scientific activity

To store and allow access to an impressive collection of musical instruments is the main task of this scientific institution. But it doesn't stop there. Scientific staff examine the socio-cultural context, the life, the construction characteristics and capabilities of each musical instrument. Organology (from the Greek organon, instrument, and logos, word or reasoning) is the branch of musicology that looks at instruments from a historical, anthropological, acoustic and technical perspective. This scientific discipline was developed in the 19th century, thanks to Victor-Charles Mahillon (1841-1924), the first curator of what was then the "Instrument Museum of the Music Conservatory". Mahillon devised the first scientific classification of musical instruments and provided the impressive Catalog descriptif et analytique du Musée instrumental du Conservatoire royal de Musique de Bruxelles (5 vol., Ghent, Brussels, 1880-1922), which described the 3,300 instruments  the museum acquired between its  foundation in 1877 and 1922.

Check out the current catalogue.

Current research project: The Formalized Fiddle (C. Hulshof).

A joint research project with the Erasmus Hogeschool Brussel (Royal Conservatory) has allowed Stefaan Verdegem to put up a specific catalogue of our oboe collection (excluding instruments used in folk and in non-western music). Check it out on

Between August 29 and September 2, 2011, the mim joined forces with Cité de la musiqe in Paris in organising the Annual meeting of CIMCIM, an ICOM committee. Read more.

Tying in with europalia.china, mim has hosted the annual international conference of CHIME, the European Foundation for Chinese Music Research, running from November 18th to 22nd 2009. The subject of the conference was 'Chinese and East Asian Music: the future of the past'. For further information, click here.

A good measure of scientific activity at the mim is the list of publications (document in French and Dutch only). Scientists today continue the work of their predecessors and provide further evidence that organology is alive and well. See for example "Orfeo son io", the publication of the colloquium proceedings of "Claudio Monteverdi's Orfeo and its impact on the European musical scene" (Oct 2007), edited by Mia Awouters and Anne-Emmanuelle Ceulemans.

Conference archive
"Adolphe Sax, A Bicentenary Conference" (July 3-5, 2014)