If you have come across some very rare musical instruments in the past, I assure you that is nothing compared to the amazing instruments I am going to show you today!! Here you will the most unusual instruments ever created, including some you probably never heard of before.
The count down starts with the Yaybahar, a new electric-free, totally acoustic instrument designed by Istanbul-based musician Gorkem Sen. The vibrations from the strings are transmitted via the coiled springs to the frame drums. These vibrations are turned into sound by the membranes which echo back and forth on the coiled springs. This results in a unique listening experience with a hypnotic surround sound.
The Chapman Stick (The Stick) is an electric musical instrument devised by Emmett Chapman in the early 1970s. Member of the guitar family, the Chapman Stick usually has ten or twelve individually tuned strings and has been used on music recordings to play bass lines, melody lines, chords, or textures. Designed as a fully polyphonic chordal instrument, it can also cover several of these musical parts simultaneously.
A hydraulophone is a tonal acoustic musical instrument played by direct physical contact with water (sometimes other fluids) where a sound is generated or affected hydraulically. It was invented by the Canadian engineer Steve Mann and has been used as a sensory exploration device for low vision individuals.
Is an early electronic musical instrument controlled without physical contact by the thereminist. It is named after the westernized name of its Russian inventor Léon Theremin, who patented the device in 1928.
Japanese artist Yoshihiko Satoh takes mass-produced goods and alters or multiplies them to “unleash the energy residing in their function and shape”. Or, simply speaking, he multiples them by awesome. His guitar sculptures above are by far his most impressive works, however, he’s also experimented with exaggerated length in irons, toy trucks, and even functional mopeds.
Worldwide one of a kind, the Vegetable Orchestra performs on instruments made of fresh vegetables. The utilization of various ever refined vegetable instruments creates a musically and aesthetically unique sound universe.
The Great Stalacpipe Organ is an electrically actuated lithophone located in Luray Caverns, Virginia, USA. It is operated by a custom console that produces the tapping of ancient stalactites of varying sizes with solenoid-actuated rubber mallets in order to produce tones. It was designed and implemented in 1956 over three years by Leland W. Sprinkle inside the Luray Caverns near Shenandoah National Park in Virginia, USA.
Symphonic House, a 6,200-square-foot, $2.4 million concrete and wood structure with Scandinavian and Japanese touches. It not only emphasizes natural sounds but is an instrument in its own right, from windows that can be adjusted to let in the wind’s song to the huge “house harp” in the living room.
The zeusaphone or thoramin, is a form of plasma speaker. It is a variation of a solid-state Tesla coil that has been modified to produce musical tones by modulating its spark output. The resulting pitch is a low fidelity square wave-like sound reminiscent of an analog synthesizer.
The Australian musician Jon Rose is a “fencologist” who has played music on all types of fences – from barbed wires to army fences – worldwide. Whether it was playing the old 1967 border between Syria and Israel or the Strzelecki Desert, Rose, for the past 30 or so years, has been playing the fence with a bow.
Aeolus is the ruler of the four winds in Greek Mythology and also a new giant stringed musical instrument designed to resonate and sing with the wind without any electrical power or amplification. If you’d like to hear the sound it makes please check this video.
The Singing Ringing Tree is a wind-powered sound sculpture resembling a tree set in the landscape of the Pennine hill range overlooking Burnley, in Lancashire, England. Listen to its unusual sound.
The Janko keyboard is an alternate musical keyboard layout for pianos designed by Paul von Jankó in 1882. Each chord, scale, and interval has a consistent shape and can be played with the same fingering, regardless of its pitch or what the current key is. If you know a piece of music in one key you can transpose it simply by starting at a different pitch because the fingering is the same in every key. Here is a demonstration.
A pipe organ entirely made of ice inside the first and the largest Ice Hotel in the world. The organ was build in 2004 by the American Artist and Ice Sculptor Tim Linhart. While working as an ice sculptor at Sweden’s famous Ice Hotel, Tim found the perfect conditions he needed for the instrument, a consistent 22°F degree temperature.
What can you make out of some maple wood, cello strings, harpsichord pegs, and a fishbowl? Well, you could make one Uncello as Mr. Dennis Báthory-Kitsz did.
The Earth Harp is the longest stringed instrument in the world, with strings that extend up to 1,000 feet in length. The Earth Harp’s first installation featured the resonating chamber mounted on one side of a valley with the strings stretched out nearly 1,000 ft to the other side. How does the Earth Harp work? The Earth Harp is played using violin resin on cotton gloves and musical bows. The performer’s hands are run along the strings to created beautiful cello-like tones. The act of rubbing the strings creates a longitudinal compression wave.
The marriage of a euphonium and a lavatory. It was made for a concert of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra on April Fools’ Day 1960, at which the instrument was played. The man who did it was the orchestra’s principal flautist Fritz Spiegl.
A 22,000 lb vibratory compactor, turned into a 2000 lb music box, capable of being moved through a single door, and installed in a second-floor gallery–and of playing The Star-Spangled Banner.
Invented and built by Cris Forster, the Chrysalis was his first concert-sized instrument. The instrument’s design was inspired by a huge, round, stone-hewn Aztec calendar. Cris thought to himself, “What if there were a musical instrument in the shape of a wheel? And what if this wheel had strings for spokes, could spin, and when played, would sound like the wind?”
Its name ostensibly derived from its likeness in appearance to the cubist works of Pablo Picasso. The instrument is a harp guitar with four necks, two sound holes, and 42 strings. It has a unique wedge-shaped body. The original was built in 1984 for jazz guitarist Pat Metheny.
What do you get if you cross a dead badger with a theremin? Dubbed the Badgermin, this intimate combination of deceased mammal and the weird electronic musical instrument will tantalize your ears as well as your eyes. Not my favourite instrument.
A massive solar-powered music box with 11,520 holes…and no home.
Athanasius Kircher, a 17th-century German Jesuit scholar, documented some fantastical devices including the Katzenklavier (“cat piano”). Here’s Reil’s description of the machine: “An octave’s worth of cats arranged in a row with their tails stretched behind them. And a keyboard fitted out with sharpened nails would be set over them. The struck cats would provide the sound. As far as anyone knows, nobody’s ever constructed a true Cat Piano, and we sure hope no one will.
The serpent is the bass wind instrument, descended from the cornett, and a distant ancestor of the tuba, with a mouthpiece like a brass instrument but side holes like a woodwind. It is usually a long cone bent into a snakelike shape, hence the name. The serpent is closely related to the cornett, although it is not part of the cornett family, due to the absence of a thumb hole.
The Nellophone is an instrument made of a tube (1,8 to 9 meters long), arranged in a circle of 3,6 meters wide. The player is standing in the middle of the instrument and slaps the opening of the tubes with some special paddles. The pitch of each tube is defined by its length.
Originally constructed in June 1995 as a side instrument for The Lyle and Sparkleface Band, the bikelophone has evolved into a palette of sonic exploration. The bikelophone produces sounds ranging from tranquil bliss to cacophonic terror. Using a loop-based recording system and outboard signal processors (reverbs, delays, pitch shifts, etc.), sound compositions are built in layers.
In celebration of the International Women’s Day on 8 March, here we will take a…