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Nostalgia in Koç Museum with street organs

Posted on 10 March 2011

Limonaire 'Orchestrophone' for children's carousels.

Longing for some nostalgia? For mechanical music instruments from the days of gas lamps, steam engines and horse power? The days of yesteryear when the gramophone and radio were not even on the horizon.

“Invisible Musicians” at Istanbul’s Rahmi M. Koç Museum will give you a glimpse in those long forgotten ages. The exhibition features 250 items from the collection of the Belgian Automatia Musica Foundation and includes mechanical music instruments and music automatons, some of which exist nowhere else in the world.

This exhibition that shows the development of mechanical instruments is a perfect match with the Koç Museum as it is dedicated to the history of transport, industry and communications.

Since the appearance of the first automatic carillons in the Middle Ages, a diverse range of mechanical music instruments have gone through several stages of development. In the 17th century paddle wheels activated melodies on hydraulic organs. The replacement of the weight by a spring enabled the miniaturization and perfection of automatic organs and carillons.

The invention of the perforated card and perforated paper roll enabled mass production of mechanical instruments. After the invention of the metal record in 1886 music boxes became popular in public places. Some of these mechanical instruments were particularly designed for listeners in the streets: the barrel organs.

Of most of these inventions the Rahmi M. Koç Museum has examples in its exhibition “Invisible Musicians”.

The exhibition will run through May 29.

Painted wooden sculptures to decorate carousels or fair organs

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