Information Services


We currently have over one hundred video clips of historic stringed, woodwind, brasswind and percussion instruments being demonstrated and discussed by musicians.

A selection of the demonstrations are available as MPEG (.mpg) video or MP3 (.mp3) audio files through MIMO (Musical Instrument Museums Online).

Each MIMO record includes a description and a picture; where present the video and audio clips can be accessed by the "Digital resources" tab in MIMO.

The instruments

Not all the instruments in the Collection are in a playable state, and for some which are it would be too risky to attempt to use them even for a limited time. MIMEd's main purpose is to preserve historic instruments in perpetuity for study, and their principal use is in teaching and research. None of the instruments in the Collection is played regularly, and it is not the Collection's policy to "restore" instruments since any rebuilding, however minor, diminishes an instrument's value as a historical document.

For the purposes of these recordings, only routine maintenance was carried out, such as replacement of strings. The instruments were not all functioning as well as a modern copy would be expected to. The recorded sounds on this website may give some impression of how the instruments sounded in their prime, but it will not be a completely true re-creation since

  • Stringed instruments were not tuned as high as they might have been originally
  • Woodwind instruments will have warped, shrunk or twisted over time
  • The bows, brasswind mouthpieces and percussion beaters originally used may have been different
  • Playing techniques, although "historically informed", are unlikely to be exactly the same as those used in former times