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date: 27 February 2020

Glasschord [glass chord, glassichord]locked

  • Howard Schott

Extract

[glass chord, glassichord]

The name said to have been given by Benjamin Franklin to the fortepiano à cordes de verre, a crystallophone invented by one Beyer of Paris c1785. The instrument consisted of a series of glass bars with a three-octave compass, variously given as c to c‴, f to f‴ and g to g‴, laid horizontally on a thick cloth strip and struck from above by small wooden cloth-covered hammers controlled by a keyboard. There were no dampers. Similar instruments were produced by other makers well into the following century, including Chappell’s Pianino. The musical uses of the glasschord, difficult to specify precisely, probably involved giving the pitch to choirs and perhaps assisting amateurs in tuning pianos in an age when they were less stable and professional tuners less available. The term is occasionally applied to the armonica (see Musical glasses), invented by Benjamin Franklin in 1761.

C. Sachs...

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