Along the musical instruments, pictures and other objects, related to music, form a good portion of the exhibition. Iconography is an important area, related to musical history, as the examination of instruments and musical events represented in paintings, drawings, etc., helps to elucidate musical periods. The pictures not only show instruments of earlier centuries, at times with photographic precision, but a few also feature scores, which did not survive in any other way. For example, codices from the renaissance period feature almost the entire stock of European instruments, usually depicted by foreign masters.
Music history is also concerned with the language names of instruments. The Hungarian glossary dates from the early 15th century, including the names of horn, pipe, drum, violin and flute.
Hungary is famous for its music and its outstanding musicians. From the 16th century, two composer–musicians – both lute players – deserve our attention: Sebestyén Tinódi and Bálint Bakfark. A few decades later, Hungarian violinmakers follow: Ádám Bessler worked in the early 17th century, as a noted violinmaker and as the town bugler of Eperjes. In the 18th century, Hungarian and foreign musicians often played together in orchestras, compositions of J. G. Albrechtsberger, Michael and Joseph Haydn and Benedek Istvánffy, respectively.
Hungarian instrument makers can be traced from an early date. Musicians’ guilds are known to have been in Beszterce (1549), in Zagreb (1741), and in Temesvár (1815). The first independent guild of instrument makers was established in Pest in 1836, and the First Hungarian Exhibition of Artifacts in 1842 included the following masters: J. Pachl, L. Seiler, L. Pápai, J. Schweitzer. 19th-century Hungarian instrument makers, such as Lajos Beregszászy, Sámuel Nemessányi, János Stowasser, Max Pliverics, Ferenc Kaiml, and Vencel József Schunda, to name only a few, participated in almost every national and international exhibition. In the 1930s and ’40s, Hungary had factories, such as Angster’s manufactory in Pécs, the workshops of Sternberg, Mogyoróssy and Reményi. In the second half of the 20th century, only minor instrument-making workshops are known. As an exception, a violin factory was established in Szeged.