Sunday, January 15, 2012

Nethercutt Music Collection

After a brief introduction to the first floor of the Nethercutt Museum our tour guide allowed us to wander around on our own for a brief time. Our free time was to last until the end of George Gershwin's Rhapsody In Blue. The music came from the player piano located on the landing above the floor. Near the piano is a Tiffany clock encased in a walnut cabinet. Its chimes rang out on the hour.
One of the first music boxes we saw on the next floor had five small dancers twirling to the music. It is typical of the "station music boxes" placed in railway stations and other places of business to entertain travelers during the railway boom of the late 1800s. This one was made in Switzerland in 1895.
 The next floor of the museum had orchestrions. They were made only in Europe and are mechanical devices able to produce the sound of a full orchestra. One in the Nethercutt collection has a 20 piece orchestra. It can be seen in the background of the picture below.
The Mighty Wurlitzer, in the foreground of the picture above, is the third largest in the world. During the  years of silent movies it was used in theaters to produce different sound effects. We were told that this organ had an option of  537 different sounds; everything from the sound of thunder to galloping hoofs, to a door bell ringing or a steam engine chugging away from a train station. We were told that it was not an easy task for the musician at the organ. He had to watch the screen, provide certain sounds at the appropriate times and perform for all the shows which may be shown on the screen in one day! A variety of those sounds were produced for us by our tour guide. He also played a couple of songs for us on the organ. While the organ was playing doors opened to reveal two rooms which contain 5,000 organ pipes. We fully enjoyed our two days at the Nethercutt Museum, and there is no admission price!

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