Bottles, Tuned

Bottles, Tuned

(Bouteillophone, Flaschenspiel, Suono di Bottiglia)

Mfg. by Emil Richards

For Parade, Le Dit des Jeux du Monde, and other pieces.

Price/Day $

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The tuned bottles are actually empty glass sake bottles and were collected by Emil Richards over time. They are one octave and chromatic, tuned to different pitches by filling them with water at various amounts (in general, less water produces a higher pitch). They have a unique sound, and Emil favored them especially when coupled with bells or xylophone.

On recordings, Emil used wood mallets, as they projected well and tended to be easier on the bottles than plastic or acrylic mallets.


  • The tuned sake bottles double with muted vibraphone in this clip from Under the Volcano (1984) by Alex North.

Please note: these are just examples, as playing technique and mallet/stick choices often have a great effect on the timbre.

These sound excerpts, to the best of our knowledge (unless otherwise noted), include this actual instrument from our collection. To hear the instrument yourself, or to let us know of any errors, please contact us.