Instruments have been made in every conceivable shape and form. Here we list some of the most unusual instruments we’ve ever come across, many of which you probably didn’t even know existed!
The Zeusaphone or Singing Tesla Coil
By altering a standard Tesla coil, the creators of the Zeusaphone were able to produce a sound similar to that of an analogue synthesiser. Not particularly impressive audio-wise, but the sparks of lightening look cool. And I really want to see one up close… But, maybe that’s just me.
- The Glass Armonica
This instrument takes playing glasses to the next level. A row of glass cups are attached length-ways along a rotating metal axis. The glasses are kept wet using a diluted vinegar solution. Sound is produced by running a finger along the edge of the glass, whereby the friction produces the heavenly tones of the Glass Harmonica. The modern Glass Harmonica was designed by none other than Benjamin Franklin.
- The Yaybahar
Created by Görkem Sen, the Yaybahar is a curious looking instrument comprised of several wooden poles, drums, strings, and coiled springs. The sound of the strings is echoed back and fourth by the springs creating a wide and mesmerising sound. It’s the perfect instrument for hippies to space out to.
- The Great Stalacpipe Organ
Located in the Luray Caverns of Virginia, USA, the Great Stalacpipe Organ uses the stalactites to produce sound. Little rubber hammers, activated by pressing keys on the console of the organ, knock against the stalactites. The sound reverberates around the entirety of the 14km squared area of the caverns. Well worth the trip to see if you ever get chance.
- Marble Machine
Built by Martin Molin of the band Wintergatan, the Marble Machine creates sound by feeding steel marbles up and down through the machine which then fall onto musical instruments. The machine is powered by a hand-crank and uses multiple controlled gates to time the release of the marbles. The best part about the Marble Machine is the fact that it looks like a real-life Tim Burton creation. We felt the video was needed here.
- The Theremin
The eerie sound of the Theremin is produced without physical contact with the instrument, which means is looks pretty weird when someone plays one. I’ve actually been lucky enough to get a go on a theremin, it’s not like many people own these things, despite them being a pop culture novelty and can confirm they’re as odd to play as you’d expect. The instrument was invented by Russian physicist Leon Theremin during the Russian Civil War. The Theremin’s weird and eerie sound has been used in numerous movies and in contemporary concert music.
- The Waterphone
While you might not have known the Waterphone existed it is highly likely you’ve heard it in action. After being created in the late 1960s, the Waterphone has been used regularly to add suspense in movies. If you’ve seen Poltergeist, The Matrix, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Let the Right One In, or a number of other movies, then you’ve heard the horrifying and mysterious sound of the Waterphone. The instrument consists of a resonator bowl surrounded by bronze rods. To produce a sound a bow is run across the bronze rods.