February 2018
        1 2 3
4 5 6 7 8 9 10
11 12 13 14 15 16 17
18 19 20 21 22 23 24
25 26 27 28


the legend of the glass harmonica


I've always been utterly fascinated by glass; it seems so magical to me that it can be liquid or solid without losing its beauty. I've also loved music from the time I was old enough to shake my diaper-clad booty to the sounds on the radio. Once I was old enough to reason, I believed that music also had spiritual or magical qualities (from the power it has on a person's mood and the vast amount of people I know who love it so deeply) So it makes perfect sense to me that the one invention that combines the two -- the glass harmonica -- should be surrounded by legend.

The glass harmonica had only a short bit of popularity before the urban legends of the early 19th century killed it. It was said that listening to or playing the instrument would make you insane; the audience had strange experiences, many fainting or being overwhelmed with emotion. After the death of a child during a concert, glass harmonicas were actually banned as a public danger in some places. On the other hand, glass music has recently been embraced by New Age followers -- the strange vibrations deemed so deadly before are now considered healing.

the glass harmonica: overlapping glass cups on a central rod, suspended over a table, with a foot pedal underneath to power the spinning of the rodOne of the reasons for the mystical responses to the instrument may be explained by science. Apparently the brain has two ways of interpreting where and what a sound comes from, decided by the frequency of the sound, and the timbre of the glass harmonica exists mainly in the realm between. The brain has a hard time deciding where the sound is actually coming from. I imagine the subconscious confusion would make some people feel insane, and others feel off-balance in a pleasurable, ethereal way.

I personally find myself slipping into a trance-like state when I listen to glass music. I tend to believe there is some truth to all legends; of glass music, I think it isn't true that it causes you to go mad, but it is true that it has an intensifying effect. Like mind-altering substances, it brings out what's hidden within.


(sample from finkenbeiner.com; artist is William Wilde Zeitler)

LJ idol topic 6: "Urban Legends" ((will add voting link later))


back to top

Comments
Page 1 of 2[1][2]
qulqij ══╣╠══
Absolutely mezmerizing...I am so researching that. I want to hear more and know more. Thank you. (HUGGS)(KISSES)
belenen ══╣glass╠══
awesome! I recommend William Zeitler's music -- http://www.williamzeitler.com/ -- he offers his songs as mp3 downloads, on the honor system! If you like them, you donate. I am very impressed by that, as well as by the gorgeous music he's created.
bornbeautiful ══╣╠══
interesting sound, that.

it was sort of ... entrancing.
belenen ══╣transfixed╠══
yesssssss *swirly eyes*
bornbeautiful ══╣╠══
belenen ══╣╠══
bornbeautiful ══╣╠══
suesniffsglue ══╣╠══
This was an awesome post. And that music! Wow. Fantastic!
belenen ══╣ethereal╠══
Thank you!

and I agree! William Zeitler is officially one of my favorite artists. ;-) http://www.williamzeitler.com -- he offers his songs as mp3 downloads, on the honor system! If you like them, you donate. I am very impressed by that, as well as by the gorgeous music he's created.
mister_smartass ══╣╠══
*goes insane*

:-D
belenen ══╣teasing╠══
haha, I knew you were that sort! >:-D
unnecessary_ ══╣╠══
This is very interesting, especially since I love music and my friends say my heart is made of glass so I've always kind of liked it.

You've inspired me to attempt LJ Idol. lol. I'm trying to figure out when the next sign-up is. :)
roina_arwen ══╣LJ Idol - Gold Star╠══
Probably not for several months - we're still pretty early in this one. :)
belenen ══╣╠══
puppetmaker40 ══╣╠══
That is so interesting. Now I want to go and research if anyone is using them now. I do know I find the sound of cutting glass intollerable and sometimes the playing of the wine glasses puts my teeth on edge.
belenen ══╣hypnotiq╠══
yeah, people are using them now, it's just not too common. ;-) For instance: http://www.williamzeitler.com -- he offers his songs as mp3 downloads, on the honor system! If you like them, you donate. I am very impressed by that, as well as by the gorgeous music he's created.
tempestanima ══╣╠══
This is so ethereal and...exquisite. <3
belenen ══╣ethereal╠══
I agree ♥
roina_arwen ══╣Christmas Angels╠══
Fascinating! And I like the clip, it's very etherial. :)
belenen ══╣ethereal╠══
I agree! ;-)
blood_4_deniro ══╣plotting╠══
i've always loved the sound of the glass harmonica (and harpsichord also). very ethereal and somewhat creepy in the "i'm sitting outside my brain in a trance-like brain fog" kind of way. ive heard of that legend on the history channel a few months ago, it was pretty interesting :)
belenen ══╣ethereal╠══
cool! I can't remember how long ago I heard about it, but I was recently reminded when I picked up a book at the used book store called "The Glass Harmonica" -- AWESOME book, btw!
dragonwine ══╣Ace of hearts╠══
Aural bliss! ♥
belenen ══╣artistic╠══
indeed! if you want more, check out William Zeitler -- http://www.williamzeitler.com -- he offers his songs as mp3 downloads, on the honor system! If you like them, you donate. I am very impressed by that, as well as by the gorgeous music he's created. ♥
sabr ══╣╠══
Dont forget the crystal flute. It has a very haunting sound as well.
belenen ══╣curious╠══
huh! I'm not sure if I have ever heard that! Do you know of / have any music using it?
sabr ══╣╠══
anchasta ══╣╠══
Wonderful! I LOVE glass! The icon is a mosaic I've made. :)

The music is haunting and intense - I'd love to hear one played in person.
belenen ══╣artistic╠══
oooh, wonderful! I should try my hand at mosaics sometime.

me too! I reeeeeeeally want to experience that! ♥
mme_furiosa ══╣╠══
I love the glass harmonica! It has the most beautiful, haunting sound ever!
belenen ══╣ethereal╠══
I agree! ♥

William Zeitler is officially one of my favorite artists. ;-) http://www.williamzeitler.com -- he offers his songs as mp3 downloads, on the honor system! If you like them, you donate. I am very impressed by that, as well as by the gorgeous music he's created. Check it out!
n_decisive ══╣╠══
Wow- that IS haunting music!

I'd never even heard of a glass harmonica, let alone the legend. You did a great job of telling the story. :)
belenen ══╣glass╠══
thank you so much! I was really at a loss on this topic until I remembered this.

Glad you liked!
lttledvl ══╣╠══
I've heard of people playing crystal bowls and that stuff is pretty cool.

Nice work!
belenen ══╣beautiful╠══
yeah it is!

thanks! :D
Page 1 of 2[1][2]
on communication, social justice, intimacy, consent, friendship & other relationships, spirituality, gender, queerness, & dreams. Expect to find curse words, nudity, (occasionally explicit) talk of sex, and angry ranting, but NEVER slurs or sexually violent language. I use TW when I am aware of the need and on request.
Expect to find curse words, nudity, (occasionally explicit) talk of sex, and angry ranting, but NEVER slurs or sexually violent language. I use TW when I am aware of the need and on request.