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The Ghost in the Machine

Emily Baines
The Ghost in the Machine

The Ghost in the Machine uncovers the fascinating and little known performance style found in mechanical musical instruments (barrel-organs and organ-clocks) produced in eighteenth-century England. At this time there was a fascination throughout Europe with the mechanical replication of real life. Automata were developed which imitated animals, birds and people (including a live flautist). These were admired (sometimes even feared) for their life-like qualities, and makers of mechanical musical instruments were praised for producing instruments 'with so much delicacy and taste, as to convey a warm idea of the impression which the hand gives on the instrument.'

These mechanical musical instruments are effectively recordings of musical performances which delighted their audiences at the time they were made, but which can prove challenging both to our ears and our ideas about the ways to perform music from this period. They are undoubtedly highly virtuosic to play, and hugely exciting to listen to as they are resurrected after 200+ years.


Angel Centre, Worcester
Angel Centre (Worcester), Angel Place, Worcester, WR1 3QN, United Kingdom

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