The 15 most weird instruments of all time: Which one ranks as the most bizarre?
Musical instruments play an integral role in creating melodies. These tools provide the diversity and range needed to produce varying tones, from drums to the guitar and the violin. However, some instruments push the boundaries of conventional music-making with peculiar designs and unique sounds. Which ones are they? And which weird instruments in the musical world are the most bizarre?
Weird musical instruments are musicians' unconventional or bizarre tools that challenge traditional musical expectations. They offer unique creative expression and sonic experimentation opportunities, ranging from eerie to ethereal sounds. Weird musical instruments open new doors for musical exploration and discovery.
The 15 most weird instruments
Musicians worldwide have used weird musical instruments in countless different genres and styles. These devices provide an exciting range for modern musicians to experiment with various kinds of music.
Undoubtedly, the variety of strange-looking, odd-sounding devices is vast and exciting. What is the most uncommon instrument? Below are the 15 most bizarre music apparatus ever.
1. Hornucopian dronepipe
What is the weirdest-looking instrument? The Hornucopian dronepipe takes the spot for the most oddest looking musical instrument. The device is a 3D-printed wind instrument that produces a continuous drone sound with low tones when played. This instrument was developed by MONAD Studios' Eric Goldemberg and Veronica Zalcberg together with luthier Scott F Hall.
The Badgermin is among the top weirdest-looking instruments in the world. The Badgermin is a theremin (an electronic musical instrument) and a stuffed badger. David Cranmer invented the strange music apparatus.
This unique instrument is a creation of composer Victor Gama. Also known as the Totem Harp, the device requires two musicians to play. According to the inventor, the Toha receives inspiration from some iconic birds from Angolan.
4. Cheese Drums
The Cheese Drumkit is a working set of drums made using real cheese. The artist, drum maestro Han Bennink, made the set for the MOCCA exhibition art gallery in Toronto, Canada, in 2005.
5. Contrabass Balalaika
The Balalaika is a Russian stringed musical instrument with a triangular wooden hollow body, fretted neck and three strings. The Contrabass Balalaika is a large version of the Balalaika played with a large leather pick to produce the perfect sound.
6. Cross-Grainger Kangaroo-Pouch Tone-Tool
The Cross-Grainger Kangaroo-Pouch Tone-Tool is an invention by Australian composer Percy Grainger. It uses rolls of paper and oscillators to produce a sound dissimilar to a series of air-raid sirens going off.
The Fluba is a tuba-sized Flugel horn, a cross between a Flugehorn and a tuba. The odd instrument is a creation of Jim Self and Robb Stewart. The sound is directionally forward, and it has a very mellow sound.
8. Hyperbass flute
The hyperbass flute is the most prominent flute family member, with over 15 metres of piping. It produces the lowest-pitched notes of any flute family member, reaching well below the range of a modern piano. With a foot in length, the hyperbass flute is a unique and unusual instrument that produces a hauntingly deep sound.
The Octobass is a rare and unique mid-1800s creation by French luthier Jean-Baptiste Vuillaume. The three-stringed instrument is so massive that it needs levers and pedals to play correctly. It stands at 3.48 metres tall and is a double bass instrument.
10. Pikasso Guitar
The Pikasso Guitar is an odd-looking instrument created by master luthier Linda Manzer in 1984. The guitar, made for American jazz guitarist Pat Metheny, has 42 strings, four necks, and two sound holes.
11. Pyrophone Organ
The Pyrophone Organ is an instrument where explosions sound notes. The device uses rapid combustion, rapid heating, or the like, such as burners in cylindrical glass tubes, to create light and sound. The Pyrophone Organ is a creation of physicist and musician Georges Frédéric Eugène Kastner.
12. Sea Organ
The Sea Organ is an architectural sound art object in Zadar, Croatia. It is an experimental musical instrument that plays music through sea waves and tubes underneath giant marble steps. The Sea Organ is a creation of architect Nikola Bašić. The waves interact with the organ and create somewhat random but harmonic sounds.
The Sharpsichord is a solar-powered pin-barrel harp that plays music through a peg system similar to a music box. It's a perforated cylinder with 11,520 holes into which a musician can insert pins to create melodies. As the cylinders rotate, the pins pluck strings, producing the sound.
14. Singing Ringing Tree
The Singing Ringing Tree is a 3-metre (10 ft) tall, wind-powered sound sculpture resembling a tree set in the landscape of the Pennine hill range overlooking Burnley, in Lancashire, England. The instrument, by architects Mike Tonkin and Anna Liu of Tonkin Liu, comprises galvanised steel pipes that harness the wind's energy to produce sound.
The Stylophone is among the top weird electronic instruments. It is a miniature analogue electronic keyboard musical instrument played with a stylus and invented in 1967 by Brian Jarvis. The Stylophone consists of a metal keyboard made of a printed circuit board. You play the instrument by touching it with a stylus.
What are some weird percussion instruments?
A percussion instrument is a musical instrument that produces sound when struck or scraped by a beater. Some examples of odd percussion instruments include;
- The Cajon: Cajons are played by sitting on top of them and hitting the front end with your hand. The front part of the Cajon comprises plywood, which produces a slapping sound to it when struck.
- Agogo Bells: The Agogo Bells are U-shaped percussion instruments that originated in West Africa from the Yoruba people and are widely used in Samba music.
- Vibraslap: The Vibraslap is an odd-shaped device that produces rattling sounds when struck. It consists of a stiff wire, bent into a U-shape, connecting a wooden ball to a hollow wood box with metal teeth inside.
Why do MuseScore instruments sound weird?
The MuseScore sounds weird because it is a computer-generated synthesised sound, unlike some software that uses real instrument recordings. As a result, they lack the nuances and imperfections that make real instruments sound natural and lifelike.
When is weird musical instruments day?
Unfortunately, there is no weird music instrument day. However, the Uncommon Musical Instrument Awareness Day is on July 31st. It is a day to celebrate and appreciate rarely seen or unique musical instruments that are uncommon.
Weird instruments are plentiful and diverse and result from creativity and innovation. Some notable devices include the Hornucopian dronepipe, Pikasso Guitar and Contrabass Balalaika. Despite their odd designs, these unique musical tools have received critical acclaim from fans and critics who appreciate art.
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