Museum of Ethnography
H-1146, Budapest, Dózsa György út 35.
Phone: +36 1 474 2100
The Museum of Ethnography houses some three thousand folk instruments from all over the globe, many of which were among its first acquisitions. The rich body of material collected by János Xántus in Southeast Asia between 1869 and 1870, for example, included ninety instruments and parts of instruments. Additional music-related objects were brought home by Count Jenő Zichy from his expedition to Russia and East Asia. Of these, Ostyak (Khanty) shaman drums, a bone mouth harp, a two-string violin, various types of harp, and a number of song-counting sticks were displayed as part of a temporary exhibition in 1899.
The collection of domestic musical instruments was begun only later and proceeded at a more modest pace. During the 1900s, Béla Bartók traveled to Algeria to collect Arab music. While his research among the Slovaks and Romanians is well-known, Bartók also worked with the Turks and other Asiatic peoples. Other research projects of international significance include those of Bálint Sárosi in Africa and László Vikár in Asia.
Today, one often encounters the musical instruments of distant cultures, including those outside Europe, at world music festivals. The success of such instruments is in part attributable to their exotic appearance and sound.
Curator: Krisztina Pálóczy