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 sound of the Cristal Baschet is similar to that of the glass harmonica.
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.
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, Alain Voirpy, Alain Labarsouque, Jean-Michel Hasler, Jean Philippe Calvin, Frederic Bousquet, Marc Antoine Millon.
- (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