Music

Composer wets his fingers, plays beautiful and haunting songs on unique “glass harmonica”

November 7th, 2019

Do you have a favorite instrument?

For some people, the sounds of an electric guitar are what really do it for them. Others prefer acoustic music and the feeling it brings to folk genres, for example. Still, for the most part, people will name something from a fairly narrow range of instruments and sounds.

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pxhere.com Source: pxhere.com

Though there are already plenty of different kinds of music, most people don’t realize just how vast the possibilities of music really are. Aside from the ones we’re used to, there are plenty of other potential instruments in the world.

And the one we’re talking about today is particularly interesting.

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flickr.com/mikecogh Source: flickr.com/mikecogh

Have you ever seen someone on the street play water glasses?

For those who haven’t, it basically consists of someone with a tray of glasses that have varying levels of water in them. After that, they wet their fingers and carefully rub the rims of the glasses to make all kinds of different notes, kind of like playing piano.

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needpix.com Source: needpix.com

Although this is definitely cool to see, it’s a bit inconvenient to tune all the glasses and to carry around so much equipment all the time. As it turns out, Benjamin Franklin actually invented something to do away with all that.

His answer to that invention was the armonica—and it sounds and looks incredible!

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YouTube/Toronto Star Source: YouTube/Toronto Star

In essence, the armonica is a glass harmonica or a glass piano.

The way it works is that a bunch of custom-blown wine glasses are nested within one another and mounted on a pole that spins slowly.

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YouTube Screenshot Source: YouTube Screenshot

To play it, you simply keep a small bowl of water nearby and carefully rub the rims of each glass as you normally would. Still, this way keeps all of the notes close enough to one another that you can easily play all kinds of chords and melodies at once!

In this video, the composer William Zeitler shows just beautiful the instrument can be when played correctly.

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YouTube Screenshot Source: YouTube Screenshot

As the clip begins, Zeitler explains that he’ll be playing a part of “Lucia di Lammermoor,” an opera.

Just as Zeitler described, the device spins on its own and he simply lays his hands over the top edges. As if by magic, incredibly haunting sounds come out of it.

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YouTube Screenshot Source: YouTube Screenshot

Still, what many people don’t know is that the music he’s playing was actually purposely written for the instrument! After he’s done with that, Zeitler starts to play another snippet of music composed for the armonica, this time written by Mozart!

As with the first performance, the sound is otherworldly and so very beautiful.

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YouTube Screenshot Source: YouTube Screenshot

Although you’re not likely to see one of these armonicas lying around anywhere, it’s still great to appreciate how beautiful it is.

What’s shocking is that this instrument has been around since the 1700s and yet we don’t know about it! Even so, it stands as a testament to just how creative human beings can be.

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YouTube Screenshot Source: YouTube Screenshot

It’s true even if we can’t all be quite as creative as Benjamin Franklin was! If nothing else, this video has encouraged us to get out wine glasses, fill them up with water and put on our own concert.

Special thanks to William Zeitler for introducing the world to such an awesome instrument! Be sure to watch the full clip in the video below:

Please SHARE this with your friends and family.

Source: YouTube/Toronto Star

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