The “Cristal Baschet” rest on a novel acoustic hitherto unknown in the fabrication of music instruments. The vibrating part is a metal rod embedded onto a heavy plate. The pitch of the note is fixed by the rods’ length and position of a balance-weight at a crux of the vibration. Vibration is caused by a glass rod (which works like a bow) gently stroked with wet fingers.
The vibration of the rod, with great amplitude and weak pressure, is transmitted to the metal fitting. There is, then, a transformation of the shape of the wave; the vibration propagating through the metal in the form of hard pressure and very weak amplitude. 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. The Cristal Baschet is also known as the Crystal Organ and the Crystal Baschet. Actually the range of a concert Cristal is 5 octaves. The sound of the Cristal has nothing to do with the glass harmonica. The Cristal Baschet was created in 1952 by the French instrument makers and artists Bernard and Francois Baschet. The Baschet brothers specialize in creating sculptures that can be "played" to produce music. They also invented the inflatable guitar and the aluminum piano, and created an "educational instrumentarium" for exposing young people to musical concepts.
The Cristal Baschet was developed at the same time as musique concrète (the avant-garde musical style introduced by Pierre Schaeffer and Pierre Henry), electro-acoustic music and early Moog synthesizers. The Cristal Baschet produces music similar in style to these other musical forms, but it is completely acoustic, without any electric amplifying-device.
The Cristal Baschet has been used for several different applications, such as ballet music, songs, film music, theater-music, jazz, rock, electronic music, improvisation, tales, and contemporary[clarification needed] music.
Composers who have used the Cristal Baschet include François Bayle, Thomas Bloch, Michel Deneuve, Luc Ferrari, Cliff Martinez, Jean-Michel Jarre, Guy Reibel, Etienne Rolin, Mike Sheridan, Toru Takemitsu, Michel Redolfi and Daft Punk ("Motherboard" in "Random Access Memories"). Recent compositions for the instrument have been written by Sir Roger Steptoe, Horatiu Radulescu, Bruno Giner, Eric Fisher, Emmanuel Séjourné, Alain Voirpy, Alain Labarsouque, Jean-Michel Hasler, Jean Philippe Calvin, Frederic Bousquet, Marc Antoine Millon.
In the United Kingdom, the most familiar music to use the Cristal Baschet is 'Maneche', composed by Jacques Lasry, used for over twenty years as the opening theme to the Granada Television children's programme Picture Box.
- (http://www.youtube.com/user/hopensemble?feature=mhum) videos from the HOPE ensemble, Marc Antoine Millon et Frédéric Bousquet, contemporary music and classical adaptations with Cristal Baschet
- Site officiel de la société Structures Sonores, qui développe les recherches des frères Baschet.*Les Sculptures Sonores, Official website of the Baschet brothers
- Sound Structures EURL – Atelier BOUSQUET, Official Website of the Cristal Baschet Manufacturer
- Association Structures Sonores Baschet et Pédagogie, a Baschet official website
- (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w-yiGVCiYqg&list=UUtYNhcrWjH-eiamvMK_W1yA&index=12) Television documentary on B. Baschet and HOPE Esemble
- Cliff Martinez plays the Cristal Baschet and gives an interview about the sounds he uses for film score
- (http://www.youtube.com/user/hopensemble?feature=mhum*Cristal baschet video
- Gorillaz leader Damon Albarn using the cristal Baschet and other rare instruments played by Thomas Bloch
- Cristal Baschet during a popular French TV program