What is a Musurgia, anyway?

There is no simple answer to that question. The Musurgia Universalis, the title of a book from which we took this name, was written in 1650 by Athanasius Kircher, a Jesuit Athanasius Kircher  1601-1680scholar, musician, mathematician, inventor, and musicologist, who lived from 1601-1680. He is often compared with Leonardo daVinci for his genius and remarkable scope of study and research.. The Musurgia covered every aspect of music, from musical notation and theory, to bird songs. A large portion of his book was devoted to the history of instrumentation and the specific cataloging of all musical instruments from throughout the known world, and not just those from Renaissance Europe. Many items included were from Asia and Africa, and some from ancient times, as well.

One instrument of particular interest to Kircher was the Hydraulis of Alexandria. Built in the 3rd Century B.C., this incredible flute-playing mechanical instrument was actually the first Pipe Organ. It was driven by wind pressure that was produced and regulated by running water. HydraulisThe instrument was eventually introduced to Rome where it soon became quite popular. The Emperor Nero didn't fiddle as the legend reports, the violin, in any form, would not exist for another millennium. He is said to have played the Hydraulis (perhaps while Rome burned?).

Musurgia.com was created as a division of New York String Service to present an unusual inventory which would be encyclopedic in variety. We deal in a vast assortment of instruments, photographs, ephemera, records, books and magazines concerning all types of music.

We have never had a Hydraulis for sale. At least not yet! We do, however, have some of the first electric guitars ever produced, one of a kind Baroque flutes, 19th century brass instruments, 78 rpm records, rare books about music, Victorian era prints and photos of musicians, and a few rattles made from insect cocoons by the indigenous peoples of the Sierra Madras. You'll also find classic banjos, violins, analog synthesizers, steel guitars, mandolins and flat top guitars, all set up for working musicians, as well as, hobbyists who want to enjoy playing on truly fine musical instruments.







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Visit our companion site, Retrofret.com, dedicated to vintage guitars and fretted instruments.

The Musical Eye
The Musical Eye

Our selection of historical musically themed images.

Reference Desk
Books and Records

Books and publications for musicians and collectors.

Recent Sales
Recent Sales

View some of our recently sold items.




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