Etude Indigo

By Alan B. Combs with commentary by Bob Levi

Tiny amounts of cobalt added to glass during the manufacturing process produce a deep, rich azure color. This art of glass coloration has been known since antiquity. However, a new characteristic of cobalt glass was discovered by musicians living in the Appalachian hills of Kentucky. Cups made of cobalt glass would ring with beautifully sustained tones when stroked or tapped. Bigger cups would resonate with low tones and the smaller ones would sound higher pitches. Entire musical ensembles were organized around this sound.

Thus, my children, was born the characteristic blueglass music of Kentucky.

Bob Levi responded with the following observation:

I met a Japanese once who told me that his favorite music was “blueglass.” I kept insisting that it was called “bluegrass.” He responded by telling me that I was right and it was “blueglass.”. Back and forth we went. It sounded like Abbott & Costello’s “Who’s on First” routine.

Now I know that he was correct. Thanks for clarifying this for me.

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