I run across some pretty curious things while doing research. Sometimes they make it into my books and sometimes they don’t. Today I want to take a look at one object that I haven’t been able to work into a story, at least so far: the Glass Armonica.
|Benjamin Franklin playing the Glass Armonica|
Franklin called his instrument the Glass Armonica, after the Italian word for harmony. He took it with him when he went to France during the American Revolution to lobby for the French to enter the war on the side of the Americans. The Armonica became a huge hit in both France and England. Queen Marie Antoinette took lessons. The famous hypnotist, Dr. Franz Mesmer, used the instrument to put his patients into a deeper trance. Composers including Mozart, Beethoven, Donizetti, Haydn, Richard Strauss, and many others wrote music for it. Paganini called its music “a celestial voice,” and Thomas Jefferson thought it “the greatest gift offered to the musical world of this century.”
Watch this brief video about the Armonica to see how it is played and how it sounds. There are lots of other videos of the Armonica on YouTube that you might want to check out too.
What do you think of the instrument? Personally, I think the sounds are lovely and ethereal. Do you like it, or do you think it’s creepy? Does it sound like something that would drive you mad? Would you like to learn to play one? Please share your thoughts!
~~~J. M. Hochstetler is the daughter of Mennonite farmers and a lifelong student of history. She is also an author, editor, and publisher. Her American Patriot Series is the only comprehensive historical fiction series on the American Revolution. Book 6, Refiner’s Fire, releases in April 2019. Northkill, Book 1 of the Northkill Amish Series coauthored with Bob Hostetler, won Foreword Magazine’s 2014 Indie Book of the Year Bronze Award for historical fiction. Book 2, The Return, received the 2017 Interviews and Reviews Silver Award for Historical Fiction and was named one of Shelf Unbound’s 2018 Notable Indie Books. One Holy Night, a contemporary retelling of the Christmas story, was the Christian Small Publishers 2009 Book of the Year and a finalist in the Carol Award.