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New Book: Musical Gematria

I’ve just completed a book on ‘musical gematria’ — near as I can tell, the first on the topic. And what might ‘musical gematria’ be, you ask? My blurb from the back cover explains:

Musical Gematria In modern times we are accustomed to one set of characters for writing words (the alphabet ‘A’ through ‘Z’) and another for writing numbers (the digits ‘0’ through ‘9’). The ancient Greeks and Hebrews, however, used the alphabet for both words and numbers. So their numbers looked like strange words, and their words looked like strange numbers. And every word naturally had a numeric value. The study of these numeric values of words is called ‘gematria’ (”geh-MAY-tree-uh”).

The ancients put gematria to use: they apparently used numeric values of the names of Greek gods as dimensions in the Parthenon. And Jewish mystics in the Middle Ages studied the meanings of the numeric values of the Hebrew names of God.

This book presents a way of doing ‘musical gematria’ that takes words or phrases in general and names in particular, and generates graceful and musically useful themes. It uses an elegant method that honors the ancient traditions of gematria while incorporating modern insights.

ISBN: 978-1-940630-02-1
40 pages. $US 9.95.

You can order it from Amazon (Click here)

Or, if you order it directly from me I can autograph it for you. (Click here).

Glass Armonica News: ‘Serene Universe’ is in the news!

Portugal has a TV channel called RTP1 — essentially their BBC, and one of the most watched channels in the country. On their Sunday morning program “Bom dia Portugal” (“Good morning Portugal”) on October 20, the host Miguel Gonçalves gave a glowing 3-minute review of Serene Universe — a DVD for which I did the film score. Miguel Gonçalves is also the National Coordinator of the Planetary Society for Portugal

Right-click here to download pictures. To help protect your privacy, Outlook prevented automatic download of this picture from the Internet. Serene Universe is a DVD consisting of magnificent high definition photos from space, starting with Earth and making you to the edges of the Universe. William composed the orchestral soundtrack that accompanies these extraordinary images.

You can see the RTP1 review on YouTube (Portuguese with English subtitles):

Link to Serene Universe review on Portugal’s RTP1 on YouTube

Serene Universe is also being screened at the Science Exchange as part of the 2014 Adelaide Fringe festival, one of the largest arts festivals in Australia. Every year they program a series of performances and films to engage people in science, and next spring Serene Universe will screened three times. Their website is, although nothing about Serene Universe is on their website as of this blog.

More about Serene Universe itself, and how to get the DVD and/or Video on Demand version, can be found here:

And Serene Universe has its own Facebook page.

NEW BOOK: The Glass Armonica – the Music and the Madness

I’ve just completed the first book on the history of the glass armonica after 14 years of researching and writing it. The story of the armonica turned out to be far more extraordinary than I ever could have imagined!

Here’s the blurb from the back cover:

The Glass Armonica - the Music & the Madness The glass armonica is a musical instrument invented by Benjamin Franklin in 1761. It works on the wet finger around the wine glass idea. Very popular in Europe, even Mozart and Beethoven composed for it.
But almost immediately it developed an uncanny reputation for both Good and for Ill: Franz Mesmer used his armonica to ‘mesmerize’ his patients, while others said it caused nervous disorders and even convulsions in your pets.  Yet, glass music in general and the glass armonica in particular also seem to have attracted an inordinate number of geniuses great and small who were gripped by the ‘divine madness’ which is the source of all great Science and Art.

In The Glass Armonica: the Music and the Madness we meet these ‘divine lunatics’, and discover the extraordinary way their lives were touched by glass music, as well as their own equally extraordinary contributions to its ongoing story, beginning with the Kama Sutra through the demise of glass music in the mid-19th century.

It’s 342 pages with 45 illustrations. $US 18.95.

You can order it from Amazon (Click here)

Or, if you order it directly from me I can autograph it for you. (Click here).

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