Melbourne Conservatorium of Music Musical Instruments Collection: Rare and Historic Examples

These instruments were originally acquired for the use of students and orchestras in Melbourne. They include some wind instruments acquired in the early twentieth century with the support of Dame Nellie Melba, to enable Melbourne's orchestras to adopt the 'normal' pitch of 440 hertz as part of the international move towards standardization. Some of the instruments are regularly used by students and the community, such as the Melbourne Community Gamelan, said to be the finest sounding of all the gamelan in Australia, which was purchased in Madiun, central Java, in 1990. The collection is historically significant as it highlights and represent the theme of cultural development and advancement through music education. The collection is evidence of key points in the history of Australian music: particularly the adoption of a standard pitch in the early twentieth century, and to a lesser extent, a campaign for democratisation of music in the 1920s–1930s. Historically, this collection of instruments and musical objects represents the continuing drive of a culture to develop an identity through music, reflective of aspirations on a local and international level.

For further information on the collection contact Susie Shears, E: sshears@unimelb.edu.au, T: (03) 8344 0269.