cristal Baschet crystal Bachet crystal organ Paris France Strasbourg Europe Swiss Belgium cristal Baschet crystal Bachet crystal organ Paris France Strasbourg Europe Swiss Belgium

cristal Baschet - Thomas Bloch

Thomas Bloch owns and plays a cristal Baschet
(4 1/2 octaves concert model) made for him in 1991
titre Thomas Bloch

performer of rare instruments

"Thomas Bloch is unquestionnably a virtuoso and a musician"
The New York Times






audio - video
press kit

glass harmonica
ondes martenot
cristal baschet
theremin cello
musical saw
crystal voice duet

recording studio


  • The cristal Baschet in brief...

It is possible to hear CDs and to see more videos on the  audio - video  page of this site.

     The principle of a glass bow and a metal rod fixed to a heavy metal block, which could be seen in laboratories during the 18th century but had never been used before to make a musical instrument, was revived in 1952 by Bernard and François Baschet, who also invented the inflatable guitar, several original instruments (piano Baschet, tole a voix...) and an educational instrumentarium which is widely used in music schools today.

Bernard Baschet - Thomas Bloch
Thomas Bloch and Bernard Baschet in Saint-Michel-sur-Orge factory (France)

     The cristal Baschet (sometimes called Crystal Organ and in English, Crystal Baschet or by mistake : cristal Bachet) is usually 4 octaves and a half (other models can go from 3,5 to 6 octaves), composed of 56 chromatically tuned glass rods, rubbed with wet fingers. So, it is close to the Glassharmonica. But in the Cristal Baschet, the vibration of the glass is passed on to the heavy block of metal by a metal stem whose variable length determines the frequency (the note). Amplification is obtained by fiberglass cones  fixed on wood and by a tall cut out metal part, in the shape of a flame. "Whiskers" ("moustaches), placed under the instrument, to the right, increase the sound power of high-pitched sounds in vibrating by sympathy.

jeu sur cristal Baschet
jeu dessous cristal Baschet

     Born at the same time as «musique concrete»  (Pierre Schaeffer, Pierre Henry…), electro-acoustic music and early synthesizers (Bob Moog…), the Cristal Baschet is their close relative, but completely acoustic, without any electric amplifying-device. The Baschet brothers’ aim was to get closer to the new tones born in the early fifties.

cristal Baschet face
crsital Baschet close
cristal Baschet dos

Thomas Bloch plays the cristal Baschet


  • Works for cristal Baschet   (excerpt)
The cristal Baschet is used in a lot of fields : ballet-music, songs, movie music, theater-music, jazz, rock, improvisation, tales, contemporary music, opera, electronic music, techno music...

        Among other composers, we can mention : Damon ALBARN, Cyril ATEF, François BAYLE, Thomas BLOCH, Vincent-Marie BOUVOT, Jean-Philippe CALVIN, Philip CLEMO, Jarvis COCKER, David COULTER, Michel DENEUVE, DISCODEINE, Loïk DURY, Luc FERRARI, Tom FIRE, Robert J. FOSTER, Arthur H, Teddy LASRY, -M- (Mathieu CHEDID), Patrice RENSON, Lokua KANZA, Antonin LEYMARIE, Rob LORD, Henk van der MEULEN, Christophe MINCK, Yael NAIM, Jean-Jacques PALIX, Michel REDOLFI, Guy REIBEL, Etienne ROLIN, Philippe SARDE, Emilie SIMON, Stuart STAPLES, Roger STEPTOE, Toru TAKEMITSU, Vladimir TOSIC, Olivier TOUCHARD, Alain VOIRPY, Tom WAITS, Richard WELLS, Patrick WOLF...

Thomas Bloch (cristal Baschet), Elise Lorraine (voice, piano)
and Hein Pijnenburg (bass clarinet)  an excerpt from "Stamina"
(music by Henk van der Meulen) during a TV program
(VARA / Holland)

Thomas Bloch shows the cristal Baschet to Marianne James,
Charlélie Couture
and Cyril Hanouna during a TV program (in French)
(France 2 / France)

cristal baschet détail
Thomas Bloch Manu Dibango cristal Baschet
Thomas Bloch (cristal Baschet)
et Manu Dibango (saxophone)

cristal Baschet détail

Thomas Bloch (ondes Martenot, glass harmonica, cristal Baschet),
Damon Albarn (Blur, Gorillaz) and David Coulter
during "Monkey: journey to the West" preparation

(BBC - Endemol / England)

Bernard Baschet et Thomas Bloch

Thomas Bloch and Bernard Baschet