Video: Musician creates instrument from Greene King bottles

A DEVOTEE of a Suffolk-brewed ale has combined his love of music with passion for beer by creating an orchestra using only pint glasses and bottles.

Laurence Cawley

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A DEVOTEE of a Suffolk-brewed ale has combined his love of music with passion for beer by creating an orchestra using only pint glasses and bottles.

Jonathan Vincent's favourite tipple is Old Speckled Hen, which is brewed by Greene King in Bury St Edmunds.


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In tribute to the beer, Mr Vincent meticulously created an orchestra from bottles and pint glasses and produced a version of Beethoven's Ode to Joy.

Having created his unusual musical instrument in his shed, he sent off his amateur footage to the Bury-based brewer.

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Bosses at Greene King were so impressed by his efforts they offered to film the recital professionally.

Dubbed 'Ode to Hen' by the classically-trained pianist, the performance was delivered in a pub by a tuxedo-clad Mr Vincent, who lives in Kent, and his musician friend Graham Mann on 36 bottles and 24 pints of cask beer with various amounts of the ale in each designed to create a pitch perfect sound.

Mr Vincent said: “Old Speckled Hen is my favourite ale and I wanted to provide a fitting homage to its special qualities. As a musician, I obviously felt the best way to do this was through music, so I constructed an instrument using “Old Speckled Hen” bottles and pint glasses.

“I came up with the idea after blowing into bottles and found that they made an amazing sound. A twist on the original classical piece was born.

“It's fairly straightforward to get a note out of a bottle or pint glass, but quite a challenge to create a fully playable musical instrument. The varying amounts of liquid in each glass and bottle had to be at the correct level. Needless to say there was a lot of drinking research undertaken to get it right.

“I was really pleased with the results - so decided to send it to Greene King and was absolutely thrilled when they invited me to film the piece professionally. The arrangement takes some liberties with Beethoven's theme too, but I think this gives it my own special take. The creation and tuning of the 'instrument' was particularly enjoyable, mainly because it involved drinking the excess beer with friends.”

Old Speckled Hen brewer John Bexon said: “It's great to see Old Speckled Hen has inspired such creativity and devotion in one of its fans, and Jonathan's musical 'Ode to Hen' is a really fitting tribute to a true English institution. What a fantastic performance.”

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