The Baschet Brothers refers to two French brothers named François Baschet (born 30 March 1920, in Paris; died 11 February 2014) and Bernard Baschet (born 24 August 1917, Paris; died 17 July 2015) who collaborated on creating sound sculptures and inventing musical instruments, such as the cristal Baschet. François Baschet was a sculptor and Bernard Baschet an engineer. The Baschet Brothers invented the inflatable guitar, the aluminum piano and many other experimental musical instruments. They created an "educational instrumentarium" for exposing young people to musical concepts.
. Baschet‘s research started in the 1950s artistic turmoil, soon turning the two brothers into the pioneers of sound sculpture, in addition to making them highly requested by musicians, composers, experimental directors.
François had wanted to be an artist, but his father warned him against pursuing the unstable life of an artist. He decided to study business in college, but felt no passion for it. After World War II, which had interrupted his education, he decided to travel around the world. He brought with him on his trip a guitar to help him earn a living, but wanting something more portable he invented an inflatable guitar using a balloonand a collapsible wood neck. He continued to perform with this guitar upon his return to Paris. Soon he and his brother, who had studied engineering, began collaborating on sculptural musical instruments.
Beginning in 1952, the Baschets started research into all existing musical instruments and put this knowledge to work in creating dozens of structures sonores (i.e., 'sonorous sculptures'). Their visually striking instruments were crafted out of steel and aluminum and amplified by large curved conical sheets of metal, and are most often easy to play and accessible to people with any level of experience. One example of this is the Hemisfair Musical Fountain, which consists of an array of posts at the top of which are groups of conical sound diffusers, and above them circles of metal prongs. These are played by jets of water aimed by observers.
In 1954, the brothers met Jacques and Yvonne Lasry. Jacques was a pianist and composer and Yvonne was an organist. The four formed an association which they called "Lasry-Baschet Sound Structures." They held their first concerts in 1955. The group was successful and in 1960 were asked by Jean Cocteau to provide music for his film, Le Testament d'Orphée. The group toured, appearing on television shows including The Ed Sullivan Show. In 1966 they were invited to hold an exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art and director Alfred Barr purchased a sculpture for the museum's collection. Their tune Manège was also used as theme for the Granada TV program Picture Box, which ran in the United Kingdom from 1966 to 1990.