The Min-On Music Museum, located inside the Min-On Culture Center in Shinanomachi, Tokyo, is just one of a handful of museums specializing in music from around the world. Aside from a large collection of musical scores, musical reference materials and recordings spanning many genres, it has four exhibition rooms: a classical piano room, special exhibition room, music box exhibition room and instrument exhibition room. These are free of charge and open to the public. In particular, the classical piano room has a rare collection of antique harpsichords and fortepianos. These pieces are not only exhibitions; they are also played on the hour to give museum visitors a taste of their original sound. These pianos are the same models used by celebrated composers Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, Schumann, Brahms and Chopin, who cherished the sounds of these delicate instruments hundreds of years ago.
On New Year’s Day, 2016, one of the exhibition rooms in the museum was newly opened as a comprehensive exhibition of automatic player instruments, including various antique and modern music boxes, a variety of historical recording instruments including cylinder phonographs and disc gramophones, a hand-cranked street pipe organ and a fairy-tale organ, as well as mechanical player pianos. Mirroring the style of other exhibitions, the historical heritage of the automatic player instruments comes alive through the hourly performance of the pieces in this exhibition room, too. Visitors can also enjoy actual performances of world-renowned pianists and composers from a previous era, which are recorded on a museum collection of some 1000 paper rolls for playing by our Welte Mignon Reproducing Piano.
Since its opening in 1997, the Min-On Music Museum has attracted more than 1.6 million visitors, and will continue its role as an important treasure-trove of musical culture.