The Cristal Baschet


Francois Baschet and his brother Bernard are unique figures in twentieth century music in having invented an acoustic instrument. While Cage et al made modified pianos, and Leon Theremin and his followers pursued arcane electronica, the Baschet brothers designed and perfected an instrument based on a previosly unexploited form of acoustic sound production: resonating glass.

The Cristal Baschet is structured like a piano but with glass rods instead of keys. The player strokes the rods to produce vibrations which, amplified via the sound cone, result in a tone of extraordinary purity and sustain.

Composers who have written pieces for the Cristal Baschet include Peter Maxwell Davies, Toru Takemitsu, and Thomas Bloch. It has been exhibited at The Museum of Modern Art in New York, and appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show.