A Lithophone (litho=stone, phone=voice) dating from 1840, the Skiddaw Stones are composed of 61 tuned and shaped rocks made from the rare hornfels stone, found in Cumbria, England.
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It took their creator, Joseph Richardson, a stonemason and musician, almost thirteen years to collect and shape enough individual notes of hornfels to make an eight-octave range.
The task of assembling this instrument consumed Joseph so absolutely that he and his family were reduced to poverty.
When the instrument was completed, Richardson and his sons toured Europe as The Rock, Bell and Steel Band, and even performed at Buckingham Palace by command of Queen Victoria.
The Skiddaw Stones currently reside at the Keswick Museum, who very kindly agreed to let us take them off site, to a studio, for the recording.
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