Kids and Kaboodles

An exhibition of the Music Museum in the Basel Museum of History, in conjunction with the Paul Sacher Foundation
13 January to 15 October 2006


From January to October 2006 the Paul Sacher Foundation, working in conjunction with the Music Museum in the Basel Museum of History, mounted an exhibition entitled Kind und Kagel - Mauricio Kagel und seine Kinderinstrumente [Kids and Kaboodles: Mauricio Kagel and His Instruments for Children]. The theme was the imaginative sound-producing devices that the composer Mauricio Kagel developed for children at the Cologne New Music Course in 1971. The exhibition thereby presented a cross-section of Kagel's large collection of instruments and props that have been held on deposit from the Paul Sacher Foundation at the Basel Museum of History since 2004.

In 1971 the Cologne New Music Course, headed by Kagel, was devoted to the subject of children's instruments. Psychologists, teachers, and not least of all children themselves joined forces to experiment with the invention of imaginative sound-producing devises for pre-school children. The resultant instruments, with such vivid names as «acoustic toolkit», «flopstock», «sucker roll», «slap sandals» and «radio play hut», are a fun alternative to the Orff instruments and recorders normally available for this age group in order to sensitize children to music. One emphasis of the exhibition fell on specially reconstructed sound-objects usable by young and adult visitors alike. In addition to several original objects displayed in glass showcases, the reconstructed instruments invited visitors to explore the world of sound on their own, exactly as Kagel intended. The presentation was augmented with materials on the Cologne Course and the response of educators to the instruments. A second part of the exhibition illustrated the ties between Kagel's compositional work and his concept of «instrumental theater»,in which the process of music-making itself is transformed into a theatrical act, as in Der Schall (1968), Acustica (1968-70), Staatstheater (1967-70), and Exotica (1972).

Basel Museum of Historyl, Music Museum, Im Lohnhof 9, Basel, Switzerland

A brochure accompanying the exhibition, with contributions by Mauricio Kagel, Matthias Kassel, Martin Kirnbauer, and Martina Papiro, is available at the Museum Shop in the Music Museum or via the internet at