Music in Malta – From Prehistory to Vinyl, an exhibition organised by Fondazzjoni Patrimonju Malti, aims to shed light on the diverse influences that have shaped the island’s musical culture. The project also includes a programme of performances by local and foreign artists.

Old instruments and other music-related items on display at the Mdina Cathedral Museum as part of a major project by Fondazzjoni Patrimonju Malti.Old instruments and other music-related items on display at the Mdina Cathedral Museum as part of a major project by Fondazzjoni Patrimonju Malti.

Visitors to the Mdina Cathedral Museum will walk through a number of broadly defined sections named In the Beginning, Sacred Music, Folk, Baroque to Romantic, Il-Banda and Early Recordings. Among others, they may admire a 1st century BC Roman bone clapper, an 18th-century harp with a guilt cherub decoration, a Maltese kitarrina from the early 19th century and a natural trumpet by Daniel Kodisch, dating circa 1720 from Nuremberg, Germany.

There is also a bronja or charonia shell trumpet, which was blown by generations of millers in Żurrieq, and a piano with janissary features from Trieste made by Johann Heichele. Also on display is the Royas Gradual, an illuminated gradual (book of plainsong for Mass) with the crest of Bishop Martin Royas (1572-1577).

A section is also dedicated to early Maltese recordings and includes vinyl and a 1920s phonograph.

All the exhibits have been sourced from Maltese private and public entities, including Heritage Malta, De Rohan Band Club of Żebbuġ (Malta), the Grand Master’s Palace and La Valette Band Club. A fully-illustrated catalogue, comprising contributions by various academics, accompanies the exhibition, which runs until June 16.

The Mdina Cathedral Museum is open Monday to Saturday from 9.30am to 4.15pm (last entrance). For more information, visit www.musicinmalta.com or the event’s Facebook page.

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