Are you familiar with the trombottle? If not, you should be! It's the most unique1 and innovative new instrument of our time. This cleverly-constructed device, recycling two humble beer bottles and repurposing them for greater things, was developed a few scant years ago by ingenious undergraduates at the University of Oregon seeking an environmentally-friendly way to discard of their spent beverage containers. Minutes of discussion and brainstorming resulted in an initial prototype, which was painstakingly refined over several iterations. After years of research and development, the trombottle was finally released to the public in the summer of 2009.
Deceptively simple, the trombottle is constructed of two beer bottles, one slightly larger than the other. Both have their base removed (a simple task for an experienced glass cutter). The larger of the bottles is turned on its end, its neck plugged, and filled with water. The smaller of the bottles, upright, nestles cozily in its larger brother. The instrument is played by gracefully blowing across the top of the smaller bottle—as with a flute—while moving the smaller bottle up and down in the larger, effectively changing its water level and thereby the pitch. Such an elegant concept, so simple in its execution!
Finally, after years of labor, its creators have consented to provide the world with a short performance. Featured below is a performance of the Bottle Waltz, a commissioned piece written by renowned composer Keith Kirchoff. Joseph Barker, the world's foremost trombottle virtuoso, solos accompanied by accomplished bottle performers Joe and L.
Sheet music, as well as opportunities for engaging the performers, available upon request.
1 Yeah, most unique. You heard me.