Here’s a fun addition to my A Yuletide Kiss story. To enhance the Christmas Eve celebration at the inn where he and the others are snowbound, Juncker plays an angelic organ, also known as a glass harp. The instrument was well-known by the time of the Regency, and consisted of several glasses (Juncker uses wine glasses) filled to different heights, so that when the harpist wets his finger and rubs it around the rims of the various glasses, it makes music (angelic music, I gather). Interestingly enough, the Brit who first mastered the instrument—an Irishman named Richard Pockrich—played his with sticks, which I would imagine created a slightly different sound. He played Handel’s “Water Music” on it (pun intended, ha ha)! Juncker settles for using his fingers. He doesn’t know how to put the sounds together to play actual songs, but he figures the melodious, random ringing will add to the festive air. And it does!
You probably know that “Auld Lang Syne” was written by Scottish poet Robert Burns, but you may not know that he was taking some of it from an older folk song. He’s the one who retooled it into its current version and popularized it in Scotland, and then, once he had it published, in England. Regency revelers sang his poem on New Year’s Eve just as we do, although it may not have been sung to the same tune. Still, it’s amazing how far back the sentiments go. One precursor to his poem that uses similar verses was published in 1711!