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Rare Musical Performance at iPLEX Lunch

Posted on May 8, 2012 in News

At last week’s iPLEX lunch, we were treated to a special talk by Maarten Roos of Lightcurve Films. Maarten, who is an astrophysicist turned professional science filmmaker, described his transition from working behind the telescope to behind the camera, and demonstrated his use of film as a tool for educating and informing the public about science.

As a bonus to this multimedia presentation, we also had the opportunity to see Maarten’s composer, William Zeitler, play one of the most rare and least heard musical instruments in the world. The glass armonica  was invented by Benjamin Franklin in 1761, after hearing music played by rubbing the rims of wine glasses (“Being charmed by the sweetness of its tones…I wished only to see the glasses disposed in a more convenenient form”).  It is one of the world’s “endangered musical instruments”, with only a handful of modern-day musicians able to play it. A video of William’s performance is linked below.

William Zeitler assembles the wooden base of his "Glass Armonica"

Need for amplification is one of the reasons why the glass armonica went out of fashion in the early 19th century