Did you know that the theremin is an instrument that can be played without having physical contact at all? Musical instruments exist in many different forms, and we have curated a list of the strangest of them all. While the following instruments come in unusual forms, they each utilize clever ways to produce sounds - some of them even integrating with nature. Read on to find out what these instruments are!
Are you fascinated by the idea of playing music by just waving your hands in the air? At the top of our list, the theremin may just be the strangest instrument. Comprising of 2 metal antennas, the theremin produces sound by sending amplified electric signals to a loudspeaker.
A thereminist controls the sound by moving their hands around the theremin, without actually coming into physical contact with the instrument. The two antennas sense the relative position of the thereminist’s hands and control frequency (pitch) and amplitude (volume) oscillators - the loop antenna on the left controls the volume while the upright antenna controls the pitch.
Check out the video below featuring Peter Pringle on the Theremin performing Harold Arlen’s “Over The Rainbow”.
This fragile instrument comprises of a series of rotating glass bowls graduating in size to produce tones via friction. The design of the glass harmonica was perfected by Benjamin Franklin, who mounted the bowls horizontally on an iron spindle. The spindle is then turned by operating a foot pedal. With Franklin’s design, it is possible to play ten bowls simultaneously if desired, something that is very difficult to achieve using upright wine glasses, the predecessor to the glass harmonica.
Check out the video below featuring William Zeitler performing his arrangement of Tchaikowsky’s “Dance Of The Sugar Plum Fairy” for the glass harmonica.
Sharing a similar sound with woodwind instruments, this unique instrument differs by producing sounds hydraulically. A player blocks the flow of water through a particular hole in order to sound a particular note. The sound is produced by using water jets to strike perforated spinning disks, shafts or valves, to create a pulsating water flow.
Check out the video below featuring Ryan Janzen performing "Suite for Hydraulophone” together with the Hart House Symphonic Band.
Located in Zadar, Croatia, the sea organ is an experimental musical instrument combining nature and music together. Utilising the waves from the sea to push air into a series of whistles and perforations on the stairs, the sea organ produces sounds that are random yet in harmony. Check out the video below to see the sea organ in action!
The Singing Ringing Tree
Finishing the list, the Singing Ringing Tree is part sculpture, part instrument. It makes use of the wind to produce penetrating choral sounds. These sounds cover a range of several octaves through the means of galvanised steel pipes which are cut and tuned to produce their respective pitches. The Singing Ringing Tree is located at the Pennine hill range overlooking Burnley, in Lancashire, England.
Check out the video below to see the Singing Ringing Tree in action!
Play on and Tinkle Away!!