Haunting Sounds from a Nearly Forgotten Instrument
The glass armonica is one of Benjamin Franklin’s many contributions to the world.
The armonica’s short-lived popularity (1760-1820s) is perhaps partly due to a series of unfortunate events and suspicion.
The vibrations were described as ethereal and captured the imagination of many composers, most notably Beethoven and Mozart. However, several unexplained reports of musicians becoming ill with nausea and dizziness while playing the device combined with the death of a child during a concert led to the banning of the instrument in some areas.
The Franklin Institute. Benjamin Franklin’s Glass Armonica. Accessed January 2021.