Definition of glass harmonica in US English:

glass harmonica


  • A musical instrument in which the sound is made by a row of rotating, concentric glass bowls, kept moist and pressed with the fingers or with keys. It was invented in 1761 by Benjamin Franklin and was popular until about 1830.

    • ‘One of the most enjoyable aspects of this disc is that both films feature a period soundtrack, ranging from opera to the forgotten sounds of the glass harmonica.’
    • ‘Introduction opens with a single synthesized flute, others gradually joining to create a sound reminiscent of the glass harmonica.’
    • ‘A co-worker was researching glass harmonicas (invented by Benjamin Franklin) and discovered the website for an actual manufacturer of the instrument.’
    • ‘The aquarium shimmers with life, and a glass harmonica adds a reflective sheen to the tank (Saint-Saëns actually just asked for harmonica, and no-one seems quite sure what precisely he meant).’
    • ‘Gluck learnt to play the violin and keyboard instruments, but his later appearances as a virtuoso were on the glass harmonica.’