The sound of glass harp

Hi sisters and brothers,

This is the sound of glass harp.

The glass harp, also known as “musical glasses”, is a musical instrument invented in 1741 by Irishman Richard Pockrich. It consists in a set of stemware glasses tuned by adding a precise amount of water and played by rubbing moistened fingers around the rims. Wine glass music has evolved ever since, specially with the invention of the glass harmonica (armonica) by Benjamin Franklin.

Listening to the glass harp, I remember my Prayer 484. Truly, the sound is already available in a glass. So when meeting good conditions, the sound will reveal.

Enjoy and have a nice day.



1. Canon in D major – Robert Tiso

This is one of the greatest hits in the classical world which was composed in the 1680’s by Johann Pachelbel.

Pachelbel’s Canon, also known as Canon in D major (PWC 37, T. 337, PC 358), is the most famous piece of music by German Baroque composer Johann Pachelbel. It was originally scored for three violins and basso continuo and paired with a gigue in the same key.

Like most other works by Pachelbel and other pre-1700 composers, the Canon remained forgotten for centuries and was rediscovered only in the 20th century. Several decades after it was first published in 1919, the piece became extremely popular, and today it is frequently played at weddings and included on classical music compilations, along with other famous Baroque pieces such as Air on the G String by Johann Sebastian Bach.


2. Dance of the sugar plum fairy – Robert Tiso.

The “Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy” is one of the most famous numbers in the Tschiakovski-Petipa ballet The Nutcracker.

It was originally written for glass harmonica, soon changed with the celesta. This instrument was new at the time the dance was written. It looks like a small piano, but it sounds like bells.

Tchaikovsky discovered the celesta in Paris in 1891 while making a journey to the United States. His publisher purchased one and promised to keep the purchase a secret. Tchaikovsky did not want Rimsky-Korsakov or Glazunov to “get wind of it and … use it for unusual (different, strange) effects before me.”

Petipa wanted the Sugar Plum Fairy’s music to sound like drops of water splashing in a fountain. Tchaikovsky thought the celesta was the instrument to do this.

The original steps for the dance are unknown. Antonietta Dell’Era was the first to dance the part of the Sugar Plum Fairy. The character has very little dancing to do so Dell’Era put a gavotte by Alphonse Czibulka into the ballet. She then had something more to do.


3. Für Elise by Ludwig Van Beethoven – Robert Tiso

Für Elise by Ludwig Van Beethoven.

The score was not published until 1867, 40 years after the composer’s death. The discoverer of the piece, Ludwig Nohl, affirmed that the original autographed manuscript was dated 27 April. This manuscript has been lost. It is not certain who “Elise” was.

Max Unger suggested that Ludwig Nohl may have transcribed the title incorrectly and the original work may have been named “Für Therese”, a reference to Therese Malfatti von Rohrenbach zu Dezza (1792–1851). She was a friend and student of Beethoven’s to whom he proposed in 1810, though she turned him down to marry the Austrian nobleman and state official Wilhelm von Droßdik in 1816.

According to a recent study by Klaus Martin Kopitz, there is flimsy evidence that the piece was written for the German soprano singer Elisabeth Röckel (1793–1883), later the wife of Johann Nepomuk Hummel. “Elise”, as she was called by a parish priest (she always called herself “Betty”), had been a friend of Beethoven’s since 1808. In the meantime it has been proven that Rudolf Schachner, who in 1851 inherited Therese von Droßdik’s musical scores, was a relative of Babette Bredl who in 1865 let Nohl copy the autograph in her possession. Thus Kopitz’s hypothesis is definitely refuted.

The pianist and musicologist Luca Chiantore argued in his doctoral thesis and his recent book “Beethoven al piano” that Beethoven might not have been the person who gave the piece the form that we know today.

Chiantore suggested that the original signed manuscript, upon which Ludwig Nohl claimed to base his transcription, may never have existed.

On the other hand, the musicologist Barry Cooper stated, in a 1984 essay in the Musical Times, that one of two surviving sketches closely resembles the published version. It has also been suggested that Elise simply refers to a term at this point in history which simply meant ‘sweetheart’, therefore suggesting this piece was written for Elise (Theresa Malfatti).

4. Toccata and fugue in D minor-Bach-BWV 565 – Robert Tiso

Toccata and fugue in D minor-Bach-BWV 565.

A theory has recently (1981) been put forth that J. S. Bach did not write this piece. A brief summary of the supporting evidence for this theory can be read here (wikipedia) .

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