We can guarantee that you’ve probably never used (or even heard of) these 25 bizarre and unique musical instruments.
The contrabass balalaika is a Russian folk instrument that was developed in the late 17th century. It looks strange because unlike other stringed musical instruments, it has a triangular body. Played with fingers or leather plectrums, this instrument is normally equipped with extension legs resting on the floor and comes in various sizes.
American fotoplayer was introduced in 1912 and was developed by the American Fotoplayer Company. This musical instrument is a type of player piano that was especially developed to provide sound effects for silent movies during the early 19th century.
Invented in 1967, a stylophone is an analog stylus-operated synthesizer that was introduced by Brian Jarvis.
Designed by Manzer, the Pikasso guitar is a notable instrument whose name was derived from its likeness to the appearance of the cubist works of renowned artist Pablo Picasso. This instrument is basically a harp guitar that has four necks, two sound holes and 42 strings.
Theremin or Aetherphone
Originally known as “aetherphone,” theremin is an early electronic musical instrument that can be controlled without physical contact. Named after its Russian inventor Leon Theremin, this instrument has a controlling section that consists of two metal antennas which can sense the relative position of the thereminist’s hands and control oscillators for frequency.
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Popularized in Hungary, cimbalom is a concert hammered dulcimer that features a large trapezoidal box with metal strings stretched across its top.
Also known as “armonica,” “bowl organ” or “hydrocrystalophone,” glass harmonica is a musical instrument that uses a series of glass bowls or goblets graduated in size to produce a broad range of musical tones through friction.
A crwth is an ancient stringed musical instrument that is sometimes called as “crowd.” This musical instrument is believed to have been played in Wales since the 11th century.
Also known as “Martenot Waves,” Ondes Martenot is an electronic instrument that was invented in 1928 by Maurice Martenot. Its known for its eerie wavering notes.
Jew’s Harp or Gewgaw is a lamellophone musical instrument that belongs to the group known as plucked idiophones. It consists of a flexible metal or bamboo tongue that is attached to a frame. This tongue is placed in the mouth of the performer and is plucked with the finger to produce a note.
The wheelharp is known to produce the rich sounds of many stringed instruments at once. It is basically a keyboard that controls 61 bowed strings, allowing a single musician to sound like an actual orchestra.
Also known as hardanger fiddle, hardingfele is a type of violin that has twice as many strings as a normal violin and originated in Norway.
Singing Ringing Tree
Designed by Mike Tonkin and Anna Liu, the Singing Ringing Tree is a musical instrument that is made of steel pipes of various lengths and orientations.
A custom instrument especially made for Bjork, gameleste is a hybrid combination of a gamelan and celesta.
This musical instrument is a solar-powered music box that is also known as “barrel harp.” It is basically a perforated cylinder that contains 11,520 holes into which a musician plugs pins to create melodies. These cylinders rotate and the pins start to pluck strings, creating the sound.
Holophonor is a musical instrument and a hologram projector in one. Previously a fictional instrument, it was turned into reality by Harrison Krix when he converted an old clarinet by adding 54 LED lights. Only a few people can play holophonors well.
This musical instrument is an organ that is powered by water. It starts producing sound when the musician covers one or more of the water jets, forcing the water through a calibrated pipe.
This musical instrument was originally developed by African slaves in Peru. It is a wooden boxed used as a percussion instrument, of which one side has a sound hole and the other is made of thin plywood.
Lur is a wooden Viking wind instrument that was introduced during the middle ages.
Rising to popularity during the 1920s, this harp is played by rubbing it with a pair of rosined gloves in order to create friction.
A branching corrugahorn is an experimental musical instrument that is made from flexible corrugated pipe normally found in the pulmonary care ward of a hospital.
Nyckelharpa is a Swedish musical instrument that is composed of 16 strings and 37 keys. It was introduced early 1350 C.E. and is considered as the oldest existing instrument today.
This shocking instrument produces music through Tesla coils and its named after the Greek god Zeus.
Literally meaning “fire sound,” a pyrophone is a musical instrument that features a series of pipes like an organ or calliop and creates sound by applying combustion to the pipes through gasoline.
Didgeridoo is a musical instrument that originated from the aboriginal people of Northern Australia. Some consider it as the oldest aerophone in the world, dating back some 40,000 years.