The Cat Piano

Jean-Baptiste (sois béni!) sent me a link to the Cat Piano.

Athanasius Kircher
, a 17th century German Jesuit scholar, described the cat piano in the Musurgia Universalis (1650.)

cat-piano.jpgIn order to raise the spirits of an Italian prince burdened by the cares of his position, a musician created for him a cat piano. 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 melody of meows that became more vigorous as the cats became more desperate. Who could not help but laugh at such music? Thus was the prince raised from his melancholy.