The Natural Resonant Frequency of Glass

By Meg Senuta

December 21, 2015

The Natural Resonant Frequency of Glass

We lingered after dinner in a cavernous ill-lit restaurant that was empty, except for my husband and me, and our two young boys, and a couple who were seated far on the other side of the room. Warm and full, we were in no hurry to suit up for winter, which waited outdoors. I dipped my finger in my water glass and ran it evenly around the rim. After a few circles, it started to sing, a fragile ethereal sound, a sound of the soul. My boys, intrigued, dipped their own fingers in their glasses and as each got the hang of it, each glass sang its own note. My husband joined in. The four of us made a noisy, harmonium chorus, an angelic music that soared in the room, as if the floor-to-ceiling windows were joining in, collecting the energy and reflecting it in the darkened windows of the restaurant, the candles of the tables glinting in the glass. The snow outside glowed slightly visible, like a bleached coral reef deep in the ocean. The chorus rose to a crescendo, louder and louder and then one by one, we stopped, until the last glass went still. We smiled at each other, as if we’d discovered something. Then, from the far side of the room, we heard a faint response—the couple seated there rimming their glasses. We felt it was an answer, a connection, and we listened until their music went silent, too.

 

Photo: "replete" provided by Jenny Downing via Flickr.com creative commons license. (Photo cropped to square)

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