February 11, 2022, 1:54 p.m. | Updated: February 11, 2022, 3:29 PM

The inside of a cello.

Photo: Charles Brooks


Photographer Charles Brooks invites us to discover the inner workings of our musical instruments…

Musical instruments are often considered beautiful; from century-old violins to new gold-lacquered saxophones, they are often a work of art in their own right.

But have you ever wondered what the inside of your instrument looks like? Perhaps you looked into a space between the strings, or the pads, only to encounter darkness.

Now, as part of New Zealand photographer Charles Brooks’ “Architecture of Music” series, we get a rare glimpse into the inner workings of our melodious tools.

Brooks, a talented orchestral cellist who has performed with Lang Lang and the São Paulo Symphony Orchestra, uses his knowledge of music to create these intimate portraits of instruments.

Using between dozens and hundreds of individual frames to create each photo, Brooks creates the illusion of space in his photos, “tricking the mind into thinking it’s seeing a vast room that you can walk through.”

Read more: 23 Historic Photographs of Classical Composers Doing Incredibly Normal Things

  1. Lockey Hill cello circa 1780

    The interior of a rare Lockey Hill cello from around 1780. Photographed being restored at the Stringed Instrument Company in Auckland, New Zealand.

    Lockey Hill cello circa 1780

    Lockey Hill cello circa 1780.

    Photo: Charles Brooks


  2. The exquisite architecture of Steinway

    The action of a Steinway Model D grand piano. Photographed at Lewis Eady’s in Auckland.

    The exquisite architecture of Steinway, part 1

    The exquisite architecture of Steinway, part 1.

    Photo: Charles Brooks


    The exquisite architecture of Steinway, part 2

    The exquisite architecture of Steinway, part 2.

    Photo: Charles Brooks


    The exquisite architecture of Steinway, part 4

    The exquisite architecture of Steinway, part 4.

    Photo: Charles Brooks


  3. 14 karat gold flute interior

    The inside of a 14k rose gold Burkart Elite flute. Photographed being restored at Neige Music Atelier in New Zealand.

    14 karat gold flute interior

    Flute interior in 14 carat gold.

    Photo: Charles Brooks


  4. 1940s Selmer Balanced Action Saxophone

    The interior of a 1940s Selmer Balanced Action Saxophone owned by famed New Zealand saxophonist Dr. Roger Manins. Photographed during restoration at Neige Music Atelier.

    1940s Selmer Balanced Action Saxophone

    1940s Selmer Balanced Action Saxophone.

    Photo: Charles Brooks


  5. Fazioli grand piano

    The sublime action of a Fazioli grand piano. Photographed at Sly’s Pianos, Auckland.

    Fazioli Grand Piano Part 4

    Fazioli grand piano, part 4.

    Photo: Charles Brooks


    Fazioli Grand Piano Part 2

    Fazioli grand piano, part 2.

    Photo: Charles Brooks


  6. Australian didgeridoo

    A unique view inside an Australian didgeridoo by Trevor Gillespie/Peckham (Bungerroo) of New South Wales.

    Australian didgeridoo

    Australian didgeridoo.

    Photo: Charles Brooks


  7. Kawai grand piano

    The Millennium III action of a Kawai grand piano, KBB Music, Auckland.

    Kawai Grand Piano Part 1

    Kawai Grand Piano Part 1.

    Photo: Charles Brooks


    Kawai Grand Piano Part 2

    Kawai Grand Piano Part 2.

    Photo: Charles Brooks


Find out more in Charles Brooks’ Architecture in Music series on his site.

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