Now I know that I haven’t mentioned hiking in the last few weeks and it’s because Trondheim has recently been plagued with rainy weekends. So, in an effort to make sure I wasn’t just going to live in bed all weekend, I’ve been trying to check out some more of the cultural sites around Trondheim.
Stop number 1: the symphony. A few weeks ago I went with Alix and some of her colleagues to listen to Trondheim’s Symphony Orchestra. Despite the fact that they didn’t play much Grieg, I still managed to get “In the Hall of the Mountain King” stuck in my head for a week (don’t worry you’ll know the song once you hear it). While I wasn’t the biggest fan of the orchestra’s set list, it was still nice to sit back, relax, and just enjoy the music. Plus it wasn’t half bad at 120 kroner (around 18 USD).
I also had the chance to drop by both the Trondheim Museum of Art (Trondheim Kunstmuseum) and the National Museum of Decorative Arts (Nordenfjeldske Kunstindustrimuseum). I didn’t get too much time to explore the Museum of Art since when I arrived they were about to close, but they did have a fun exhibit on how people used to do the sound effects for the radio. My favorite effects were rubbing your hands across a balloon get a kissing noise and squelching pasta in a bowl to create monster footsteps.
The National Museum of Decorative Arts was actually really enjoyable. They have exhibits on three levels, and unfortunately I JUST missed their Vanity Fair exhibit. Still it was a lot of fun to look around at some of their more unusual art pieces. I now have a better understanding of why Ikea came from Scandinavia. The museum also happens to have a well stocked gift shop which I’d recommend.
And last but not least, I was treated to a tour of the Ringe Museum, which is a music museum on the outskirts of town. To quote our tour guide, “The museum was originally an old manor where the rich used to go to play farmer” (hence why it’s on the edge of town). The manor was eventually inherited by a couple who was very dedicated to music and who decided to convert the manor into a museum. Nowadays the museum has instruments from all around the world, and many of them are hundreds of years old and quite rare.
While the tour itself was nice, we got a bonus on top of that. It just so happens that a friend of a friend of a friend, Daniel, happens to work at the museum and was willing to give us a private tour on top of the public one. We all had a lot of fun walking around the museum and having him explain the history behind some of the instruments on display. It turns out that some of the most controversial instruments in the museum are Tibetan ones made of human bones. China has now banned Tibetans from making these instruments from bones, but the museum has some genuine ones as well as some of the more modern version which are made out of wood.
What I personally found to be the strangest instrument in the museum was the theremin.
You don’t actually touch the theremin to play it but by moving your hands around the instrument you can change the volume on the left hand side and the pitch on the right hand side. My clumsy attempts to play it were pretty terrible, but this YouTube video will give you a good idea of what it sounds like and how to play it. And yes, it’s much harder to do than it looks.
At the end of the day my favorite instrument was a bell. Daniel explained that in the country where the bell originated from monks would ring the bell to help pray for the dead. He went on to explain that families would come and stick a post-it note on the bell with the names of the deceased and their address written down. The idea behind this was that when the monks would ring the bell it would call to the dead and then the dead would be able to hear the monks praying for them and guiding them from their home address onto the path of reincarnation.
Overall I had a good time at the museum and would recommend a visit if you happen to be a music lover.