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Walter Maioli

The 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 the sounds.

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.

Instrumentary 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.