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Glass Armonica Installed

A glass armonica created by 2010 Cartouche Recipient Steve Lash has been installed in the Benjamin Franklin Museum.

The armonica was invented by Benjamin Franklin in 1761. It had its world premier in 1762. 

The armonica produces sounds when the performer touches the rims of bowls with water-moistened fingers. On Steve's instrument, gold rims on bowls correspond to the 'black keys' on the piano, and plain rims correspond to the 'white keys'.

The armonica was especially popular in Germany. Mozart wrote two works for it (a solo armonica piece, and a quintet for armonica, flute, oboe, viola and cello) and Beethoven wrote a piece (for amonica and narrator).  In 1887, French composer Camille Saint-Saëns used the instrument in his The Carnival of the Animals (movements 7 and 14). At least 200 pieces for armonica are known to have been composed.

Steve described the creation of his armonica in the 2001 edition of American Period Furniture.

The armonica is also listed in the SAPFM Members Gallery.

Thomas Bloch performed Steve's armonica in 2008 on the show Scientific American Frontiers.