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Sunday, January 29, 2017

Montshire Museum Designs Exhibit About How Music Gets Made | Valley News

"A stone’s throw from the Montshire Museum of Science’s familiar exhibits of honey bees and leafcutter ants, a girl of 10 or so drew a bow across the strings of a double bass on Monday afternoon, bouncing deep notes around the second floor." notes David Corriveau, Valley News Staff Writer.
While at the museum with his daughter, Daisy, 11, Craig Bee of Quechee, Vt., jams on the double bass at the Montshire Museum’s new exhibit, “Making Music,” in Norwich, Vt., on Jan. 24, 2017.
Photo: Sarah Priestap

In the middle of the room, a toddler standing on a bench pounded the keys of an upright Kohler & Campbell piano with his fingers and, through a plexiglass window, watched the attached hammers strike the corresponding strings.

And in another corner of the 2,500-square-foot space, I wagged my 60-year-old right hand around the upright antenna of a theremin — an early electronic instrument played not by touching keys, but by hovering hands near sensors — while adjusting the volume of the instrument’s ghostly WAOs, WOOs, WHOAs and WHEEs by moving my left hand over a horizontal-loop antenna at the other end of the device.

Welcome to “Making Music: The Science of Musical Instruments.” The new exhibit, which museum staff curated and assembled with help from musicians and instrument makers, many of them from the Twin States, is intended to pull instruments apart for inspection and give visitors a hands-on experience. It opened in November and will run through mid-September.

“It’s an instant engagement for a visitor,” museum exhibits director Bob Raiselis said during a tour of the show earlier in the day. “When we were testing different parts of it with people, we kept hearing, 
‘Can I touch it? Can I really touch it?’ Yes: You can really bow a cello here. You really can play the piano or the electronic drums.” 

In all, you can play 14 instruments, divided among the categories of Air, Strings, Percussion and Electronic. They include an accordion, a modular synthesizer, a guitar and drums — among them a West African djembe made by performer-teacher Sayon Camara and a metal one that Burlington craftsman Tim Danyliw fashioned from a propane tank.

You can see another 20 instruments on display, some with accompanying videos by makers and players. They range from an Indian sitar and a harp in the String section to two saxophones — one fully assembled, one dismantled into dozens of pieces — and a flute that Bridgewater craftsman Kai Mayberger made for the Air section at the invitation of exhibits assistant Sherlock Terry.

Source: Valley News