5 Wonderfully Weird Musical Instruments

As many traditional instruments that exist in worldwide music, from violins to gamelan gongs, from timpani drums to shakuhachi flutes, there is an even wider world of musical instruments out there–the gorgeous and strange, the “wonderfully weird” combinations of music and sculpture into fantastic (and playable) pieces of art.

OddMusic.com chronicles many strange and beautiful instruments from around the world. Here is just a small sample of these inspired creations:



If you’re a fan of classic 1950s sci-fi films, you’ll recognize the theremin’s spooky, slightly warbly sound. Played with two hands that never actually touch the instrument itself, the theremin uses electrostatic fields around its double antennas to create that unsettling tone. Move your hands within the two fields to control the pitch and volume of the sound, and soon you’ll be expertly weirding your friends out. (Note: the theremin was and still is actually still being built and played today in music outside of film soundtracks. There are actually “thereminists” that play professionally, because the instrument can be used to play actual melodies as well as provide a few spine-tingling notes.)

More about the Theremin at OddMusic.com



The Rumitone is a musical instrument you can get into–literally! Like a cross between church bells and a playground sculpture, the variously-sized hollow metal cylinders whirl slowly around the player as he or she strikes their sides with mallets, creating a soft wind-chime-like sound. The player can also blow across the tops of the cylinders or bow across them for different sound effects. Playing the Rumitone is as much a dance as it is a musical performance, melding audio and visual into one lovely, ethereal experience for the viewer/listener.

More about the Rumitone at OddMusic.com



Who ever thought of combining the traditional Irish bodhran drum with an Australian didjeridu (also spelled didgeridoo)? Barry Hall, the inventor of this hybrid instrument, did! You can play it as a drum with hands or a small stick, as the bodhran is played, or you can blow into the side of the circular hollow frame of the drum to produce the haunting low tones of the didjeridu. Or, if you want to get really fancy, you can do both at the same time, combining melody with rhythm in one handheld instrument!

More about the Didjbodhran at OddMusic.com



Whenever you need a 20-foot-long horn, look up the windform–the Australian sculptor Garry Greenwood created this musical sculpture completely out of leather, and it’s perfectly playable! (The flared end of the horn kind of reminds me of a phonograph… :D) It may not sound much different from a regular big horn, but it’ll be a new experience to play a horn that’s as long as a boat!

More about the Windform at OddMusic.com


Sea Organ

You won’t be able to pick this instrument up and take it with you, but you can sit on the shore in Zadar, Croatia, and listen as the ocean water itself plays this cunningly crafted set of stairs. Designed and built by Nikola Basic in 2005, the air holes in the top step of the sea organ take in air as the waves push it toward shore, and the hidden set of pipes underneath the stairs produce soft, breathy tones tuned to work together even while played randomly by nature. The random nature of the notes evokes an orchestra tuning up before a concert, and the notes perfectly accompany a peaceful day by the water.

More about the Sea Organ at OddMusic.com

More Weird Musical Instruments

Explore the rest of OddMusic.com’s Weird Musical Instruments Gallery and find your next favorite sound. Who knows, you might even want to seek out and play some of these instruments yourself!

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