You’ve probably seen something like this before in movies and TV shows. A particular scene where a character sings up to the point where they hit a note so high and intense that it breaks all the glass in the vicinity, even the windows.
Another particular thing that you’ve probably seen many times, a woman in an orchestra releasing an earthshaking high note that shatters Champagne flutes. Monocles crack and the chandelier explodes as the power of her voice wreaks havoc on the concert hall. This scene is too common in countless cartoons and comedies, but is this parody based on reality?
Can an opera singer really shatter glass?
To most people, this may just seem like a cartoonish exaggeration. But, believe it or not, with enough practice to attain the right pitch and volume, this is actually possible.
Physics suggests that a voice should be able to break glass. And that’s what exactly what Scottish YouTuber Mike Boyd wants to accomplish in the latest video of his Learn Quick series. Mike challenged himself to learn how to break glass using only his voice.
It took him 4 hours, 29 minutes of practice over the course of 14 days before he gained the ability to shatter a crystal wine glass with the power of his voice.
Watch the video here:
So how is this scientifically possible?
Well to begin with, sound is also a form of energy, just like electricity. It travels through various substances in waves. When a sound wave comes in contact with a certain object, it excites the particles present in that object, causing its particles to vibrate against themselves.
Glass wine goblets are especially resonant because of their hollow tubular shape, which is why they make a pleasant ringing sound when clinked. An empty glass is also easier to shatter than a glass filled with wine or water. Furthermore, minor defects in the structure of the glass can also help to shatter it more easily, as these defects provide ideal weak spots.
So if a person sings the same tone as that ringing sound when glass clinked — a high C according to legend but in reality the matching pitch could be any note — the sound of your voice will vibrate the air molecules around the glass at its resonant frequency, causing the glass to start vibrating as well. And if you sings loudly enough, the glass will vibrate itself to smithereens.
If you’ve ever doubted your ability to accomplish new things, Mike Boyd’s YouTube channel is the inspiration you’ve been seeking.
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