

The museum's website is here.

The brief Wikipedia page on the museum is here.

So here are some of my pictures. I hope you enjoy them.

Buccina, Spain (c. 1900-25)

Detail of the above


Organ (dated 1739) with bellows attached

Detail of the above

Viola d'amore (Nicolas Duclos, Madrid, 1777)

Detail of the above, showing sympathetic strings

Serpent (17th-19th century)

Harpsichord (Spain, c. 1650-1750)

Harp (Pierre Chaillot, Paris, c. 1775-1800)

Sitar (Kolkata, 19th century)

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