If you play a musical instrument and have a free hour or so, this museum is a fun opportunity to discover inventive ways Russians and others have made music over the centuries. If you're lucky, one of the museum guides will let you use the computer program that reproduces the sounds of the museum's instruments. One of Tchaikovsky's pianos stands in a second-floor hall packed with harpsichords, early mechanical pianos, and spinets. Note the elegant display of the evolution of harp design from the 16th to the 20th century, and the Arctic tribal instruments. Children with some knowledge of music will enjoy the quirkier exhibits, such as the glass harmonica on the first floor, a piano-size contraption of glass cups stacked horizontally and played with wet hands to produce an airy, wind instrument sound. The museum's setting, the resplendent 18th-century Sheremetev Palace by architect Savva Chevakinsky, is part of the reason to visit.
- © Frommer's 2013
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