Music box, musical jewelry box.
Type of Musical Instrument:
Mechanical, under the Sachs-Hornbostel System it is considered an idiophone
How it Works:
Metal prongs on a comb-shaped device vibrates as it comes into contact with a cylinder that revolves mechanically. On the cylinder there are pins and as the cylinder revolves, the metal prongs are plucked and it produces musical notes. The notes depend on the length of the metal prong.
Cylinder Music Boxes:
Music produced by these type of musical boxes are like the sound of bells or harps. Larger models could play several tunes and had as much as 96 metal prongs. Later on cylinders could even be replaced so that the owner had more tunes to listen to, although it proved to be fragile.
Disk Style Music Boxes:
These type of musical boxes replaced the earlier forms, it's also called Symphonion or Kalliope. It emerged during the 1890's in Leipzig, Germany and it's made of a steel disk, somewhat like a small phonograph record. The steel disk had projections on it and as it revolves the metal prongs are plucked. The disk could easily be replaced allowing the owner to listen to more tunes.
First Known Musical Boxes:
It is believed to have originated in Switzerland during the late 1700's. In 1796, Antoine Favre who was a watchmaker from Geneva, invented a comb-like device that incorporated musical notes on pocket watches and lockets. Musical boxes were popular in the early 1800's but was replaced by the phonograph by early 1900's. Nowadays makers of musical boxes have added embellishments such as a dancing ballerina and they also make use of different types of wood as well as colors. There are music boxes which are considered collector's items and antique music boxes are worth a lot of money.