The small Musikmuseet, the national museum of music in Copenhagen, displays mostly musical instruments from Denmark, Europe, and the world. It is a delight to visit.
The Danish Music Museum is one of the smaller national museums in Denmark but fun to visit. The emphasis is on European music with a variety of interesting instruments on display. Although the exhibitions are largely chronologically showing the development of for example wind and string instruments, the variety of instruments on display also includes many unique and interesting items. Danish music, instruments, musicians, and composers are well covered. Admission includes a tablet with all information in English and many audio of many of the instruments on display. Opening hours are short and usually on weekends only. The Copenhagen Card is valid.
NOTE: Check at Musikmuseet if the museum has reopened for regular visitors before traveling.
Exhibitions in the Danish Music Museum in Copenhagen
The musical instruments in the National Museum of Music of Denmark are exhibited in three main themes: instruments from Europe, Denmark, and an eclectic collection from other parts of the world.
The oldest instruments in the museum are 500 years old so the first displays are interesting copies. Two lures, the legendary triumphal instruments of prehistoric Scandinavia, provide the introduction to the Danish section of the museum. More examples of lures are displayed in other museums in Denmark but may also be seen on a statue next to Copenhagen town hall, as well as on several products such as Lurpak butter.
The European music section similarly starts with a copy of one of the oldest complete notations of music — the Seikilos epitaph column from Ancient Greece (ca. 1st century AD). This cylindrical stone is carved with words as well as indications in between the lines of how it should be sung. The original may be seen in the national museum of Denmark in Copenhagen.
The European instruments section covers all periods from antiquity to modern electronic instruments with special sections on the Renaissance, Baroque, Wienerklassik, and Romantic eras.
The collection includes a variety of instruments making it possible to trace the development of for example string instruments and pianos.
Some of the most interesting displays are of development dead ends. Regular instruments in strange designs or with special features that never became standard or developed the genre further. Many of these instruments were well-loved and often played but never became mainstream.
A popular item on display in the museum is not a musical instrument at all but rather “Mozart’s Heart”. This is of course not the famous composer’s vital organ but rather a small heart-shaped watch-chain charm of lava and gold that belonged to W.A. Mozart. Mozart’s widow, Constanze, married a Danish diplomat, G. N. Nissen, and lived in Copenhagen from 1810 — 1820. She gave this heart to a friend who later gifted it to the Danish composer Niels W. Gade.
The museum also has a life mask of Beethoven that was made for the piano maker Johann Andreas Streicher.
Pragtrummet / Kunstkammer in the Music Museum
The Pragtrummet is a kind of curiosities chamber (Kunstkammer) with a variety of interesting instruments.
Many are of particular artistic note, self-playing, or disguised instruments such as a sake set that functions as a flute. Others have elaborated designs and although the sound quality may be questioned, these instruments certainly are not boring.
World Instruments in Copenhagen
The small instruments from the rest of the world section displays instruments from all parts of the world.
The instruments from Asia are probably the more interesting with a couple of impressive items from China, Japan, and Korea. A few instruments are from Africa and Latin America.
Danish Instruments and Music in Denmark
The display of music and musical instruments in Denmark starts with copies of the prehistoric lures followed by instruments that were used by townsmen and folk musicians. For the nobility, musical instruments would have been very much as in the rest of Europe.
The museum also has numerous instruments made in Denmark on display as well as sections on the better-known Danish composers and musicians. A small section deals with modern Danish music — more to keep the local youth happy than to educate foreign visitors.
Danish Music Museum Visitors Information
Visitors are not allowed to touch the historical instruments but a large number of modern instruments are available for play in a soundproof room so skill is not a requirement.
All displays in the museum are in Danish but all visitors get a free tablet with translations of all exhibits. This easy-to-use tablet also functions as an audioguide with many instruments played via bluetooth earphones.
The Danish Museum of Music is relatively small and fun to visit. Music lovers will easily spend up to two hours here while others will probably be done in an hour. Although reviews are few, the museum generally receives very positive views on Tripadvisor even from non-specialists and families.
Ticket Prices for the Music Museum of Denmark
Admission to the Danish Museum Museum is DKK70 for adults and free for children under 18. A family ticket is DKK55 — a typical Danish institution that gives visitors bringing a child with to the museum a ticket cheaper than an adult visiting alone.
An annual ticket is DKK175 and valid for the bearer and one guest — it saves on the second date.
The Copenhagen Card is accepted.
Opening Hours of the Danish Music Museum
NOTE: The museum was closed at the beginning of 2022, except for educational visits. Check at Musikmuseet if the museum has reopened for regular visitors before traveling.
The Danish Music Museum is open only on Saturday and Sunday from 10:00 to 16:00.
It is also open on many national vacation days as well as during some school holiday periods.
Getting to the Danish Music Museum
The Musikmuseet is at Rosenørns All 22, 1970 Frederiksberg right across the road from the Forum metro station on metro lines 1 and 2 (yellow / green) and thus easily reached from central Copenhagen. (It moved from the Aabenraa address still quoted on some sites several years ago!)
The music museum is located inside the large building of the Royal Danish Academy of Music (Det Kongelige Danske Musikkonservatorium). Ask directions at reception — the museum is in the rear of the building on the third floor.
The Danish Music Museum is relatively small. For fantastic collections of historic musical instruments in Europe visit the Musikinstrumenten-Museum in Berlin and the Musical Instruments Museum (Muziekinstrumentenmuseum / Musée des instruments de musique) in Brussels.