Monday, August 20, 2007

Ben Franklin's inventions

I haven't done a lot of the tourist activities in Philadelphia yet because when I visit, I usually am just hanging out with my friends...who all saw the tourist stuff together when they moved here after college.

This weekend I had the chance to do the tourist thing because I had a friend in town. We went to the Liberty Bell and the visitor's center, but missed Independence Hall...again. When you visit Philadelphia, make sure to go to the visitor's center early in the morning to get your (free) tickets for the hall, cause they apparently go by lunchtime.

In the visitor's center, we learned more about Ben Franklin and some of his inventions, including this cool instrument called an Armonica. It's basically like playing wine glasses, a la Sandra Bullock in Miss Congeniality, but in a way that you can play multiple glasses at once. He essentially cut off the stems of different-size glasses, put the glasses sideways, strung with a cork rod and motorized the whole thing so a musician could play chords.

Anyway, since we couldn't do much more in the Mall area, my friend and I went for a walk towards the river. We passed the First Quaker Meetinghouse and, looking inside the large windows, I saw a lady playing an armonica!

It was the last 15 minutes of an hour and a half concert, but it was really amazing. I didn't have my camera, only a cell phone, but I did manage to take a 15-second video on it:

(That's a bit from Vivaldi's Four Seasons, in case you didn't recognized it. I should've taped the more recognizable bit!)

The Armonica, the musician informed us, fell out of favor because people believed it led to madness, after a man used it to hypnotize people.

I think I'm going to have to make sure to catch the full concert on my next trip to Philadelphia.

1 comment:

Doctor Rick said...

This looks cool. Where can you buy one of those things?