I’m Jamie Turner and my instrument is a glass harp. This is the style that inspired Ben Franklin to invent his glass harmonica. This is the earlier style that Beethoven wrote for and goes back several hundred years in Europe. How do you do that magic?It sounds magic, but it’s friction.I rub the glasses with wet fingers and that creates the sound.I was six years old, having dinner and my dad started playing a glass, and I was astonished. It became my favorite sound immediately. The rubber bands hold the glasses on the sound board. The reason I used them is that I very often go very fast, and if I bump the glass accidentally, because they’re tied on with rubber bands, they give. I have had just very, very few glasses break in over 30 years because I use rubber bands.
I’m filling up my finger bowls and then the rest of the glasses with distilled water. And for my fingers, it gives me much better friction, and inside the glass, there are no chemicals or minerals, so it gives me a lighter and brighter sound, and nothing precipitates out, so it’s the optimum of sound as you can get with glass and water. It takes over three gallons of distilled water just to tune up. These are turkey basters, and that’s my fine-tuning device. As you go down, I haven’t tuned these yet, but the bigger the glass, the lower the pitch. And then of course my middle C. I’m pouring a little bit of rubbing alcohol or isopropyl alcohol in my one finger bowl, and I dipped my fingers in there before I go to the distilled water, and it gets any excess oil off my fingers. I played at the White House Easter Egg Roll, played at the Supreme Court for a banquet, played for many embassies, played for all sorts of organizations all over the country. Sometimes they will fly me out to a couple thousand miles. You never grow old on it because the music is so demanding and so exciting.