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By Rachel Conway on

Turn It Up: Must-see moments

After nearly five years in the making and created in collaboration with over 200 contributors and organisations, the Science and Industry Museum in Manchester is excited to unveil Turn It Up: The power of music.

Please note, Turn It Up: The power of music ended on 29 May 2023. To find out what exhibitions and activities are open today, visit our What’s On section.

Turn It Up is a the world-first immersive exhibition revealing the science of music’s mysterious hold over us and how it drives us to create, perform, feel and share.

The exhibition combines specially commissioned interactive and immersive installations, personal stories, musical tracks, dance and music-making opportunities, never-before-seen musical inventions, first-hand accounts from renowned musicians, artwork, cutting-edge research and unique instruments to show the science behind music and what the future holds for melody making.

It is jam-packed with things to see, do and feel, so here are some of the must-see highlights for anyone visiting Turn It Up:

Unusual Instruments

Forget the electric guitar or piano and get ready to see weird and wonderful instruments made from the unexpected or played to surprising effect, from the Pyrophone organ powered by flames, created in the 1800s by maverick musician Frederic Kastner, to the never-before-displayed Anarchestra satellite dish, a one-of-a-kind instrument that can be played multiple ways, invented by musician Andy Thurlow to help people find new ways to make music.

Pyrophone, patented and made by Frédéric Kastner, France, 1873
Science Museum Group Collection © The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Musical Inventions

Discover the amazing ways that cutting-edge technology is being used to make music-making more accessible for everyone. See MiMU gloves invented by world-renowned singer and musician Imogen Heap and used by global superstar Ariana Grande and Kris Halpin, the first person to use them as an accessible instrument, and the Robo-recorder invented by musician Liza Bec, who built their own musical instrument when they developed a rare type of epilepsy triggered by certain ways their fingers moved when playing an instrument.

A woman holding a recorder
Liza Bec with the Robo Recorder.
Image credit: Liza Bec

AI robot

If you thought that humans were the only ones capable of making music, then think again because you will be able to see Haile the AI musical robot on display for the first time. Haile uses AI to improvise and perform with human musicians.  Designed by Gil Weinberg of Georgia Institute of Technology to understand and listen to music like a human but play like a machine, Haile the robot drummer uses AI to improvise and perform with human musicians, by listening to human drummers through a microphone then using its processers to generate and play new drum patterns.

Personal stories

Everyone has a unique relationship with music, with no two people’s experience the same. Uncover personal stories illustrating just how different everyone’s musical experiences are, including 84-year-old Barry Carr who lives with dementia. Although his memory is deteriorating, he feels at home when singing to Manchester City songs in the stadium when his grandson, Charlie Gibson, takes him to games.

An older man wearing a Manchester City shirt posing for a photo with his adult grandson
Barry Carr with his grandson Charlie.
Image credit: Barry Carr/Charlie Gibson


Discover what it looks like to see, and not just hear, sound and music. See specially commissioned artwork by renowned artist Jack Coulter, who has produced work for Anne Hathaway, Paul McCartney and the Freddie Mercury Estate. A synaesthete, Jack sees sound and music, translating it on to canvas, and has created a work of art especially for the exhibition based on the track ‘Cornfield Chase’ by Hans Zimmer from the movie Interstellar.

Get Creative

Get your creative juices flowing and see for yourself that everyone is musical. Discover the brand-new light and sound ‘musical playground’ installation designed by award-winning artists Amigo and Amigo especially for the exhibition—their first museum commission. Here you can collaborate, experiment with beats, melodies and harmonies and discover there is no right or wrong way to make music. Then literally build music using LEGO-style building blocks at the specially commissioned ‘Musical Building Blocks’ hands-on experience.

Famous Faces

Spot famous names and faces from across the world of music, dance and sport as you explore the exhibition. Hear about Elton John and Anne-Marie’s favourite musical memories; find out what music means to CBeebies’ YolanDa Brown; and discover what tracks Andy Murray, Harry Kane and Hannah Cockroft listen to to get in the zone.

A woman sat on a staircase holding a saxophone
YolanDa Brown.
Image credit: YolanDa Brown

Pioneering Studies

Be amazed at the discoveries of the 35 pioneering studies in the exhibition, featured together for the first time, exploring music’s impact on our daily lives—from helping us sleep better and improving our health, to influencing what we buy and what food tastes like. This includes ENO Breathe, an ongoing online breathing and wellbeing programme designed by doctors from Imperial Healthcare NHS Trust in partnership with the English National Opera (ENO), specifically for people who are recovering from long COVID and experiencing ongoing breathlessness and associated anxiety. It uses singing techniques to improve wellbeing for patients with persistent breathlessness due to COVID-19 and focuses on breathing re-training through singing.

Embark on a musical journey

Experience how music can stir particular emotions in the never-before heard musical journey created by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in partnership with children’s mental health charity, Place2Be. The immersive family-friendly experience is designed to take visitors on an emotional journey with benefits for children’s emotional literacy, taking listeners through a range of emotions from sorrow to hope.

The Power of Music

Explore a pop-up supermarket, gym locker room, office and pharmacy to see if you can spot the music that makes food taste salty or sweet; that is safer to play in the car while driving through the city; or that will keep you on hold for longer.

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