Cat Power

April 8th 2006


Athanasius Kircher first described the cat piano in his landmark 1650 work Musurgia Universalis. In order to raise the spirits of an Italian prince burdened by the cares of his position, a musician created a cat piano for him. The musician selected cats whose natural voices were at different pitches and arranged them in cages, side by side, so that when a key on the piano was depressed, a mechanism drove a sharp spike into the appropriate cat's tail. The result was a wondrous melody of meows that became more vigorous as the cats became more and more desperate. Who could not help but laugh at such music? Thus was the prince raised from his melancholy.

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