After seeing people make musical tones by rubbing their wet fingers around the rim of a wine glass, Benjamin Franklin invented the glass armonica in 1761. Today, there are very few glass armonica players. Chris Funk of the Decemberists went to visit one of them.
Dean Shostak is one of last true masters capable of playing the glass armonica – an enchanting instrument lost to time. First devised in 1761 by Benjamin Franklin, the art of "playing glass" began to fade in popularity as musical fashions changed. Today, there are only eight glass armonica players left in the world. Along with the revival of the armonica, Shostak is also reintroducing an entire family of glass instruments, including the glass violin, the crystal hand bells and the French Cristal baschet.