Saturday, April 07, 2007

Roll Over, Ben Franklin...

Here is Benjamin Franklin, the American renaissance man, performing on an ingenious musical instrument of his own design, the Glass Armonica. It is a series of tuned glass bowls of various sizes that are rotated on a horizontal spindle by a foot-powered treadle. One plays it with moistened fingertips, of course. Mozart reportedly composed two works specifically for this instrument, and there are people who still perform on them today.

This is one of the many wonderful and bizarre instruments from the gallery at

Most of the instruments featured, including the Glass Armonica, have audio files to listen to as well.

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