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This Author: Corey Mead
This Narrator: Paul Boehmer
This Publisher: Tantor Audio

Angelic Music: The Story of Benjamin Franklin's Glass Armonica by Corey Mead

Angelic Music: The Story of Benjamin Franklin's Glass Armonica

by Corey Mead

Title Details

Unabridged Edition
Running Time
4 Hrs. 21 Min.


Benjamin Franklin is renowned for his landmark inventions, including bifocals, the Franklin stove, and the lightning rod. Yet his own favorite invention is unknown to the general public. The glass armonica, the first musical instrument invented by an American, was constructed of stacked glass bowls and played by rubbing one's fingers on the rims. It was so popular in the late 18th and early 19th centuries that Mozart, Beethoven, Handel, and Strauss composed for it.

In Angelic Music, Corey Mead describes how Franklin's instrument fell out of popular favor, partly due to claims that its haunting sounds could drive musicians out of their minds. Some players fell ill, complaining of nervousness, muscle spasms, and cramps. Audiences were susceptible; a child died during a performance in Germany. Some thought its ethereal tones summoned spirits or had magical powers. It was banned in some places. Yet in recent years, the armonica has enjoyed a revival. Composers are writing pieces for it in genres ranging from chamber music and opera to electronic and pop music. Now Mead brings this instrument back to the public eye, telling the compelling, fascinating story of its origins.

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More Details

  • Published: October 2016
  • LearnOutLoud.com Product ID: A101765
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