Although Benjamin Franklin was an American and therefore not part of my usual Regency geekiness, I have to admire his brilliance. It seems every few years I learn of another invention of his. This time, I discovered that he invented an unusual musical instrument called the “glass armonica.” No, it’s nothing like a harmonica–it’s more like playing wine glasses with a wet finger, only these glasses are on their sides, all attached, and the glass does the spinning.
According to http://www.glassarmonica.com/ Franklin originally named his invention the ‘glassychord’, but changed it to “armonica” after the Italian word for harmony. The Armonica hit the musical scene in London in 1762, launched a tour of Europe, and captured the interest of both Mozart and Beethoven who wrote pieces to be played on this unusual glass instrument.
Below is a fascinating YouTube video of “Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy” on the Glass Armonica played by William Zeitler who is one of few musicians who have mastered playing this unusual instrument. It love the magical, almost ethereal notes of the glass armonica and hope you find this a fitting way to kick off a magical Christmas Season.