How to Play the Wine Glass

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

-A simple trick that's entertaining and fun. Also, Roommate needs to moisturize his hands more often.-

During my vacation in Mexico at Food Blogger Camp we all took our dinners together, gathering around at the restaurant tables and gabbing away about the day's excursions, lessons, and arguing over who had the worst bug bites (I was usually the winner of that delightful game). At one point during the conversation I absentmindedly began twirling my finger over the rim of my wine glass, slowly watching the Chardonnay inside ripple and jump with sonic excitement before it suddenly went still and the glass rang with a crystal clear tone. The conversation came to an unintended halt and all eyes fell upon me.

"Oh!" I gasped, and pulled my hands away from the table securing them firmly in each other's grip on my lap. "Bad habit. Don't even know I'm doing it," I apologized. I went a little red and encouraged the conversation to continue about, oh, probably tacos or Google search optimization. You know, food blogger stuff.

"How did you do that?" Lori asked.

A short lesson later eight wine glasses were being played at the table. A chorus of wine strummed rings in (dis)harmony rang through the restaurant, much to our amusement and joy, but not so to those around us as we drowned out conversation and, undoubtedly, ruptured an ear drum or two.

I figured, then, that I would share with you how to play the wine glass. It's shockingly easy to do, though if you're looking for perfect pitch and chord that's another thing entirely, requiring a good ear and lots of patience. Plus, it makes for a neat little trick that usually entertains people at the dinner table. At least, for a moment.

How to Play a Wine Glass
1. Choose your wine glass. It should be light and thing, not some heavy goblet. Avoid stemless, you want a wine glass with a stem to hold onto and if you would the bowl of it you'll prevent the glass from vibrating.

2. Fill the wine glass with water about halfway.

3. Wet the print of your pointer finger and shake off the excess.

4. Hold the stem of the wine glass with your other hand, and with the wetted finger begin running it around the rim of the wine glass. You will need to exert some pressure and you may worry that the bowl might shatter underneath your finger; it won't, so don't worry. Run it around the glass with a medium speed. Eventually, you will find the right pressure and speed. If you see the water ripple you're just about there.

5. Eventually, you'll feel it out and get a ringing sound. To alter the pitch alter the amount of water. The more water you add the deeper the tone. The more you take out, the higher.

Keep practicing and soon you might be able to, I dunno, play the theme to the Harry Potter films or something.

-You'll have to pardon my video. I took it on my point and shoot camera so that sound isn't great but you should be able to get the gist of it.-


  1. It's one of my bad habits as well :) I learned it as a teenager and got yelled at by my parents all the time. Now, I do it only when my mind wanders off and am alone or with friends.

    What an interesting blog piece, I don't know if I could dissect the art as well as you did, Bravo.

  2. I think I'm having a flashback. I used to do that before but unaware that I was actually playing with the rim. I must be thinking of something else. As always, interesting post.

  3. ah yes, but can you hang a spoon from your nose? we used to try to combine spoon-from-nose with wineglass-playing at the end of big fancy meals at my parents' house.

  4. My daughter has an amazing voice but I irritate her because every time she visits I ask her to sing; anything.

    She has decided it's time for payback so has decided to draw me in; for a time I was forced to sing a song in harmony but that was a joke, I not only don't sing but then ask for harmony...please.

    With greater success she decided I would accompany her with a wine glass and that seemed appropo; song is her thing and wine is mine. I do not accompany her; she instead tries to sing a tune to accompany this post has brought back some great fun memories!

    We've not done any case studies but I seriously believe that I get better if I accompany myself too...with wine!

  5. Lol...I used to do that and it drove my mother crazy.This brings back a lot of memories :)

  6. This reminds me of a Jennifer Saunders bit from Clatterford. So bad, but so good. Hee!

  7. It will be better to take red glasses for playing with wine glasses s it give you more space and dipper pot. so there is no possibility of dropping out the wine. In my last birth day, One of friends did these ... :)


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