On Monday, April 16th, I took a trip with my folks (visiting from New York) to the Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix, AZ. You can check out my original post on The Woodwind Forum.
I’m not a camera guy and several of the pics I took just didn’t come out at all. Fortunately, for this website at least, the pictures that were b0rked were various keyboards and African “thumb pianos.” The below galleries are what I had left — and they’re resized a bit (each original pic is appx. 3mb). They were taken by me on my wife’s Nikon D5000 camera with some sort of adjustable lens thingy that I kept set at “35mm.”
Click on a thumbnail for a bigger pic and some of my pithy commentary.
What I liked:
- Free concert. I didn’t go to it, but they had folks standing at the entrance telling everyone about it. They have fee-based concerts, too — and some big names.
- Awful lot of content. After I hit the woodwinds, I went pretty fast through the rest of the exhibits and it still took 2 hours.
- Good amount of stuff for the money (see above).
- There were an awful lot of empty display areas. At least 30.
- I was given a nice headphone set that would play stuff as I approached an exhibit. Unfortunately, I heard very, very little about the history and use of the instruments and more of how the instruments sounded. That wouldn’t necessarily be bad, but a lot of those instruments were being played with OTHER instruments, so I couldn’t always tell how a specific instrument sounded. I took off the headphones after about an hour.
- Awful lot of emphasis on modern music/performers, particularly guitar players. Also, while I think it’s great that some guy I never heard of before donated a sax to your exhibit, it’s still a Yamaha YAS-21 student horn.
What I really disliked:
- A lot of the instruments were 20th or 21st century reproductions. I can understand the why — cost — but reproduction instruments just strike me as … not very authentic.
- A LOT of instruments were in very bad repair. I make some comments about this in the galleries, below. In some instances, there is absolutely no excuse: a silver-plated horn with a ton of tarnish. Buy a bottle of non-abrasive silver polish for $5 and get a rag. It won’t take you that long. Strings broken or missing? Replace ’em!
- I had taken some pictures of instruments made out of “found” objects (in this case, read that as “trash”: coffee cans, bottle caps, etc.). There was no mention in any of the exhibits on how these found objects have been incorporated into the manufacture of indigenous peoples’ instruments and how that may have changed things.
- There was quite a bit of poor scholarship. I note, in the below pics, a saxophone stamped “1866” that the museum’s description card says is from 1864 and that they say a Conn-O-Sax is patented in 1914. As mentioned on the WF, you might think this is nit-picky, but if I was able to spot a couple problems in just my field of expertise, there could be lots and lots of other things throughout the museum that are mislabeled.
This is the pink (probably originally called "rose") lacquer Mark VI tenor I've referenced on a few occasions. There were also horns done in blue, white, grey-ish and black. Possibly more!
My mom asked me what was so special about this horn. Keeping it in non-sax terms, "The Mark VI is considered the Stradivarius of saxophones. What makes this one more special is that the colored lacquers were probably available for only two years."
I happen to like Theremins. This one was an exhibit model. They had one that you could play with, too -- a newish Moog.
I attempted to take a bunch of pics of a *player* theater organ. This and the next couple are the only ones that came out OK.
There are two saxophones with reduced keywork on the theater organ. I'm pretty sure that the keywork does move.
Theater organ video.
One of the many QRS player instruments.
Making a roll for the player organs and pianos.
The thing you used to make player piano rolls on.
I like the warning.
The thing that duplicates player piano rolls.
The modern Theremin that you were allowed to play with. Interestingly, it started making sounds when I was several feet away.
A pic of the restoration room. Note that there's no one in it ....
A pic of the video in front of the restoration room.
More restoration room pics.
More restoration room pics.
More restoration room pics.
A few double-reeds
Oh. It's called a "tible."
At this point, I stopped taking pics of all the goodies and started focusing on things I liked.
I have a pic of something that looks exactly like this in my last (2012) woodwind calendar, but it's Chinese.
Highlighting the fact that we're looking at mostly 20th and 21st century reproductions.
Another pic, just to be sure.
This is a reed contrabass. I've not seen "ad ancia" before; I've seen "anche."
Making sure I got a pic of the description card.
A folk "clarinet."
A somewhat better pic.
More horns from Finland.
The MIM has all the instruments presented per country, rather than per group (e.g. woodwinds, brasswinds).
I'm starting to think Finnish has much in common with Hawaiian.
I liked how this thing looked.
1875 German clarinet. While some of these older clarinets are not that valuable, I like how they look. Unfortunately, there were no all ivory or all ebony clarinets.
Old Italian clarinet.
I wanted to get a pic of this flute, too.
Another old flute, this time from England.
Rudall & Rose is a big name in flutes, I'm told.
Ah. First pic of the saxophone exhibit.
Trying to get pics of the description cards.
A better pic of this Adolphe-Edouard Sax (the inventor's son) saxophone. Someone obviously didn't bother polishing it.
Looks like an Adolphe Sax horn, right? You're wrong. It's a Dolnet.
A larger pic of the Dolnet bari.
... The description card. The problem I have with the inclusion of the Dolnet bari, Stowasser bass and Conn-O-Sax is that there's no real mention of why they're there. The A. Sax horns inclusions are obvious: the inventor and his son. The other horns? Because they were available, I'd suppose.
Hey. I just confirmed that Stowasser was in Verona. I should tell Helen ....
Several close-ups of the Stowasser bass.
Several close-ups of the A. Sax alto.
The A. Sax soprano.
The description card says "1864" the number stamped on the bell says "1866."
More close-ups of the soprano.
The odd Conn-O-Sax. I'll first comment that the horn looked copper, for whatever reason.
I'll then comment that the horn was in fairly sad shape. Y'know, these have sold for $40,000 ....
More Conn-O-Sax close-ups.
And, for whatever reason, a soprano Sarrusophone was hanging in the saxophone section.
Another person gets tripped up by the patent number. The 1914 patent, US1119954, is the patent for forming the tone holes. It's not even Conn's patent: it's William Haynes'.
Ophicleides in poor shape.
A Db piccolo that doesn't have much keywork. I think it's probably 19th century, but I'm not a flute guy -- excepting my pages on the Claude Laurent flutes, of course :).
I was unsure if these instruments were from Sousa's band or were the same makes/models as the ones in the band.
A flute and clarinet, just a-sittin' on a table.
A Signapore POS sax that's sold to tourists for about $20. It has a split octave key, too.
Yes, it's really Signapore.
I wandered back to the sax exhibit.
I know some of y'all like saxophone "toys." These are in the free-reeds section (accordions and stuff).
Hey, it looks kewl.
A few more.
I Lot and L Lot flutes. Again, big names in the flute world.
I don't want to leave out the bassoons.
Hmm. A late 19th century bass clarinet has snuck into the photo.
Mmm. I understand, but why are you showing a horn that isn't by A. Sax?
More old clarinets. Again, I just like how they look.
Can't forget the Taragatos!
Duct flute. Air duct, I'd assume.