Glass Bells

glass bellsIn the mid 1980's the Glass Orchestra began commissioning glass artists and scientific glass blowers to build instruments for the ensemble according to the designs of the musicians. In this photo we see some of the glass bells complete with clappers that were created. The tuning of these bells was left to chance and was the result of the size and shape of the bell, the thickness of the glass and the mixture the glass is composed of.

On the left side of the photo we can also see part of the Tube Xylophone. The Tube Xylophone was tuned quite accurately in quarter tones - that is the range between 1 whole tone in western tuning now consists of 4 notes instead of the regular 2 notes. In the top right of the picture we can also see the outline of one of the etched pyrex spinning disks. (partially covered by the black vertical leg of the frame that the instruments are suspended from) This disks were quite thick and could take alot of abuse producing a very hi pitched tone.

This is also a good view of the wine glasses with water in them to tune them. Pouring water into a glass lowers the pitch of that glass. If you are finger bowing the glass and you tilt it sideways the water inside will further bend the pitch down. Some glasses can produce a different tone when bowed on the bottom of the stem. You can sometimes get sub tones from that same glass if you increase the pressure carefully when you bow the top of the glass.


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