collection is initiated in Milan in the first years seventy. The impulse
to look for archaic musical instruments was born from the fact that in
Milan doesn't exist a real ethnographic museum, and not only in Milan.
It was practically impossible to document yourself and to see prehistoric
or exotic objects systematically collected. Subsequently, in the years,
I ascertained how rare all over the world they are the museums, the collections
of musical instruments or sections regarding them, that comprehend the
"real" first musical instruments, that are generally confused
with elaborate African balafons or terracottan Maya whistles.
Departed from the studies of Marius Schneider, Curt Sachs, Andrè
Schaeffner and the Italians Roberto Leydi and Diego Carpitella, in Amsterdam
in the first years eighty, reflecting on ideas of Athanasius Kircher,
Leroi Gourhan, Emanuel Anati, I have reached to the conclusion to collect
the musical instruments following a "system" based on categories
comprenhending the materials, the ways of producing the sound, but also
on "subject" as for example "the sonorous instruments to
call the bees".
The first exposition
takes place- and is not a case- inside a exhibition-laboratory, the Natural
Art Laboratory which I conceived and devoted to the "Art
in the Nature", set up from 1987 to 90 at Morimondo, 40
kilometers from Milan in theTicino Park.
During the inauguration it came I introduce in preview a concert of "Prehistoric
Sounds", synthesis of the research that I had developed in the last
years in Holland, receiving a great success both from the academic world
as that of the press (whole scientific pages on the Press in Turin, on
the Corriere della Sera, but also a popular consent so much to be deserved
the cover of Mickey Mouse). For the occasion we also realized a tasting
of prehistoric foods.
The permanent show was visited by numerous schools of the whole Lombardy.
The laboratory worked full rhythm, producing sonorous objects and didactic
material; realizing publications, books, music tapes, radio programs and
different passages in television. Reviews of music, dance, theater, courses
and international meetings; the exposition was visited by the nephew of
Black Elk, Black Elk Wallace, Indian Lakota head and the exposition was
also used by the great Japanese teacher of theater, Yoshi Oida, for a
lesson of theater, among the participants there was also Antonio Albanese;
to make an example of the manifold artistic, scientific and cultural interelations
that the exposition and the laboratory involved.
Numerous concerts and a prestigious cycle of ten lectures; "The Origins
of the Music". A new way to develop the lectures, with demonstrations
through the aid of musical interventions, theatrical, practical techniques,
using also slides and video. They participated as rapporteur between the
most meaningful researchers and scientists of the thematic treated like
Emanuel Anati, Giovanni Belgrano, Gaetano Roi, Giulio Calegari, Caesar
Bianchi, Italo Bertolasi, Pit Piccinelli, SW. D. Nirodh, Fiorella Terenzi.
But it is in Milan
in 1991 that the collection finds the possibility to be exposed
in a great and prestigious center, one of the most important temples of
the naturalism of the world, the Museum of Natural History.
The director, Giovanni Pinna, notable scientist and expert in museums
and the team of researchers, were fascinated when they understood that
many of the present objects in the museum such as horns, shells, stones
were potential "first musical instruments."
Together we prepared the exhibition: "The Origins of the
Music" with the collaboration of other museums, collectors
and the publisher Jaca Book that published the my book, catalog of the
exposition. The exposure at the end included in 40 glass-slides and other,
not only the collection managed by me, but rare pieces as the slot drum
of the New Guinea, a trunk placed vertically of 5 meters tall from the
Museum Ethnographer Dinz Rialto from Rimini, a mask constituted by a real
human skull with a flute pierced true it, this way, rattles of the Indios
Shuar of the Amazon obtained with wings of coleopter and toucan beaks,
collected by the artist ethnologist Pit Piccinelli.
The exhibition was gifted, (as the preceding one and the following exposures
of the collection) of a series of loudspeakers that transmitted a sonorous-musical
background. A soundtrack expressly composed, constituted by the sounds
of the different environments, forests, mountains, sea, with the voices
of the respective animals, so the songs and the music of the people that
employed the musical instruments exposed. A discreet background, as if
it came from far, but that to the necessity lifting the volume is able
of to become a sensorial experience. As the virtual sonorous simulation
of a jungle that surrounds and swallows the spectator in an authentic
ocean of sounds. It's like finding yourself under the sea listening as
a dolphin. (The electronic exploration is an integral part of the oxposition).
Particularly interesting it was to put a special "mullion" loudspeaker
for external, out of the museum, so that sounds of waterfalls, calls of
bucks and exotic birds, drums in distance were heared. These calls, mixed
to the sounds of the gardens and the city surrounding the museum, calling
the passer-by, attracted as by another world that manifested itself with
If at the Museum of
Natural History in Milan the exposition was equipped by photo, sketches
and ample explanations, it was not so for the exposition realized in Holland
at Acquoy, Leerdam in 1993.
Fort Klank was the name of the grandiose European project
conceived by the genial Dutch composer Dick Raaijmakers, by the German
Horst Rickels and as Italian representative by the undersigned.
It dealt with transforming an ancient bunker Fort Asperen, in a sonorous
work, a great musical instrument constituted by numerous installations
with microscopic and gigantic acoustic instruments, mechanically moved
and operated by a computer. A fusion among the researches on the first
musical instruments and the modern technologies.
The collection was the base to have models of natural sonorous objects
to recreate in another "scale" built with different materials
and moved by different energies, inspiration for the construction of new
instruments or for the use of particular materials and natural sounds.
For Fort Klank extraordinary new sonorous tools were realized: three metallic
pipes of six meters lengh and 450 kilos weight, employed as friction instruments,
a mechanic harm of the bear, robot type that scraping off the wall produced
sounds and graffiti's, then an amazing gigantic waterfall that reproduced
the "white" sound, spin equipments from the ultrasonic sounds
like those of the bats and still other instruments , among which a gong
of stone of Amalia Del Ponte.
The collection "The Origins the Musical Instruments" was exposed
following the style, the spirit of the seventeenth-century wunderkammers;
all the objects in one and only room, brought closer and pending from
everywhere. A master carpenter with an assistant they realized in two
days, shelve supports and show-cases in raw wood.
In this "Wunderkammern van de Eerste instrumenten - Wunderkamern
of the First Musical Instruments" the objects were gathered
on sectors and subjects, and on suggestion of Dick Raaijmakers didn't
appeared no one label, signal or explanation, images, nothing. Only the
naked and raw instrumentary as it is said. This because the visitors had
to strive themselves to understand what kind of musical instrument it
could be, for example, a harm of a crab, or how a flying rhombus is activated
and from where does it comes from. Some visitors exhausted the tour in
the magic room in few minutes other they stayed hours.
A lot of lectures, courses, concerts and demonstrations, a permanent video
accompanied the exposition. My friends and collaborators Papua, of the
West Papua, they performed a concert of sonorous demonstrations and of
dance, also using the stupendous grove that surrounded the old bunker.
In 1995-6 at
the Archeon, which was the greatest park of experimental Archaeology
in the world, constructed in Alphen a\d Rijn, in Holland
a sector named "Music Workshop" was equiped.
The collection was placed in eight glass-slides and twelve spaces of equal
measure, widening with finds and prestigious prehistoric reconstructions.
A platform stage was employed for the concerts and the demonstrations.
In a side room of the exposition they were developed the laboratories.
The flow to the park Archeon in the festive days counted thousand of visitors
and in that context, we could study and realize with success a preparation
of sonorous instruments external to the showcases, prepared in such way
that the public could personally experiment the sonorous potentialities
of a natural object and his own musical attitudes.
"Listen to a sound ancient million of years" it was written
on a board set near to a sonorous stone, with a mallet nearby, to disposition
of the visitors. This way scrappers, harness bells rattles, rattles, musical
bows, shells trumpet shells and whistles etc.
In every moment of the day there was always someone, a child, boys and
girls, adults, but also elderly, amazed on their knees intent to play.
Sponteneous orchestras were also born, and you just can't imagine the
sonorous chaos when the parties arrived. Once every fifteen days the musical
object-instruments to disposition of the public were all to repair or
to replace; cracked pumpkins, dismounted rattles.. But I assure you it
was worth of it, for me it's been one of the most beautiful analyses on
the sonorous-musical attitudes and not only, so for the public; a discovery
and a fun.
7 - 1 - 2000, notes for acquisition of new pieces
In 97-98 and 99 the collection enriches with new musical instruments.
This time it deals with objects gathered around specific subjects, of
the instrumentaries. As that of the fairies and the elves, an acquisition
able to give a further touch of "magic" to the collection, contributing
more and more to it's uniquety, besides, these instrumentaries represent
an example of how to use with success this kind of musical Instruments
in the performance's world of high-level.
A notable recall for the visitors that can admire the musical instruments
conceived by myself, constructed or assembled on purpose of the recent
film "A Midnight Summer Dream" by Michel Hoffman, interpreted
by Michelle Pfeiffer, Kevin Kline, Rupert Everett.
This way the instruments employed for the performances of great teachers
of the theater as Giorgio Albertazzi and Yoshi Oida.
of the Fairies, the Nymphs and the Satyrs
The director Michael Hoffman, asked me to realize expressly for the film
"A Midnight Summer Dream" of the particular musical instruments,
of classical epoch, those often represented in the hands of Nymphs and
Satyrs. The instruments had to have something of "fantastic",
as the Fairies of the Baroque, or of the liberty, that is, a look in tuning
with the film and they had to be authentic musical instruments, means
they could be really played, not as those false, normally employed in
the historical or fantasy films.
I had already reconstructed or directed the reconstruction of different
prehistoric instruments and the of the antiquity among which recently
for the project SYNAULIA, music of the ancient
Rome. I had also studied however certain instruments of the antiquity
they have been stereotyped in the following epoches to become in the collective
imaginary the magic instruments in the hands of Fairies, Elves and Gnomes.
Then selected or designed and constructed the instruments for the purpose,
they were decorated then by skilled Italian and English artisans, So Michelle
Pfeiffer was surrounded by fairy musicians, Luce Maioli and Nathalie van
Ravenstein that played the lullaby to their queen, using the "arcadic"
instruments built with reed, pumpkins and leaves, woods and hoorns.