Part 4: experimental instrument exposé – Glass Armonica


In 1761 Benjamin Franklin attended a  musical recital of water tuned wineglasses by a friend named Delval.  Enchanted by what he heard Franklin set out to make ‘a more convenient’ arrangement of the instrument.  Initially dubbing his new creation  the ‘glassychord’, Franklin soon settled on ‘armonica’ after the Italian word ‘armonia’ or Harmony.  Both Mozart and Beethoven wrote pieces for the Armonica with some 200 pieces of various authors surviving from that era.

Feb 26 1763 Benjamin Franklin writes his friend Cadwallader Colden about his new instrument:

While in England, after my chief Business was over, I amus’d myself, with contriving and bringing to a considerable Degree of Perfection, a new musical Instrument, which has afforded me and my Friends a great deal of Pleasure; but the Description of it would make this Letter, already too long, much longer….

Part 3: experimental instrument exposé – Cristal Baschet

The Cristal Baschet is a musical instrument that produces sound from oscillating glass cylinders. The Cristal Baschet is also known as the Crystal Organ and the Crystal Baschet, and composed of 54 chromatically-tuned glass rods. The glass rods are rubbed with moistened fingers to produce vibrations.

The vibration of the glass rods in the Cristal Baschet is passed to a heavy block of metal by a metal stem whose variable length determines the frequency produced (i.e., the note). Amplification is the result of fiberglass cones fixed in a wood frame and a tall cut out metal part, in the shape of a flame. “Whiskers”, placed under the instrument to one side, amplify high-pitched sounds.

(via Wikipedia) (link)

Part 2: experimental instrument exposé – Hang

Part 2: of my experimental instrument exposé.  Sweet merciful drum heads I want one of these… sigh.

(originally brought to my attention via Blampfy)

(via Wikipedia)

A Hang (pronounced [haŋ], with vowel sound between those of the words hot and hungry) is a musical instrument in the idiophone class created by PANArt in Switzerland.[1] The Hang is made from two deep drawn nitrided steel sheets that are attached together creating the recognizable ‘UFO shape’. There is nothing inside the Hang but air. The top (“Ding”) side has a center ‘note’ hammered into it with seven or eight ‘tone fields’ hammered around it. The bottom (“Gu”) is a simpler surface that has a rolled hole in the center with a tuned note that can be created when the rim is struck. The Hang uses some of the same physical principles as a steelpan but with a nitrided surface and structural change of having two clamped shells with a small opening so that the instrument is a Helmholtz resonator.[1][2] The creation of the Hang was the result of many years of research on the steelpan as well as the study of a diverse collection of instruments from around the world such as gongs, gamelan, ghatam, drums (like the steelpans fron Trinidad & Tobago), and bells.[3] Metallurgical and acoustic research by the makers has led to significant changes and refinement in structure, design, and process over the years since the first Hang was offered.