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Music Appreciation 101, part 6: A Glass Euphonium?

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Readers of this blog certainly have a clear idea what a euphonium is. Granted there is some confusion about the difference between euphonium and baritone, but our conceptions are pretty much in the same neighborhood.


However, there is an instrument that predates the baritone/euphonium by about 50-100 years. It was invented by Ernst Chladni and consisted of glass tubes of different lengths. It operated on the same principal that causes crystal glasses to ring when someone rubs their fingers along the edge.


Some of us may have seen the "glass harmonica" played, and this is a more well-known relative of the Chlandni instrument. The glass harmonica (or Armonica) is usually made with glass discs on a rotating shaft. The player causes the various-size discs to resonate by applying moistened fingers as the discs rotate. Here is an example of that instrument from the History Channel:





Or here is another example:





Chladni's euphonium was made with tubes, not discs. As such it has a different tone and is a little more difficult to play. I don't have a video of the actual glass euphonium. But Chladni's euphonium is the direct ancestor of the Cristal Baschet, which was created in 1952 by the French instrument makers and artists Bernard and Francois Baschet. It should give you an idea of the design and sound of the glass euphonium:





Learn a little more on Wikipedia

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