25 Bizarre And Unique Musical Instruments

Posted by , Updated on January 22, 2024

We can guarantee that you’ve probably never used (or even heard of) these 25 bizarre and unique musical instruments.



Contrabass Balalaika

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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

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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.



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Invented in 1967, a stylophone is an analog stylus-operated synthesizer that was introduced by Brian Jarvis.


Pikasso Guitar

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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

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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.


Glass Harmonica

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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.



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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.


Ondes Martenot

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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

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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.



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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.



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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

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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.



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A custom instrument especially made for Bjork, gameleste is a hybrid combination of a gamelan and celesta.



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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.



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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.



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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.



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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.



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Lur is a wooden Viking wind instrument that was introduced during the middle ages.


Friction Harp

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Rising to popularity during the 1920s, this harp is played by rubbing it with a pair of rosined gloves in order to create friction.


Branching Corrugahorn

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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.



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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.



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This shocking instrument produces music through Tesla coils and its named after the Greek god Zeus.



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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.



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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.