p>MUSICAL instruments can show what a nation is like, as the Muzika Etnika exhibition at the Slovak National Museum (SNM) on Vajanského Embankment in Bratislava demonstrates. Until October 4, it will present examples of Arabian, African, Latin-American, North-American, Indian, Chinese, and Indonesian music, musical instruments and culture. The instruments include shamanic drums, a flute meant to seduce a partner, and an African cora with 21 strings. A unique exhibit is a large Indonesian set of gamelan instruments, the base of which consists of three hanging bronze gongs originally meant to bring about rainfall. The exhibition was prepared in co-operation with the Czech National Museum, Charles University in Prague and the SNM.
The exhibition’s subtitle is Music as Mirror of Cultures and it includes the ancient music of India, Aymars from the Titicaca Lake region of South America, and traditional Chinese tea music. For visitors, sound and video recordings have been prepared of exotic instruments being played. From these they can learn how, for instance, an Indian sitar with 40 strings is played, or listen to the sound of a Latin-American charango, the back part of which is made from the skin of an armadillo. Richly decorated traditional clothing from the seven regions of origin and various items used when listening to music in various cultures, such as a tea-set and a chessboard with men in traditional Arab dress are also part of the exhibition. Compiled by Spectator staff