Exhibitions in the Museum of Music History

Musical instruments in HungaryInstruments title

Exhibition of the Museum of Music History in its 4th room

Curator: Anna BARANYI


The exhibition is open: From 1 October 2012


Since its foundation in 1969, the Museum of Music History of the Institute of Musicology, Research Centre for the Humanities, HAS collects surviving objects and material remains related to music history in Hungary – musical instruments in the first place, as well as works of fine art linked with musical life, particularly medals with musical subject. A selection of our instrument collection is put on display at the present exhibition. According to the conception, following a chronological order, our visitors will have an insight into the change and development of musical instruments from the mid-18th century to the second decade of the 20th century. Prominence is given to works made by Hungarian instrument makers and manufacturers, besides, a number of distinguished foreign makers are also represented, an instrument standing for each. Related to the instruments, a selection of period scores from the collection of the Library of the Institute of Musicology as well as a selection of works of fine arts from the collections of the Hungarian National Museum, Hungarian National Gallery, Budapest History Museum and Hungarian National Bank provide a cultural-historical context for the musical instruments by showing depictions of persons and places that played an important role in the history of 18–19th century Hungarian musical life.

The earliest pieces – the positive organ, the simple pedal harp, the square piano, the viola da gamba, the clavichord and the instruments of a string quartet – were made in the 18th century, include works by Hungarians and foreign makers alike. Pianos made by Londoner, Parisian, Viennese and local (Pest) manufactures dominate the roompart showing exhibits from the first half of the 19th century. The most outstanding Viennese and Pressburger woodwind instrument makers of the period are represented with flutes or oboes. Some beautifully handcrafted guitars and violins also feature in the room. Similarly to pianos these were particularly favoured instruments of the bourgeoisie. On loan from the Museum of Applied Arts, a special notestand, a sextet table is included, too.

In the third part of the exhibition, instruments by renowned Hungarian violin makers illustrate the continuous existence of violin making in Hungary, and the most significant piano manufacturer of the 19th century, Lajos Beregszászy is also represented by one of his works. Most of the wind instruments exhibited here are made by Imperial and Royal Musical Instrument Making Factories. These companies manufactured a great variety of instruments in mass-production to meet the requirements of a wider public, however, kept themselves to the highest standards. Particular attention is given to instruments considered typically Hungarian, the tárogató and the cimbalom, that was first used in a symphonic orchestra by Ferenc Erkel. Also here, visitors will be able to see works of fine arts and instruments that stress the importance of the role Hungarian national opera, entwined with Erkel’s name, played in 19th century musical life in Hungary.


Pictures of the exhibition:

  • P1180124
  • P1180150
  • P1180156
  • P1180159
  • P1180165
  • P1180174
  • P1180176
  • P1180178
  • P1180179
  • P1180180
  • P1180188
  • P1180199
  • P1180207
  • P1180208
  • P1180227
  • P1180231
  • P1180233
  • P1180243
  • P1180244
  • P1180247
  • P1180254
  • P1180257
  • P1180269
  • P1180274
  • P1180284
  • P1180286
  • P1180288
  • P1180304
  • P1180308
  • P1180321


Musical medals:

  • Bartok_Asszonyi
  • Bartok_VighT109 retus
  • Beethoven46
  • Erkel31
  • Haydn18
  • Hubay27
  • Kodaly54
  • Liszt_Beck36
  • Liszt_Erkel_Mihal57
  • Liszt_Lange
  • Mozart10
  • Opera_CsucsF
  • P1180133
  • P1180326
  • P1180327
  • P1180328
  • P1180329
  • P1180330
  • P1180331
  • P1180334
  • P1180335
  • P1180336
  • Quartet_BeckOF
  • Weber_Kruger9
  • no14


Directed by: Anna Baranyi

Participants: Péter Gerő, László Gombos, Ágnes Mészáros

Sponsored by:
National Cultural Fund