Gift Lab: How to Make Music by Playing Wine Glasses

Major Scale Musical Wine Glasses | UncommonGoods

Research
As a developer of the Major Scale Musical Wine Glasses™, my knowledge of the product is quite comprehensive, but this was my first chance to test a random unit straight off the production floor. In developing these musical glasses, we looked for a glass that would allow for a full A major scale, allowing for more versatile music-making. We used a high-quality lead-free crystal glass here to ensure the best resonance we could achieve.

I’m not a big wine drinker, but you’ll find me sneaking a swig of water every now and again – so I’m conducting this experiment with water as an alternative. I try to keep practice on my violin, but I’m much more likely to produce something resembling music with my finger on these glasses than with my bow on strings – so I’m looking forward to the chance to actually hit the right notes for a change.

Musical Wine Glass Packaging | Uncommon Goods

Hypothesis
Due to variations in glass we knew absolute, orchestral perfection was a bit too aspirational, but we have been pleased to find that the fill lines correspond quite nicely to the note indicated. My hypothesis is that I’ll have a pretty happy match today.

Experiment
Fill ‘er up! I poured to the first note – an ‘A,’ moistened my finger in another glass to allow for smooth movement around the rim, and round my finger went firmly in a circular motion. As I draw my finger around the rim, the alternating slipping and sticking creates a vibration pattern in the glass. The speed of vibration, meanwhile, is affected by the volume of liquid in the glass, and different vibrations will produce different notes. The results of my first attempt?

Playing Music on Wine Glasses

A lovely ‘A’ note resonates through the dining room, accompanied by a hypnotic ripple along the surface of the wine. As you can see…a successful ‘A’!

'A' Note

I toast to a successful first pour and continue on my journey through the A Major scale.

I poured a taller glass and around I went again.

Major Scale Musical Wine Glass | UncommonGoods

Crosschecking with another tuner – a direct hit! SuccEss with a capital ‘E’.

'E' Note

Conclusion

Though slight variations in glass will yield somewhat different performance, a random test proved more than satisfactory to my unprofessional, yet music-appreciating ears. Very content and ready to wet my whistle, I toast to beautiful music with my fiancée and Franklin Broccoli, our almost-real pet bulldog.

Musical Wine Glass Toast

To see and hear these uncommon instruments make music with your own eyes and ears, check out this video of me playing Vivaldi’s Four Seasons.

Written by Morgan

Morgan is the Production Manager at UncommonGoods. He has a double jointed thumb – perhaps the most boring of all possible double jointed joints.

4 Comments

  1. Pingback: Major Scale Musical Wine Glass | design wine sunshine

  2. Pingback: Musical Wine Glasses |

  3. Sophie

    Hi Morgan,

    My friend and I have access to a laser cutting machine. We had an idea to make musical wine glasses and then I found yours while were doing research. We’ve done one round of glasses already but found the glasses we were using were not machined consistently and therefore produced inconsistent notes even though we were using the same template to cut each of them. We’re about order different glasses to try again but I thought Id ask if you were willing to share what brand of glass you are using as it looks like you are getting consistent results. I know of course that you are trying to sell your product and would probably rather us buy yours but I think we’re more interested in the process of doing it ourselves than just having the glasses. Would you be willing to share info with fellow whimsical experimenters?

    Best,

    ~Sophie

  4. Morgan

    Hi Sophie,

    Thanks for reaching out! As a fellow researcher and developer, I’m glad that you’re as committed to quality and consistency as we were in developing this product.

    We spent a lot of time researching different shapes and materials, so I’d rather not spill the beans, but I encourage you to keep searching if you want to go it on your own. There’s a lot to learn out there about how glasses are made, the different materials used, and the nuances of each. I hope the search might be as enjoyable as the final product. (but I’d be remiss if I didn’t recommend picking up a pair of ours to perhaps accompany and compare with the fruits of your research!)

    Happy Hunting!

    Morgan

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