My hard drive has crashed, so I'm afraid this blog will be on hold for a bit. Check back in a few weeks. The Singing Hand will make a comeback.
Seasons Greetings from Me to You
10 years ago
The Instrumental Fringe
These Musical Stones were gathered from the Cumberland Mountains of England by Mr. William Till, now residing in Bayonne, N.J. Mr. Till for many years explored the Palaeozoic rocks of the Cumberland Mountains and at length found a series, which, when struck, produce musical sounds. The Rocks are Gneiss and Hornblende Schist. Mr. Till commenced to collect these stones by way of amusement, and by the end of the year he had gathered enough to form an instrument of an octave and a half on which simple airs could be played. The idea of a perfect instrument followed as a natural sequence. Mr. William Till assisted by his father continued to work on it and devoted many years in completing the instrument, which is now in the possession of Mr. Till.
After several turns around the room, Mr. Mesmer unbuttoned the patient's shirt and, moving back somewhat, placed his finger against the part affected. My friend felt a tickling pain. Mr. Mesmer then moved his finger perpendicularly across his abdomen and chest, and the pain followed the finger exactly. He then asked the patient to extend his index finger and pointed his own finger toward it at a distance of three or four steps, whereupon my friend felt an electric tingling at the tip of his finger, which penetrated the whole finger toward the palm. Mr. Mesmer then seated him near the armonica; he had hardly begun to play when my friend was affected emotionally, trembled, lost his breath, changed color, and felt pulled toward the floor. In this state of anxiety, Mr. Mesmer placed him on a couch so that he was in less danger of falling, and he brought in a maid who he said was antimagnetic. When her hand approached my friend's chest, everything stopped with lightning speed, and my colleague touched and examined his stomach with astonishment…. The sharp pain had suddenly ceased. Mr. Mesmer told us that a dog or a cat would have stopped the pain as well as the maid did.
One example of fear from playing the glass harmonica was noted by a German musicologist Friedrich Rochlitz in Allgemeine Musikalische Zeitung where it is stated that "the armonica excessively stimulates the nerves, plunges the player into a nagging depression and hence into a dark and melancholy mood that is apt method for slow self-annihilation. If you are suffering from any nervous disorder, you should not play it; if you are not yet ill you should not play it; if you are feeling melancholy you should not play it."