Benjamin Franklin's Glass Harmonica Bowls

Last Revised: Tuesday, October 2, 2012


Benjamin Franklin ?? huh what has he got to do with sound n glass armonica

Aint he the electricity guy? Yup you are Right!

He is the guy who flew a kite in the storm. Well I will not go into detail about the little experiment he did, if you are interested you can click on this link Ben Franklin Kite flying Story. (PS:probably this is how he invented the lighting rod)

So what has this thunder guy got to do with music? Did he made the musical tesla? Of course not.
But he is the guy who invented The Glass Harmonica.

It all begins when Franklin attended a concert whereby musician played melodies using wine glasses a.k.a glass harp.

Knowing that tuning identical wine glass with water requires much dexterity why not do away with it. Franklin uses different sizes of glass bowls instead.

When in 1761 at the age of 55 he made the glass harmonica. Such elegance of thought he have put in.
Not only can a musician play complex cords in addition to single note
melody, the glass bowls are rotated rather than the musician rotating their fingers on the glasses. Smart eh. Playing glass harmonica still requires some water on the finger to create the stick slip effect .

There are different ways of how armonica are rotated. Turned manually by assistant's hand, foot powered spindle and now electric motor.

By the way the 3 great classical composer Beethoven, Mozart & Haydn have made compositions for this instrument.

Lets talk abit about the sound. Is crystal & somewhat mysterious. Lets listen to it!
Below is a piece composed by Mozart

somehow it reminds me of harry potter theme. Just to let you know the original harry potter intro, a celesta was used instead.

Aww .Cant find any video of harry potter theme played on glass harmonica but you'll get the same feel with glass harp.

Durian Opened by Simon Ooh

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