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MMD > Archives > May 2000 > 2000.05.18 > 02Prev  Next


Scientific Musical Instrument Challenge & Glass Harmonica
By Julian Dyer

Robbie asked:

>[ But why is Ben Franklin's 'Armonica' considered scientific?

The "Local Heroes" program said it was invented after Franklin saw
someone playing on a set of tuned wine glasses, and thought that the
continuous circling motion this required was an impediment to the music
-- so he turned the glasses instead.  What we would call lateral
thinking these days.

Also consider: Nesting the glass sections along the axis brought them
closer together so chords could be played using the same fingering as a
normal keyboard.  I also guess that using tuned glass discs eliminated
the filling up of glasses with various amount of water, so the
instrument was more practical.

I would say that this is clearly the application of a scientific mind
to a practical problem!  The trite answer to the question is that the
instrument was invented by a scientist which in some minds at least
would make it scientific!

Julian Dyer


(Message sent Thu 18 May 2000, 09:14:37 GMT, from time zone GMT+0100.)

Key Words in Subject:  Challenge, Glass, Harmonica, Instrument, Musical, Scientific

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