Lizzo plays James Madison’s crystal flute onstage.

At Lizzo’s concert, history and music came together when the singer played a 200-year-old crystal flute made for President James Madison. This flute is very rare and was made for him.

The whole thing started when Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden used Twitter to invite the 34-year-old man, who has played the flute since he was a child, to try out some of the library’s many flutes.

Hayden wrote in a tweet, “Like your song, they are ‘Good as Hell.’ The next day, Lizzo wrote back in all caps, “I’m coming, Carla!” I’m playing that crystal flute! ” Well, it’s about time: In her Emmy acceptance speech, Lizzo praises the way she is portrayed on screen.

On Monday, Lizzo was given a grand tour of the library’s flute vault. The library said she was able to practice on several flutes before the concert and play a few notes in the Great Hall and Main Reading Room.

Hayden says that the library’s huge collection of about 1,700 flutes is the largest collection of flutes in the world. Lizzo played a crystal flute at her concert in Washington, D.C. Lizzo put down her own flute, the Sasha Flute, while she was on stage at the Capital One Arena. Then, library curator Carol Lynn Ward-Bamford carefully walked the crystal flute over to Lizzo so she could play it.

Lizzo told the crowd, “I’m scared.” “It’s so clear that it’s like playing in a wine glass!” Lizzo only played a few notes, and then she did twerk for the crowd.

“This famous crystal flute has never been played before,” Lizzo tweeted again in all caps after the show. “You have it now,” Ward-Bamford says that the flute has only been played a few times, likely for a public event in Madison. Most likely, it was played more during Madison’s life.

What is the crystal flute? 

A French craftsman named Claude Laurent invented the leaded glass flute in 1806. He sent President James Madison a crystal flute for his second inauguration when the glass instrument was at its most popular. On it is written Madison’s name, his title, and the year it was made.

At the time Laurent made his flute, most were made of wood or ivory. Glass flutes kept their pitch and tone better when the temperature changed, but by the 19th century, metal flutes had taken their place.

Only 185 of Laurent’s glass flutes are still around, and 17 of them are in the library. The library also said that playing the flute wouldn’t hurt it and was safe to do so. Many of the flutes in the collection were given so that they could be played. “This kind of thing doesn’t happen all that rare,” the library said in a tweet.


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