Published September 2013

Music Notes

The Musical Instrument Museum celebrates the ‘language of the soul’

BYKara Philp
Music is a common thread among all people, a universal language with a history that reaches as far back as human existence.
At the Musical Instrument Museum (MIM) in Phoenix, cultures from around the world — both past and present — converge for an interactive, global exploration of sound.
Here, music is celebrated as the sustaining human gift. As such, the museum’s extensive instrument collection delves deeply into the emotion, innovation, and history that brings the sounds of these instruments to life.
Upon arriving at the MIM, each visitor receives a headset, allowing for a self-guided tour of the 200,000 square-foot ultra-modern building. The Orientation Gallery offers a quick introductory film that explains the museum’s commitment to the conservation and preservation of all kinds of music — from all eras, genres, and regions.
Next up is the Artist Gallery, where you’ll find sheet music, handwritten song lyrics, microphones, stage costumes, and video performances from artists including Taylor Swift, Elvis, Carlos Santana, John Denver, and Roy Orbison. As one of the more prominent and modern exhibits, this gallery reflects recent, and popular, music history (the air guitar is a must-see).

This gallery leads to the Mechanical Music Gallery, which showcases the history and evolution of self-playing instruments, including a mechanical zither, a reproducing piano, and a variety of music boxes.
Audible Arizona
While cities such as New Orleans and Nashville have long been recognized as musical hubs, Arizona can proudly stand its own ground. The exhibits range from Tucsonans Eduardo "Lalo" Guerrero and Linda Ronstadt to Rock and Roll Hall of Famers Duane Eddy and Alice Cooper. Add in the Native American music of Canyon Records, the Phoenix Indian High School Band, which played in 1983’s National Independence Day parade in Washington D.C., and even a nod at Elvis’ non-singing role in Charro! — Arizona’s musical roots are well represented here … but that’s just the beginning.
Orientation Gallery
Orientation Gallery
Canyon Records exhibit
Canyon Records exhibit
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