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9 surprising instruments!

9 surprising instruments!

When genius inventors who are also musicians tackle something that's been on the brain, it results in some new and pretty crazy instruments that produce sound that is just as wacky!

Discover nine impressive and surprising unknown instruments.

1- The Glass Harmonica

You’ve certainly heard of Benjamin Franklin. He's known as one of the founding fathers of the USA and for his contributions to discovering electricity. Amongst his famous inventions which include bifocals and lightning rods, he also gave us the glass harmonica.

It’s a simple concept: wet fingers create friction against a series of glass bowls of different sizes to create different musical tones. The introduction of Shine on You Crazy Diamond from Pink Floyd has parts of it played with this instrument.

Friction between fingers and the crystal produce the sounds of the glass harmonica.

In the 19th century, this instrument was banned in Germanyon the grounds that it made animals roar and could cause potential mental distress for those practicing it. It also was labeled with the nickname "instrument of the devil." But this still didn’t stop Mozart from composing an adagio especially for it!

2- The Jew’s Harp

The Jew's harp, also referred to as the jaw harp, is considered to be one of the oldest musical instruments in the world. The earliest written record dates back to the third century before Christ.

A Jew's harp from the Gallo-Roman era.

It uses a slat activated by the finger as a vibrating element and the mouth of the musician as a resonance cavity. It can be found in many Western soundtracks by Italian composer Ennio Morricone.

3- The Sea Organ

The sea organ from Zadar, Croatia.

A true architectural and ingenious work of art, this infrastructure, found on the Croatian coast of Zadar, uses the force of water rushing into cavities under a set of large marble steps to create harmonic sounds from the ocean!

4- The Singing Ringing Tree

The musical sculpture overlooking the Lancashire region of the UK.

Another work of art that also acts as an instrument and hailing from Burnley, England this wind powered tubular sculpture produces a space-like sound worthy of the greatest science fiction movies!

5- The Octobass

The Octobass is four meters long and has only three strings.

The largest (and rarest) from the string family, this giant double bass requires somebody measuring at least 4 meters (13+ feet) or a musician with a very tall stool.

6- The Fire Organ (a.k.a pyrophone)

A pyrophone in 1870

This organ is operated by combustion. Flames project into its cylinders creating a hot air blast that produces an explosive sound.

7- The Water Organ (a.k.a. hydraulophone)

The hydraulophone of Toronto, Canada.

After flames, comes the water! This instrument, similar to wind instruments, uses water instead of air. A giant hydraulophone exists in Toronto, Canada.

8- The Pikasso Guitar

The "Pikasso guitar" in the hands of its creator, luthier Linda Manzer.

Taking its name from the famous artist and for its cubic form, this guitar has several sets of strings in order to produce original and unique sounds ranging from the mandolin to the bass to the sitar!!

9- Le Theremin

Alexandra Stepanoff playing the theremin in 1930.

Considered the oldest electronic instrument (circa 1919), it is also the ancestor of the synthesizer. The theremin is played without ever touching the instrument! With movement of the hands and arms, the waves interact and influence the different frequencies. Similar to the sound of a stringed instrument, the technology for the time period and the practice of this instrument make it a unique musical tool.