TITLE: The Glass Harmonica
AUTHOR: Louise Marley
IS THIS SF?
YES—a bit in the future (2018) advances in medical technology, transportation, large-scale live-stream broadcasting. concert-hall projections and sound manipulation as a kind of medical therapy.
There are two young women who play the glass harmonica, Eilish (early teens?) who works with Benjamin Franklin in developing and promoting the instrument in London, 1760s, and Erin (mid-20s?) who plays a modern version of the instrument professionally to much acclaim, often playing compositions by her brother in the U.S. and England, 2018. In the 1760s Eilish goes mad and dies, most likely due to lead poisoning. She then ‘haunts’ the Erin, who then tries to figure out who the girl from the 1760s was. At the same time, Erin’s brother Charlie, tries to cure his paralyzed legs via new aural therapy, where patients align psycho-acoustic beats to stimulate the body to rejuvenate damaged nerves.
REALLY A MUSICIAN?
YES, great musical descriptions regarding technique, dynamics, harmonies, ensemble skills, tempi, etc., mostly though Erin’s narrative. Eilish has a good memory for tunes, advises Franklin regarding intonation, and also teaches a professional harpsichordist how to play the glass harmonica.
WHY A MUSICIAN?
It’s all about the vibrations, stupid. They account for the glass harmonica ethereal tone, (which was long rumored to drive people to madness if exposed to it for too long), how Eilish is able to haunt Erin, and how Charlie is eventually able to heal. Plus being a musician opens differing doors for each of the protagonists—Eilish goes from being a impoverished waif to a respected member of Franklin’s household, while Erin can fly across the Atlantic at will, get access to different concert halls and gets a chance to play what we suppose if Eilish’s instrument though it is part of a museum exhibit.
YES, though listed in my library as “Young-Adult” this was quite an engaging read, well-written, well-aced, well-researched