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Play It Loud: the Instruments of Rock & Roll: Home

Play It Loud: the Instruments of Rock & Roll

One of the most important artistic movements in modern times, rock & roll was and continues to be a seismic influence that has reverberated across culture and society — affecting fashion, the visual arts, racial and sexual politics and free speech. 
This exhibition explores the musical function, visual presentation and cultural importance of the instruments of rock. Instruments are as visual as they are sonic – from the freedom of movement afforded by electric guitars and the attention-grabbing quality of decorated or iconic instruments to the set-design framework provided by large drum kits and keyboard rigs. Instruments are often a musician’s most personal and beloved items, providing the means to express their art and serving as an extension of their identity. 
Rebellious and unpredictable, rock & roll has inspired generations of music lovers to pick up their own instruments and contribute to rock’s continuous momentum. The instruments and artists featured here are a small sample of those who have inspired and thrilled audiences over the last seven decades. Together, they tell stories of the deep connections between rock instruments, musicians and their audiences.


Exhibit Companion Books

Rock's Backpages Articles

Free articles are available on Rock's Back Pages through the Free on RBP link. The articles below may require you to be on-site at the Library & Archives in order to read them.

Additional Books

Spotify Playlist

YouTube Video

Archival Resources

Listed below are notable collections and items from the Rock Hall's Archives. You can find more by searching our catalog here.

Rock & Roll Hall of Fame | Library & Archives
2809 Woodland Avenue | Cleveland, OH 44115 | 216.515.1956 |