Glass sounds or the fascination of transparency

Rebecca Wolf

Aluminum, ivory, tortoiseshell, papier-mâché, carbon: Musical instruments are and have long been made not only of wood and metal, but from a wide variety of materials. The use of such materials serves sonic, economic, representative, practical or other purposes.

Glass, the focus of this exhibition, has a long and extraordinary history in instrument making. It is not a traditional material for musical instruments; moreover, highly diverse methods are used to produce sound with it. Glass was used for wind instruments; glass instruments such as bells, tubes and glass plates were struck; the glass harmonica, a friction instrument, was popular in Europe and North America for a long time. Its glass bowls are played directly with the fingers.   

Citation: Rebecca Wolf, ‘Glass sounds or the fascination of transparency’, in: Materiality of Musical Instruments. A Virtual Exhibition.

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