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Haus der Musik (House of Music)

Vienna, Austria


ABOVE: A "virtual conductor" exhibit at Vienna's Haus der Musik.

"Have you ever sung an aria in the shower at the top of your voice? Or stood in front of the CD player conducting your favorite orchestra with a chopstick or whatever was handy? Or emulated The Who's Pete Townsend with a tennis racket in a burst of 'air guitar'? If the answer to only one of these questions is 'yes,' the House of Music in Vienna is for you!"

That's the word from the Vienna Tourist Board, which hopes to make the Haus der Musik (a.k.a. "The Sound Museum") as familiar to visitors as the Vienna Choir Boys, the Spanish Riding School, and Sachertorte. The board's press release for the museum continues:

"Imagine standing at the podium and conducting the world's most renowned orchestra, the Wiener Philharmoniker! Dreams can 'virtually' come true at the House of Music, where you can earn a degree as a 'virtual conductor" without even having graduated from the Academy of Music.

"The venerable orchestra keeps the proper time, whether you choose to conduct in the manner of Herbert von Karajan (swiftly) or Hans Knappertsbusch (ver-r-r-y slowly). But be careful: the musicians aren't easy to please. You may even be shown up, when a Herr Professor within the orchestra gets up and asks you, 'Kennen Sie das Stück uberhaupt?' ('Do you even know this piece?') At that point, you might take some consolation from the rumor that even such a renowned conductor as Zubin Mehta was unable to conduct the orchestra to the satisfaction of its virtual members!"


ABOVE: Giant instruments at the House of Music.

Other musical fun

When you're ready to step off the conductor's podium, there are plenty of other activities to try in Vienna's Haus Der Musik.

Poke your head into a device that looks like a salon hairdryer, sing into the microphone, and view images that are harmonious or discordant according to your singing skills. (Try this before performing in a karaoke bar!)

Use the "Mind Forest" to create music by using your voice, hands, and body, or turn your impromptu compositions into sound in the "Future Music Blender." You can even take your music home on a CD.

Experience the first sounds that a prenatal infant experiences in the womb, hear the sounds of the universe, try the "sound gallery" (a pool of diverse sounds), and more.

If you prefer your music served up with seriousness, you can explore the Vienna Philharmonic Museum (which celebrates the history of the 150-year-old orchestra) and tour Genius Loci, a permanent exhibition with documents and memorabilia from the lives of Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, Johann Strauss, Mahler, and Schönberg.

The House of Music also has a café and a collection of shops where you can buy instruments, sheet music, recordings, and other musical wares.

Location and hours

The Haus der Musik is located at Seilerstätte 30 in the 1st District, between St. Stephen's Cathedral and the Vienna State Opera. It's open daily from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. For more information (including admission fees), visit the English-language pages at