History

History of Crystal Music Glasses

Very little is known about the early beginnings of the use of goblets, bowls and glasses as musical glasses, but history shows that composers Mozart and Gluck both explored glass items as instruments. Benjamin Franklin invented a glass harmonica (armonica), this instrument was created with a series of tuned bowls mounted on a single spindle, the spindle was mounted on the horizontal and rotated by a treadle connected by belt to a pulley on the spindle—much like a sewing machine. It was played by touching rotating the bowls with water moistened fingertips. After these experiments with musical glass, composers Berloiz and Wagner concluded that musical glass could not be used for orchestral or operatic purposes. All of the glass sets of that era required water to fine-tune the instruments and the tone quality just was not present.

The next known experiment with glass was Bruce Tweedy's great-grandfather, Odin Wold. Odin was born in Norway in 1848. During his teenage years he started to explore glass music with his brother Paul. Sadly, Paul died in a boating accident just before Odin immigrated to America in 1866. Odin continued pursing his interest in musical glasses in America. In 1870, Odin married and moved to Minnesota taking a job with the Minneapolis Police and Fire department. Odin spent the better part of 20 years testing and trying tens of thousands of glasses before collecting the selection of finely tuned glasses with the correct notes for his instrument. He found the glasses by visiting local bars and restaurants—many of these locations would call him when they received new shipments of glasses. Odin also bought glasses from Belgium, Germany, Austria and France. His hard work and tireless searching paid off—Odin succeeded in completing his set of musical crystal glasses. There were 52 glasses in the set, all perfectly tuned in pitch, tone and quality. In March of 1890, Odin and his son, Charles, played the glasses at Odin's niece's wedding. The first song played on the glasses was Home Sweet Home.

Odin's first set of crystal musical glasses

Odin Wold's first set.

Odin Wold went on to play the musical glasses in the Minnesota symphony for 2 years, and also played them in Mr. Phails' Art Society Orchestra for 27 years. Odin's last performance was on May 21st, 1930—when Odin could no longer hear his beautiful music. But by this time Odin's son, Charles, has become quite famous for his ability to play complicated and complex orchestral music on the glass.

Odin's second set of crystal musical glasses

Odin Wold's second set built for his son Charles.

Charles Wold began his career with his father at the age of ten. In the early 1900's he toured the eastern United States performing with his crystal music glasses and during his touring played for both President McKinley and President Taft. In 1922, Charles brought the music of the crystal glasses to radio with a daily broadcast with WOR radio. Sadly, the broadcasts ended with Charles' death in 1931.

From 1931 until 1999 the glasses seemed to disappear into obscurity as they passed down through the generations—landing finally in the hands of Odin's great-grandson Bruce Tweedy. Bruce was first introduced to the glass music in 1962, but it wasn't until 1989 that Bruce inherited his grandfather's set. Bruce then spent years cleaning and restoring the set—he individually repaired almost every glass in the set either by adjusting the mounts or deep cleaning the glass itself. In 1999 Bruce played the crystal glasses to the public for the first time in 68 years.

Since 1999, Bruce Tweedy and his wife, Sandra, have restored Odin Wold's original set and created two more complete crystal music glass sets. The two newer sets sound sharper and are twice as loud as the original set, but Bruce comments: "Charles' set still remains smother and rings more pure."

Sandy's new set first played music on February 7, 2005.

 
Videos

Video of Charles Wold Playing The Crystal Music Glasses (1928)

Video of Bruce and Sandra Tweedy (2014) playing on Provocative Enlightenment radio. This is the first live radio performance of the waterless glasses since 1931.

2008 Church Performance


About Me
Bruce Tweedy
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  • Bruce Tweedy

    Bruce Tweedy was born in 1952 to LaRue and Diane Tweedy. Great-grandson of Odin Wold and grandson of Charles Wold—the original crystal glass musicians. It wasn't until 1989 that Bruce began to explore the world of crystal music glasses when he was given his grandfather, Charles Wold's, original crystal music glasses. It was on this set of unique and carefully selected glasses that Bruce learned to play waterless crystal glass music.

    Bruce became a fast draw artist at the age of 15—going on to become the fastest draw in the state of Minnesota and winning many competitions. In 1995 Bruce joined a group of old west actors, it was through his time with the gang that he befriended Eloise Lennard—the woman who brought the music back to the public. During his time with the old west actors group, Bruce performed his fast draw show, but never felt confident enough with his musical abilities to bring the crystal musical glasses into his act. However, he did continue to practice simple songs and played for close friends, such as Eloise.

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  • In 1999, Bruce left the Legends of the Old West to resume his real estate profession and automotive restoration trade. Early that year, Bruce played his grandfather's crystal music glasses at Eloise's request at a Spokane, Washington Western Art show. The promoter of the event set Bruce and his glasses in a room, and much to Bruce's surprise the audience loved his simple songs and the history of the glasses. Eloise then prodded Bruce to perform at the Oroville, Washington historical fundraiser in April of 1999... again, the audience was enthralled by the beauty of the music. Bruce was especially touched by a single audience member, a blind woman, who approached him after the performance to thank him for playing and told him that the glasses were the most beautiful music she'd ever heard. A few weeks later, at the request of some of his 'old west' friends, Bruce performed both his fast draw act and the played the crystal musical glasses. Bruce was absolutely astonished when he finished playing the glasses and the audience gave him a standing ovation.

    Since 1999 Bruce has continued to play and perfect his waterless musical glass performance. He has restored both his grandfathers and great-grandfather's original sets of glasses and has gone on to create two more complete sets of crystal music glasses. He and his wife, Sandra, both play the glasses.

    On July 2nd 2014, Bruce joined Eldon Taylor on his radio show, Provocative Enlightenment and played the crystal music glasses live on the air for the first time since his grandfather's last broadcast with WOR radio in 1931. Click here to listen to the show.

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Pictures
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  • Bruce Tweedy Reenactment
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Store
The Wold Crystal Music Glasses
(CD)
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  • Performed in 2006 by Bruce and Sandy Tweedy on Charles Wold's Set #2, first issued in a performance on March 26, 1890. Charles Wold died at a young age. This album was recorded especially for Charles Wold's daughter, Diane, so she could hear her father's musical glasses being played for the very first time.



    Bruce Tweedy Musical Glasses Logo

    Order the CD for $14.75 plus shipping


    mp3

    Download the album (8 mp3s) for $10.00


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  • Songs on this CD:

    1. Greensleeves 2:13
    2. Romantic Era 4:09
    3. Carousel 1:49
    4. Higher Ground 3:48
    5. Silent Night 2:46
    6. The Gift 2:41
    7. Crystal Pheonix 2:54
    8. Amazing Grace 2:52

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  • Download individual tracks for only $1.29 each

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  • 01 - Greensleeves MP3

    02 - Romantic Era MP3

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  • 03 - Carousel MP3

    04 - Higher Ground MP3

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  • 05 - Silent Night MP3

    06 - The Gift MP3

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  • 07 - Crystal Pheonix MP3

    08 - Amazing Grace MP3

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  • NEW 2014 Versions - $1.29 each

    Romantic Era MP3

    The Gift MP3

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The Wold Part 2 (CD)

Coming Soon


Odin Wold's Crystal Music (Book)

Coming Soon

Contact
Get in Touch
  • Bruce Tweedy

  • (509)714-8119

  • brsatweedy{at}comcast.net



Bruce Tweedy