Czech Museum of Music

Prague offers many musical pleasures to its visitors, from the internationally renowned Prague Spring Festival to countless small concert halls with regular programs. Less well known to foreign visitors, the Czech Museum of Music contains real treasures for the pleasure of both eyes and ears...

Far from being aimed solely at specialists, this museum succeeds in making the presentation of its vast collection of ancient and contemporary instruments both lively and accessible. From the best-known instruments to the most original, even incongruous, the variety of forms is matched by the diversity of timbres and sonorities, which can be appreciated and compared thanks to numerous soundtracks.

We discover, for example, luxurious inlaid harpsichords, painted with oriental motifs, inlaid with scales, mother-of-pearl or ivory. We're amazed by the diversity of pianos over the ages: square or pyramidal grand pianos, the astonishing Empire-style giraffe or lyre pianos, or the revolutionary quarter-tone or sixth-tone pianos, specially built for the needs of microtonal music in the 20th century. We compare the clean, silvery timbre of the spinet or harpsichord with the infinite nuances of the piano; we compare the powerful, velvety sound of the trumpet with that of the nasal bagpipes; we discover the more or less clear, brassy, whistling or crystalline timbres of the various families of instruments.

A very contemporary presentation enhances the beauty of the works with light baths, while preserving the originality of the building in which the museum is housed. The building's history is not lacking in adventure: a former 17th-century Baroque church built by the architect Francesco Caratti, it had many lives before being converted into a museum. It was in turn a post office, military hospital, police barracks and archive center. The result is an unusual symbiosis between a Baroque cult building and its subsequent functional modifications, the most impressive part of which is the immense, luminous central patio.

Lesser Town