Musa. Museo degli strumenti musicali
studi musicali online
studi musicali online

Lutist: painting on canvas. Donated to the Accademia on 1891 by queen Margaret.

The Musical Instruments Museum of the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia (MUSA), holds one of the foremost collections of instruments in Italy. Its most valuable pieces are now on display to the public in its exhibition gallery.

The museum was established in 1895 by what was then the Regia Accademia. At that time a renewed interest in early music and its performance practices had spurred other important European teaching institutions, such as the Paris and Brussels Conservatoires, to set up collections that would enable students and the general public to learn about ancient instruments.

Little knowledge had been available before then about the instruments played and the very different performance techniques used in past centuries. A number of Santa Cecilia Academics in Rome such as Oscar Chilesotti, Giuseppe Branzoli, and Adolf Berwin (librarian at the time), among others, devoted themselves to these studies. Together with the Count of San Martino (then the president), they all contributed to creating the collection by donating their own instruments.

Thanks to their initiative, two trattenimenti di musica antica (early music concerts) were organized on 8th and 10th May 1889. A few weeks later, on 24th May, Branzoli took part in a "historical concert", promoted by the SocietÓ Musicale Romana, which represented a fundamental step in establishing the Accademia's collection.