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Musicale of primitive instruments

Identifier: Film Collection no. 85

Scope and Contents

Willard Rhodes, Columbia University anthropologist specializing in musicology, discusses numerous musical instruments from the AMNH collection. Dancers appear on a large keyboard set to illustrate Rhodes's concepts concerning primitive music. A group of musicians give a music performance with a score especially created for this program by Samuel Barber, noted composer and Pulitzer Prize winner, using nose flutes, water gongs, a Congo piano, and other exotic and aboriginal musical instruments from the museum's collection. Most of the instruments are from China, Java, Bali, Africa, and the various Melanesian islands, although some Western instruments are added for the performance. The John Butler dancers perform to the music.


  • 1954


Language of Materials


Conditions Governing Access

Not available through inter-library loan. Contact AMNH Library Special Collections for terms of access.


1 Film Reel (30 minutes) : sound, black and white ; 16 mm.

1 Videocassette (30 minutes) ; 3/4 in.

Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

3/4 in., U-Matic, viewing copy

Other Finding Aids

Finding aid: script.


Original format: 16mm kinescope.


Originally aired Nov. 28, 1954 as part of the CBS/AMNH Adventure television series.



Charles Collingwood, host; Mel Ferber, director; Perry Wolff, producer; Robert Northshield and Jac Venza, asssistant producers; Perry Wolff, writer; Shelby Gordon, script editor; Joan Woodward, associate director; Grover Cole, production design; Jerry Bender, supervisor of film; Al Mifelow, program assistant; J. Jack Howerton, technical director; Myron Bleam, set director; Dean Nelson, lighting; Willian Walstrom, costumes; Glen Tetley, Mary Hinkson and Barton Mumaw of the John Butler Dancers, performers.

Musicale of primitive instruments, 1954
Iris Lee
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Museum Archives at the Gottesman Research Library Repository

American Museum of Natural History
200 Central Park West
New York NY 10024 USA
(212) 769-5420