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Four Steps to Breaking a Wine Glass Using Your Voice

Audrey Hunt, the author of the book, "Anyone Can Sing", teaches us how to break a glass using our voice.

Learn how to safely break a wine glass using only the power of your voice. It's a fun and exciting trick that everyone will enjoy.

Learn how to safely break a wine glass using only the power of your voice. It's a fun and exciting trick that everyone will enjoy.

Four Steps for Breaking a Wine Glass Using the Voice

Let's get right to the nitty-gritty and go through the necessary steps for using the voice to break a glass.

Steps for Using Your Voice to Break a Glass

  1. Select the correct type of wine glass. Not any wine glass will do. (Some will argue this point.) Be sure you are using crystal because it will resonate at the particular resonating frequency.
  2. To test this frequency, dip your finger in water, then rub it gently around the rim of the glass. Your finger will vibrate on the rim of the glass, and once you get the right frequency, the glass will hum. You may want to do this a couple of times.
  3. Next, if you can match the pitch of your voice to the resonant frequency of the glass, the vibrations in the air will strike the glass, and it will begin to vibrate too. (This may take a couple of tries, so don't give up.)
  4. It would be best if you sang with enough volume so that the glass will move as it vibrates further and faster than the material in the glass can move. (Added volume is absolutely necessary.) With these conditions attained, the glass breaks. Make sure that you are close to the glass and protect your face with goggles.

Add in the precise timing, and the glass becomes stressed, eventually shattering. Hooray!

The sounding board on my grand piano. These are the strings that vibrate when you sing their resonant frequency.

The sounding board on my grand piano. These are the strings that vibrate when you sing their resonant frequency.

Applying Resonance Frequency

All objects contain a natural frequency for producing vibrations known as "resonance frequency." Two words that stand out for understanding how resonance works are force and energy.

To induce an object's resonation, there must be a force to pull it back to its starting position with the right amount of energy to keep the object vibrating. Your voice and the resonance it contains will cause the right amount of vibrations needed.

Therefore, the vibrations of one object (in this case, (the voice) cause a second object (the wine glass) to start vibrating (resonating).

I use my grand pianos' sounding board to demonstrate resonance frequency with the strings in full view.

How Resonance Frequency Works

  • Sing into the piano, where the strings are exposed. (Sing the vowel Ah using full volume.)
  • Be sure to sustain the tone using plenty of breath support.
  • The more open the mouth position, the better.
  • As you sing into the piano, notice the strings vibrating when you sing their resonant frequencies.

The human body has six main resonating areas:

  • Mouth
  • Larynx
  • Pharynx
  • Nasal cavity
  • Skull
  • Chest

Resonance amplifies sound.

The Great Tenor Enrico Caruso

Born to become the greatest tenor of all time.  Enrico Caruso, February 25, 1873 —August 2, 1921.

Born to become the greatest tenor of all time. Enrico Caruso, February 25, 1873 —August 2, 1921.

The First Person to Break Glass Using the Voice

Enrico Caruso, the great "Italian Tenor" of the early 20th century, was the first to break a glass using only his singing voice. He did not set out to deliberately do this. It happened at a precise time when all conditions were perfect. His vocal range and ability to sustain his tone long enough, along with correct resonation for projecting sound, were attributed to this feat.

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Read More From Spinditty

The glass was a delicate, crystal champagne flute with a specific frequency. The great Caruso possessed all the proper vocal faculties to match the frequency of the crystal glass exactly.

Some argue that this is a myth. I believe it is true. Knowing the science and technique of the human singing voice and its capabilities makes perfect sense to me, and I think you'll agree.

Original Recording—Remastered

Be Sure to Use Fine Crystal for Your Experiment

Now that you have heard one of the greatest voices of all time provided by the above video, you can appreciate on some level the acoustical properties of the singing voice. These properties are precisely what is needed to shatter a glass (but not any glass).

The finer the crystal, the greater the resonating factors. This makes it possible for the high-pitched singer to match the vibrations of the glass. Furthermore, one doesn't need to sing opera to break a glass. You don't have to be a singer at all. As I said earlier, it's the set of vibrations causing acoustical resonating qualities of the voice to match the exact frequency of the glass that causes it to break.

Singers may find it easier to complete this experiment because their voices are trained. But, as you will see in the video below, the young boy did not have a trained singing voice.

The key here is resonation. Let's examine just what resonance is and how it works.

What Causes a Wine Glass to Shatter?

Let's look at how the wine glass itself resonates using the following six faculties:

  1. Medium—This is what the sound is traveling through. (In this case, the wine glass with a stem.) The more delicate the glass (crystal), the easier it will shatter. Medium is just a fancy word for an object, so never mind if you aren't familiar with it.
  2. Sound Intensity—You need some physical property measured in decibels, referred to as "sound intensity." So, again, this is simply a scientific name and makes no difference.
  3. Amplitude—The term for the height of a sound wave is called amplitude. You may already be familiar with this term, especially if you're a musician. Think of it like this. If two sounds are the same distance away, the one with the largest amplitude will be the loudest. Easy, right?
  4. Wavelength—This is the distance from one peak of the wave to the next peak. Perhaps visualizing ocean waves brings this term closer to home.
  5. Pitch—This is a musical term that relates to the frequency of the vibration. Pitch is also the highness or lowness of a tone. This is important because the pitch of the glass and the voice must match precisely during the experiment.
  6. Harmonics—Let's think of a stringed instrument. There can be more than one wave pattern achieved depending on the harmonic structures of the sound. A guitar, bass, violin, piano, cello, and viola are all stringed instruments.

The same principle is needed for an excellent singing voice and is one of the main factors missing in most voices I audition.

how-to-use-your-voice-to-break-a-glass

Bonus Tips

  • Warm up your voice just First. Fifteen minutes or so should do it. Warming up the voice has proven to help complete the process.
  • You must be right on the pitch for a relatively lengthy amount of time. You cannot be off at all.
  • It would help if you had enough volume to break the glass. Inhale a large amount of air.
  • Wear safety glasses during this experiment. Avoid getting cut as the glass breaks.
  • Sing an "ah" with the glass close to your mouth.
  • If the glass isn't breaking, increase the volume and duration of your sound.
  • If you're not sure that you are singing the correct sound or that the glass is vibrating, here's what you can do.
  1. Place a straw inside of the wine glass.
  2. Slide your pitch (singing) up and down until the straw begins to shake.
  3. This is the pitch you want.

Thanks for reading!

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2013 Audrey Hunt

Comments

Audrey Hunt (author) from Pahrump NV on August 26, 2017:

Hello Honey

You're exactly the kind of person I wrote this hub for! Hope you found a crystal glass or two and be sure to let me know your results. Love it!

H Lax on August 26, 2017:

Are you kidding me? I can't wait to try this. Thanks for sharing, Audrey. Now I have something fun to do Saturday night. :) I'll have to hit some garage sales today and hopefully find some crystal wine glasses.

Audrey Hunt (author) from Pahrump NV on January 19, 2015:

Hello Au fait

Thanks for reading my hub and taking time to leave your great comments. I appreciate your liking the explanations of musical language. You're the best!

C E Clark from North Texas on January 19, 2015:

Very interesting and informative! Not only on how to break a glass with just one's voice, but the explanations of musical language is excellent as well. Sharing.

Audrey Hunt (author) from Pahrump NV on October 23, 2014:

ChitrangadaSharan

You can relate to the power and internal energy of the human voice. How marvelous! The historical stories in India that have to do with the power of the voice is so interesting to me. I may google and see what I can find. This would be helpful information to add to some of my hubs on the power of the human voice.

Thank you my dear friend. Blessings and peace to you. - Audrey

Chitrangada Sharan from New Delhi, India on October 22, 2014:

Very interesting hub! And I have seen it in movies and advertisements, that glass can be broken by means of singing voice. But I do believe it can be done as you have mentioned above. It is because of a scientific reason, as you have said.

We have some historical stories in India, which tell us that there have been singers, who could bring 'rain' by means of their powerful singing. Or attract birds or animals by means of their soulful singing.

There are certain 'Ragas' in Indian classical music, which are very powerful, even to invoke Gods.

Wonderful topic and it makes sense to me! Voted up!

Audrey Hunt (author) from Pahrump NV on April 27, 2014:

Thanks RTalloni - Good to see you. Go ahead and give this a try. You might be surprised!

RTalloni on April 14, 2014:

So it's all in the technique. Too bad it's so late. Now I'll have to wait until tomorrow… Fun stuff to learn about here! :) Even if I can't do it, just having this knowledge in my back pocket could be very useful in conversation. Clever hub!

Audrey Hunt (author) from Pahrump NV on September 28, 2013:

Vellur - Thank you for reading this. It's quite an experience to break a glass using nothing but your voice. Appreciate your sharing and the vote up!

Nithya Venkat from Dubai on September 26, 2013:

Interesting and informative read! Breaking a glass with a voice must be awesome. Thanks for sharing. Voted up.

Audrey Hunt (author) from Pahrump NV on August 05, 2013:

Solaras - Thanks so much! Glad you liked the videos. On my way to visit you right now.

Barbara Fitzgerald from Georgia on August 05, 2013:

Voted up and interesting - loved the videos!

Audrey Hunt (author) from Pahrump NV on June 05, 2013:

rebeccamealey - Hi there. Really, anyone can do this as long as these instructions are followed to the letter. So pleased that you came by!

Rebecca Mealey from Northeastern Georgia, USA on June 05, 2013:

Gosh, I didn't know this could really be done! Very interesting!

Audrey Hunt (author) from Pahrump NV on May 17, 2013:

mckbirdbks - Hee, hee! How about sharing a glass or two? Best wishes Mike. And thanks :)

teaches12345 - I was pretty amazed myself. It is indeed a science ( a class I should have spent more time with.) Thanks my friend!

Dianna Mendez on May 17, 2013:

Truthfully, I thought that this was a myth. Thank you for putting me straight on this scientific method connected to voice control. Fascinating!

mckbirdbks from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas on May 17, 2013:

You are so knowledgeable. The best I can offer is to empty the wine glass for you.

Audrey Hunt (author) from Pahrump NV on May 08, 2013:

Hi Peggy ~

I don't really blame you for passing on this experiment. It's not for everyone. It is an interesting notion though and truly can be done. I suggest trying it at a neighbor's house and using their expensive wine glass :) Thanks Peggy.

Audrey Hunt (author) from Pahrump NV on May 08, 2013:

tammyswallow ~

I was skeptical in the beginning as well. But the more I studied and researched, the more convinced I became. Then I tried it myself and knew it could be done. Keep practicing and let me know when you shatter that glass!

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on May 06, 2013:

I voted that I think I would pass on this. Would certainly not want to break any expensive wine glasses in this experiment but this is surely interesting. Up and interesting votes and might be tempted to try this someday on less expensive glasses. Might be fun.

Tammy from North Carolina on May 06, 2013:

I thought this was an urban legend. Now that I know it is possible, I am going to practice this. I live in apartment so it should be interesting. ;). This is a very interesting read!

Audrey Hunt (author) from Pahrump NV on May 05, 2013:

ChristyWrites - Welcome back! So good to see you again. Thanks for your comments and glad you liked the hub. Now - gonna go see what you've been up to :)

Hi William - The higher the note, the higher the vibrations therefore making it easier for glass to shatter. I imagine if the vibrations are equal with a low pitch as the higher one, it would be possible. Caruso in a China shop? The shop had better have plenty of insurance :)

NateB11 - Glad you enjoyed the videos. And yes, if all the conditions are just right, that glass will shatter. Thanks!

Nathan Bernardo from California, United States of America on May 05, 2013:

That is fascinating, I did not know it was actually possible; those videos are amazing. I guess if the energy is strong enough, it's going to have an effect on an object; and if all conditions are right, the glass is going to break. Very interesting.

William F Torpey from South Valley Stream, N.Y. on May 05, 2013:

The more I read the comments the more I wonder: Does the note have to be a high note? How many glasses would break if Caruso sang that note in a China shop? (Just wondering!)

Christy Birmingham from British Columbia, Canada on May 05, 2013:

Wow, I actually DID think that the glass breaking was a myth. Learning more about the science behind the phenomenon is so interesting. Thanks for the share here. It's great to be back here and see your kind face too!

Audrey Hunt (author) from Pahrump NV on May 03, 2013:

pstraubie48 - I hope you do give this a try and if you end up breaking a glass using your voice be sure to have someone video. You'll be awarded with tons of hits. :) Thanks for my Angels :)

Patricia Scott from North Central Florida on May 03, 2013:

Pretty cool stuff. I have heard of this happening but have not seen it before these videos. I may just have to give this a try.

Thanks for sharing and for providing the cautionary tips.

Angels are on the way to you.:) ps

Audrey Hunt (author) from Pahrump NV on May 01, 2013:

livingsta - Very nice to see you here. Appreciate your comments and look forward to seeing you again soon. Thanks for the up and for sharing!

Audrey Hunt (author) from Pahrump NV on May 01, 2013:

Vinaya - I love your legend. So glad you enjoyed this hub. Why not try to use your own voice to break a glass? Thanks so much my friend!

Audrey Hunt (author) from Pahrump NV on May 01, 2013:

rdsparrowriter - I'm glad you enjoyed this hub and am delighted to find you here. Thank you for God's blessings.

Suzie HQ - Your kind words have left me beaming from ear to ear. Most people are not aware that music is a science. They suppose it is a combination of talent + practice. While these two combinations certainly provide a special energy, music and voice are based on scientific principles. That means singing is not a requirement for using your voice to break a glass. You have supported this hub with voting up and great ratings plus sharing. Thank you dear Suzie !

livingsta from United Kingdom on May 01, 2013:

Interesting information here ! Thank you for sharing!

Voted up and sharing!

Vinaya Ghimire from Nepal on May 01, 2013:

Legend has it once there was a musician in our country, who could invite a bee and make it sit on a flower with his music.

I have not seen anyone break a glass, and I will love to see this.

What a great hub you have shared.

Suzanne Ridgeway from Dublin, Ireland on May 01, 2013:

Hi vocalcoach,

What an interesting and well written hub, you are a guru of wisdom and knowledge in music and voices. i have seen people break glass before but never knew the science so thank you so much for making it easy to understand for us not familiar with soundwaves and resonating! Voted up, useful, interesting, awesome and shared!

Rochelle Ann De Zoysa from Moratuwa, Sri Lanka on May 01, 2013:

Awesome! This is so cool ! I've seen on TinTin when Bianca Castafiore sing the glasses break. Useful and interesting. Thank you for sharing your knowledge with us :) God bless you!

Audrey Hunt (author) from Pahrump NV on April 30, 2013:

tillsontitan ~

Thank you for saying this. It means so much to me to know that you approve of my hubs about the voice. I love doing this and hope others share your feelings. Appreciate your votes so much!

Mary Craig from New York on April 30, 2013:

You write such interesting hubs about voice. Examining the aspects of a voice breaking a glass is one many might shy away from but you've certainly explained it well and done it so we can all understand it. I do love your hubs!

Voted up, useful, and interesting.

Audrey Hunt (author) from Pahrump NV on April 29, 2013:

Hi Marcy - I'll bet you can break the glass with just a few tries. Be sure to let me know. I've heard back that some were able to do this...still others could not. It's fun to try. Thanks!

Sheri Faye - Wow - you have given me a great idea for my next party! I had never thought of using this trick :) Thanks.

Sheri Dusseault from Chemainus. BC, Canada on April 29, 2013:

That is fun...could be a great party trick!

Marcy Goodfleisch from Planet Earth on April 29, 2013:

I'm going to try this - I swear I am! I sure hate to waste good crystal, though. But I've always been told I could do this - and now that I know 'anyone' can, I would love to try it!

Thanks for a really entertaining article!

Audrey Hunt (author) from Pahrump NV on April 24, 2013:

Thanks my friend. You're a jewel to stop by!

Audrey Howitt from California on April 24, 2013:

Such a fun article!!

Audrey Hunt (author) from Pahrump NV on April 24, 2013:

shiningirisheyes - Hahahaha! I needed that. Thanks for giving me a real good laugh as I find my way to my crib :)

Shining Irish Eyes from Upstate, New York on April 23, 2013:

I just realized that MY singing voice has been known to result in broken glass - usually the broken glass is from the mass exodus of people jumping through closed windows to get away from the sound.

Audrey Hunt (author) from Pahrump NV on April 22, 2013:

shiningirisheyes - It really is a wonderous thing. Makes me wonder what kinds of other things we are capable of doing. Thank you so much!

Shining Irish Eyes from Upstate, New York on April 22, 2013:

It is truly fascinating that a human can match their voice to the level of the glass. Fascinating article.

Audrey Hunt (author) from Pahrump NV on April 21, 2013:

Oh my gosh Scribenet - I'm so glad you have shared this today. You must have been so startled! Pretty amazing. And you are correct in saying that the conditions have to be exactly right for this to happen. Thank you!

Maggie Griess from Ontario, Canada on April 21, 2013: