A musical instrument is a gadget or a device that can produce a musical sound. Theoretically, any object that can create sound can be viewed as a musical instrument. However, the object turns out to be a musical instrument through its purpose. In ancient times, musical instruments primarily served the purpose of an alarm in a ritual.
For example, horns were blown to warn everyone about the commencement of a battle, or drums were used to assist the rituals in a religious ceremony. Eventually, as society evolved, their cultural thought processes and compositions developed. This resulted in the invention of various modern-day musical instruments.
You may have come across the question ‘name a musical instrument,’ and the answer would have been pretty simple, like a guitar. But you would be surprised to know that some real weirdest instruments are being used to compose music of various kinds in different parts of the world. Read ahead to know more about these unusual musical instruments and the purpose they serve.
Musical instruments comprise a wide range of variants. These are found in different parts of the world. The various types of music instruments are mainly categorised into five.
These instruments, also known as chordophones, produce sound with the help of vibrating strings present on them. They are hollow inside to let the sound vibrate within them. Examples: Guitar, Violin, Ukulele, Harp, Cello, etc.
These instruments, also called labrophones, create sound by sympathetic in which the vibration of the player’s lips against a tubular resonator in sympathy results in the initial vibration of air in the resonator. Example: Trombone, Trumpet, Tube, French Horn, etc.
These instruments, also termed aerophones, produce sound when the player blows into the instrument with the help of the vibration of air. Example: Clarinet, Flute, Oboe, Harmonica, etc.
These produce sound when one strikes the instrument's surface, generating vibration and creating the required notes. These can even produce sound by shaking or scraping. Examples: Drums, Xylophone, Tambourine, Gongs, etc.
These are built with the latest technology, making it easier for the player to use them. Such instruments produce sound with the help of electricity. Example: Electric Guitar, Electric Violin, Electric Mandolins, Piano Keyboards, etc.
Apart from the regular types, there are some strange, rare musical instruments from various parts of the globe. You may be aware of some, but presumably not with all. Here are some musical instruments names with pictures for your better understanding:
The father of all weird musical instruments is said to be Theremin, as it was one of the first times humans made use of electronics to produce music. The name Theremin was given after its inventor, Leon Theremin, who patented the organ in 1928. This unique instrument is played without direct contact with the musician or the player. It produces an eerie sound and is mostly used in science fiction movies.
Now that you know the mechanism of a Theremin, you will be surprised to know about this weird instrument named Badgermin. Badgermin is created by the electronic artist and sculptor David Cranmer. It is one of the weird musical instruments that is built using a Theremin and a stuffed dead badger. To make a badgermin, a scary-looking badger’s guts are replaced with the electronic theremin. The sound that comes out of this instrument is also weird.
Weird Looking Badgermin
Hyperbass Flute, invented by the flautist and sound artist Roberto Fabbriciani, is a giant-sized rare musical instrument. It is the largest instrument in the entire flute family and has the lowest pitch. This instrument consists of a long tube that reaches almost 8 metres (26 feet) in length. It is mainly pitched in C, with the lowest note as C0. This instrument is below the human hearing range at 16 hertz.
The Sea Organ is an experimental musical instrument and an aspiring project that turned the sea into a musician by utilising the rebuilt seafront in Zadar, Croatia, as a gigantic organ. Croatian architect Nikola Basic created this 230-foot-long Sea Organ. Tubes or pipes placed underneath a set of large steps made of marble along the shoreline react to the crashing sea waves, producing harmonious rhythmic sounds. Tourists visit this place to experience one of the world’s unusual musical instruments.
Built by the French luthier Jean-Baptiste Vuillaume in 1850, the Octobass is an exceptionally large and unusual bowed string instrument. It consists of three strings and is the larger version of the double bass, standing at 3.48m tall. The player or the musician plays this giant instrument using a system of levers and pedals, as the fingerboard length and the string thickness are extreme.
One of the unusual musical instruments, the Hornucopian Dronepipe, is a 3D printed brasswind instrument designed by the MONAD Studio, Veronica Zalcberg and Eric Goldemberg, in collaboration with luthier Scott F. Hall. Like an Australian Didgeridoo, this instrument produces low, sustained pitches.
As the self-explanatory name suggests, Cello Horn is a hybrid musical instrument that looks like a playground slide. In 1936, it made its way into the pages of Popular Science Monthly magazine. It is played by bowing the strings, and the sound comes from the brass horn rather than a classic wooden body. The sound produced was something between brass and strings.
Fluba is a hybrid instrument built by a cross between a Flugelhorn and a Tuba. It comprises the bell of a Tuba and the mouthpiece of a Flugelhorn. The famous tubist and a general low-end enthusiast, Jim Self, came up with the unique concept of creating Fluba in collaboration with Robb Stewart, who was a brass manufacturer. This rare musical instrument has a sharp sound that seems brighter than a Tuba and darker than a Contrabass Trumpet.
To conclude, it can be said that there are innumerable types of musical instruments in this world, of which some stand out to be the real weirdest instruments invented by legendary musicians. The sounds produced by these rare musical instruments are unique and one of a kind. This article gives you an in-depth understanding of such instruments, and you will now be able to name a musical instrument that is weird and unique simultaneously.