Cristal baschet

The Cristal Baschet is a contemporary musical instrument developed in 1952 by the brothers Bernard and François Baschet. The first assemblies of the Baschet brothers are sound bodies placed on the piano of composer Jacques Lasry; Assembled they will become the sub-family called "multi-timbre percussions".


Metal rods are embedded in a heavy plate to form the elements. Each metal rod is accompanied by an attached glass rod. The metal rod's length, weight and position at the equilibrium point determine the sound's pitch. The glass rod is gently stroked with a wet finger to produce sound.

The vibration of the rod with greater amplitude and weaker pressure is transmitted into the metal fitting. This causes a transformation in the vibrations and the shape of the wave produced. The vibrations propagating through the metal have a high pressure and a weak amplitude. This amplification in pressure is the result of fiberglass cones that are fixed in a wood frame alongside a tall, cut-out metal part in the shape of a flame. "Whiskers," placed on the side of the instrument, amplify high-pitched sounds.

The Cristal Baschet is also known as the Crystal Organ and the Crystal Baschet. The range of a concert instrument is 5 octaves. The Cristal is related to the glass harmonica.


The Cristal Baschet was invented in 1952 by the French instrument makers and artists Bernard and Francois Baschet. They specialized in creating sculptures that could be played to produce music. They invented the inflatable guitar, an aluminium piano and an "educational instrumentarium" for the purpose of giving young people exposure to musical concepts.

The Cristal Baschet was developed around the same time as musique concrète (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 through purely acoustic means; no electrical amplification is involved.


It was originally used in the field of concrete music (avant-garde musical style introduced by Pierre Schaeffer and Pierre Henry) and gradually found its technique and repertoire, mainly thanks to the "crystallists" Jacques and Yvonne Lasry 1952) and then Michel Deneuve who devoted himself to it in 1978 or Thomas Bloch.

A workshop of instrumental practice of the Cristal Baschet was opened in 1993 at the Conservatory of Albi with Cathy Tardieu which still conducts it. A class of Cristal Baschet was also opened at the Conservatoire de Brive la Gaillarde in 2003 by Michel Deneuve. This class has been conducted since 2010 by Antoine Mas.

The Cristal Baschet has been used in various fields: dance performance, film music (La Marche de l'empereur, Traffic, Solaris, The Testament of Orpheus ...), theater, jazz, improvisation, tales (Bruno de La Salle), contemporary music, song and rock. Thomas Bloch has played with Manu Dibango, Fred Frith, Phil Minton, Lindsay Cooper, David Coulter, Vanessa Paradis, Arthur H and Bachibouzouk Band, Zazie, Jad Wio, Marie Laforêt, Zoe, Lokua Kanza, Daft Punk[1]...

Among the composers are François Bayle, Michel Deneuve, Luc Ferrari, Guy Reibel, Jacques Lasry, Bernard Baschet, Etienne Rolin, Toru Takemitsu, Jean Michel Jarre, Cliff Martinez, Beatriz Ferreyra, Michel Redolfi, Damon Albarn / Gorillaz, Tom Waits, Philippe Sarde, Jean-Michel Hasler, Jean-Michel Calvin, Horatiu Radulescu, Bruno Giner, Richard Hawley, Johan Söderqvist, Eric Fischer, Emmanuel Séjourné, Roger Steptoe, Alain Voirpy and others.

See also

  • Official site of the association Structures Sonores Baschet, which perpetuates the heritage as well as the research of the brothers Baschet.
  • The site of Thomas Bloch, interpreter of the crystal Baschet and also of the glassharmonica and the waves Martenot - history, videos, photos, discography ...
  •, The site of the composer and Cristal performer Michel Deneuve, who is at the origin of the development of the instrumental technique of the Cristal à clavier horizontal.
  •, The site of the Cristal performer Catherine Brisset, specialized in the contemporary repertoire.
  •, Website of composer Florence Baschet
  • (in Spanish), Blog about the news in connection with the Cristal Baschet and the Baschet Sound Structures


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