Objects from the Friedlaender Collection
The objects from the Friedlaender Collection originate from the Solomon Islands, and represent the versatility instruments can exhibit.
The pipes shown here would have all been part of a larger pipe ensemble, who would perform songs that represented sagas and stories. The pipes could and would also be used in solo performances, but more often than not were part of a larger orchestral group. These ensembles still exist today, and can be seen performing here. These pipes show us the intersection of functionality and musicality, being used both as musical instruments and as tools of a larger religious or cultural event.
These flutes are meant to represent the voices of ancestors, allowing them to be present at various religious ceremonies and events. The carvings are also representative of ancestor spirits, the most common depiction being that of a bird. These flutes again demonstrate the dual nature that instruments can and do hold in our cultural practices.
These percussion pipes are from the Solomon Islands, like the pan pipes displayed above. These would also be used as a part of a larger musical ensemble, to add percussion. Both the pan pipes and the percussion pipes are made out of a similar material, but are used in strikingly different ways. The Sepik Kundu drums would similarly be used for percussion. These drums would be used in coming-of-age ceremonies for young men, once again demonstrating how music (and the instruments used to create it) play an important cultural and sometimes even ritual role in many societies.