Visit of the Charles Cros Collection of the B.N.F. (French National Library)


It was with obvious emotion that we discovered the Charles Cros collection. This collection is focused on sound recording and its first range of machines.

As soon as you enter the collection’s exposition room (17th floor of one of the 4 big tours of the BNF), you are welcomed by numerous horns of many different sizes, shapes and colours. And guess what was placed in the middle, in a display cabinet: a Horn-violin!

We asked Xavier Loyant, curator of the collection, about the probability that this violin is a Stroh-violin or a Tiebel-violin (same type of instrument of the same period).
He explained that after our request for a visit, he carried out some research and noticed that the BNF owns many instruments of this type: another Stroh-violin – which looks like the Stroh instruments of the Musée de la Musique – and a phono-fiddle which certainly predated the Stoh patent.

In the end, we both left the meeting totally delighted. For me because I found another place in Paris where the Stroh Project could have a particular relevance (from a scientific and historical perspective). For Xavier Loyant because he (re-)discovered a beautiful phono-fiddle!

Our talks will undoubtedly continue in the next months.

Here are some pictures taken during this meeting and the link to an article of the IRMA (Information and resource centre for contemporary music) that enabled us to discover the collection