professor wingard’s nameless force

for piano

Marc Yeats

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for piano

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Composer Marc Yeats

Year of Composition



ca. 7'

Student Difficulty

Categories (all composers) ,
Catalogue ID ce-my1pwnf1


Professor Wingard’s Nameless Force (1876) In February 1876, ‘Professor’ James C. Wingard of New Orleans announced he had invented a powerful new weapon that would utterly destroy any naval vessel, iron or otherwise, “so as to leave no trace of them in their former shape.” Wingard was coy about the exact means by which his weapon operated. He would only say that it projected a “nameless force,” which somehow involved the use of electricity, applied without any direct connection between the machine and the object to be destroyed — and it supposedly worked at a distance of up to five miles, far beyond the range of any other gun or cannon. The story was of course a hoax. The title was ‘found’ many years after writing the piece and is a conceit that has no programmatic or descriptive relationship to the music.

Dedicated to Geert Callaert.