J.B. Schalkenbach’s electric music

Schalkenbach

In the 1860s Johann Baptist Schalkenbach developed a music hall act in which he performed on an amalgamation of instruments, built around a reed harmonium, which he called the Piano-Orchestre Électro-Moteur.

While playing, Schalkenbach would simultaneously create musical, noise, and optical effects via the electromagnetic triggering of circuits connected to objects placed around the hall.  Over the decades, the apparatus gradually became more and more spectacular as new features were added.

An early review states that Schalkenbach’s act received much applause, but “we fancy it would have gained still greater favour but for [his] singular resemblance to the Great German Chancellor Prince Bismarck, which did not quite please some of the audience.”

This according to “‘Electric music’ on the Victorian stage: The forgotten work of J.B. Schalkenbach” by Daniel Wilson (Leonardo music journal XXIII [2013] pp. 79–85). We are indebted to the author’s blog post for information and images.

Related articles:

Enhanced by Zemanta

1 Comment

Filed under Curiosities

One response to “J.B. Schalkenbach’s electric music

  1. Reblogged this on Cultural Organology and commented:
    There are certainly some interesting creations here!!

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s