Musical Glasses, Metal Reeds and Broken Hearts

Two Cases of Melancholia Treated by New Musical Instruments

Authored by: Carmel Raz , Stanley Finger

The Routledge Companion to Music, Mind and Well-Being

Print publication date:  December  2018
Online publication date:  December  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138057760
eBook ISBN: 9781315164717
Adobe ISBN:

10.4324/9781315164717-6

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Abstract

Music, and therefore musical instruments, have been used to treat illnesses since antiquity. In 1761, Benjamin Franklin invented the glass armonica, an instrument he employed for pleasure, but also to treat a distraught Polish princess for melancholia. The aeolodicon, an early harmonium, was invented around 1809, and a few years later Peter Joseph Schneider reported that he had used it to cure a young woman suffering from a similar affliction. These reports of music-based therapeutics are examined here, along with thoughts about why Franklin and Schneider might have selected these newly-invented musical instruments to treat melancholia.

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