Songbook - Music in the Life of Benjamin Franklin
Companion book to recording by David & Ginger Hildebrand and Julianne Baird. Period reproduction instruments including Franklin's glass harmonica are featured on this recording.
The songs and instrumental pieces in this book are those Benjamin Franklin knew and enjoyed during his long and eventful life. Franklin’s musical experiences were extremely varied and comprehensive for his day. Always an advocate for the common folk, Franklin delighted in sentimental Scots songs and broadside ballads. He authored comical texts to be sung as drinking songs. Yet as a diplomat and gentleman he was frequently at the Opera and at concerts in Philadelphia, Paris and London. He was familiar with works by George Frideric Handel, William Hayes, Francis Hopkinson, Anne-Louise Brillon, André Grétry, and Christoph Willibald Gluck.
Ben Franklin’s life was full of music—from the penny whistle which consumed all his Christmas money at age seven to the musical instrument he invented during his diplomatic stay in London. No other instrument brought him so much personal satisfaction as his glass “harmonica.” Franklin found a way to turn wine glasses into a kind of keyboard instrument which became popular throughout Europe for its sweet sounds, especially at weddings and funerals.