January 17, 2006
Reality is created by harmonics in motion and frequency. Today is the 300th anniversary of the birth of one of American's Founding Fathers, Ben Franklin who was interested in science and technology.
Among his inventions was the glass harmonica. When Benjamin Franklin invented the instrument, he called it the "armonica," based on the Italian word "armonia," which means "harmony." Over the years Franklin's name for the instrument has been commonly corrupted to "glass harmonica."
There is something about the tinkling tones of the glass that lingers in my mind. When I read about the glass harmonica, I couldn't help but connect with crystal singing bowls to create harmonics for healing, meditation, etc.
Because its sounding portion is made of glass, the glass harmonica is a crystallophone. Sets of glasses struck with sticks as a percussion instrument have existed since ancient times. The phenomenon of rubbing a wet finger around the rim of a wine goblet to make it sing is documented back to Renaissance times; Galileo considered the phenomenon (in his Two New Sciences), as did Athanasius Kircher.
The Irish musician Richard Puckeridge is typically credited as the first to play a set of such glasses by rubbing his fingers around the rims; although it is not entirely certain he was the first, he certainly popularized it. Beginning in the 1740s, he performed in London on a set of upright goblets filled with varying amounts of water. During the same decade, Christoph Willibald Gluck also attracted attention performing in England on a similar instrument.
Benjamin Franklin invented a radically new arrangement of the glasses in 1761 after seeing water-filled wine glasses played by William Deleval. (By this time Puckeridge and his instrument both had perished in a fire.) Franklin, who called his invention the "armonica" after the Italian word for harmony, worked with London glassblower Charles James to build one, and it had its world premiere in January of 1762, played by Marianne Davies.
In Franklin's version, the bowls were mounted nested on a horizontal spindle and the whole spindle turned by means of a foot-operated treadle. The sound was produced by rubbing the rims of the bowls with moistened fingers. With the Franklin design it is possible to play ten glasses simultaneously if desired, a technique that is very difficult if not impossible to execute using upright goblets. Franklin also advocated the use of a small amount of powdered chalk on the fingers which helped produce a clear tone in the same way rosin is applied the bows of string instruments.
Some 18th and 19th century specimens of the armonica survive into the 21st century. Franz Mesmer also played the armonica and used it as an integral part of his Mesmerism.
Mozart, Beethoven, Donizetti, Richard Strauss and Camille Saint-Sa‘ns all composed works for the glass harmonica. European monarchs indulged in it, and even Marie Antoinette had taken lessons on it.
The glass armonica was re-invented by a German glassblower and musician, Gerhard B. Finkenbeiner (1930-1999) in 1984. After thirty years of experimentation, Finkenbeiner's prototype consist of clear glasses and glasses with gold bands. Those with gold bands indicate the equivalent of the black keys on the piano. G. Finkenbeiner Inc., of Waltham, Massachusetts, continues to produce these prototypes.
Ben Franklin, like most other inventors, had a curious mind and loved to create. On the anniversary of his 300th birthday ...
Many people believe, or have been guided to believe, that they will find their answers this year. This is the year of great ideas and interconnections.
Deja vu increases as your 'soul aspects' attract each other this year.
Beyond synchronicity ... "I understand how and why I created this situation ... " that is The Secret.
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