CURIOSITIES

Laser Harp, Zeusophone, Theramin and more: the most particular musical instruments that perhaps you did not know

Who says that there are only guitars, pianos and drums? The world of musical instruments is very rich, varied and original.

In fact, there are instruments that are little known all over the world, but equally interesting both for the operating modes and for the type of sound they produce.

Some of these instruments represent variants of traditional instruments such as the flute or double bass, while others are totally original, born from the inventiveness and creativity of musicians, craftsmen, but also of scientists (for example Benjamin Franklin).

Here are some of the most unique tools in the world that you may not have known!

Wikimedia Commons
The most unique musical instruments in the world
Who says there are only guitars, pianos and drums? The world of musical instruments is very rich, varied and original. In fact, there are instruments that are little known all over the world, but equally interesting both for the modes of operation and for the type of sound they produce.  Some of these instruments represent variants of traditional instruments such as the flute or double bass, while others are totally original, born from the inventiveness and creativity of musicians, craftsmen, but also of scientists (for example Benjamin Franklin). Here are some of the most unique instruments in the world that you may not have known!
Miemo, Wikimedia Commons
Laser Harp
The laser harp is an electronic musical instrument formed by a series of laser beams that are played as if they were the strings of a harp. In order to produce sound, the harp must be connected to a synthesizer or a computer, with which particular harmonies can be obtained. The laser  harp is one of the instruments most used in his concerts by the musician French Jean-Michel Jarre.   
Dracoswinsauer, Wikimedia Commons
Zeusophone or Singing Tesla Coil
This is absolutely one of the most absurd musical instruments: it is a kind of plasma speaker, which uses the so-called Tesla coil, modified to produce musical notes. The Tesla coil is a high voltage transformer capable of generating lightning bolts very similar to those of atmospheric origin: the zeusophone, therefore, reproduces musical notes by modulating the sparks of the coil.
Throwawayhack , Wikimedia Commons
Bullroarer 
The bullroarer, or rhombus, is an ancient ritual musical instrument, which was used for hunting and rituals. The oldest specimen was found in Ukraine and dates back to the Paleolithic.  If it is rotated quickly, the bullroarer produces a very deep sound ,   similar to a buzz. 
Hutschi, Wikimedia Commons
Theremin
The theremin is an electronic musical instrument that does not involve the physical contact of the performer with the instrument itself. It was invented in 1919 by the Soviet  physicist Lev Sergeevič Termen and is based on oscillators: the latter produce sound when their characteristics are altered, particularly when the musician's hands enter the wavefield. The control is done by moving the hands away and bringing the antennas closer: The timbre can vary from that of a double bass up to the sound of the violin.  In 1982,Michael Jackson and his collaborators usedtheremin   when creating one of his most famous songs,    "Thriller".
Ji-Elle, Wikimedia Commons
Glass harmonica (or glassarmonica)
The modern glassharmonica was invented in 1761 by Benjamin Franklin, who had the idea of arranging some glasses concentrically along a horizontal axis: the performer produces the sound by resting his fingers (wet with water) on the glasses, producing by rubbing a velvety and crystalline sound. The Pink Floyd used glassharmonica to reinforce the sound of Shine On You Crazy Diamond part 1 - 5.
Thomas Goller, Wikimedia Commons
Pyrophone
Also known as the fire organ, the pyrophone is a gasoline-powered instrument that propagates the sounds produced by combustion and explosion. To be able to play it, therefore, at least some part of the organ must be on fire! This instrument allows in a sense to see sounds, creating a show of music and lights. The note is produced when the main flame is divided into several flames: as soon as these come together again, the sound ceases. By pressing the button corresponding to the reed you want to play, you get the division of the flame and its consequent singing, while releasing the key the flames rejoin, stopping the sound.
Cariafraweb, Wikimedia Commons
Octobass
The octobass is a sort of huge three-stringed double bass, about 3.85 meters high and made for the first time by the luthier French Jean-Baptiste Vuillaume in the nineteenth century. The instrument has never established itself in the orchestral staff, also due to the difficulty in playing it: the thick strings of the octobass are not pressed with the fingers, but with a system of levers, placed at the base of the neck, and pedals controlled by the performer, who at the same time moves the bow while standing on a platform.
LoganCale, Wikimedia Commons
Jew’s harp
This instrument is considered one of the oldest in the world: it is believed that it was also famous among the ancient Romans, who would then export it to France and Great Britain. The scacciapensieri is composed of a metal structure, in the middle of which there is a thin lamella: the instrument is played by placing the end with the free reed resting on the incisors, without tightening too much, pinching the lamella with a finger and at the same time either moving the tongue, or breathing or increasing the extension of the oral cavity. 
Jean Claude Welche, Wikimedia Commons
Musical saw
The musical saw is formed by a steel carpenter's saw and is played with a double bass, cello or violin bow and with the teeth of the tool facing the performer. The sound is sweet and vibrant, sometimes plaintive, and can recall that of the theremin: due to the long resonance of the blade, it is not possible to reproduce short notes.
Buzz Andersen, Wikimedia Commons
Mellotron
The mellotron became extremely popular in the late sixties and the first half of  the seventies and was used by many successful musicians such as  Beatles (this instrument can be heard in the first seconds of the song "Strawberry Fields Forever", played by Paul McCartney),Rolling Stones , Deep Purple,Pink Floyd and many others. The mellotron does not have its own sound, but reproduces sounds of the instruments of the symphony orchestra,   or human voices: for this reason it is considered the ancestor of modern samplers and synthesizers.   
Maria Ramey, Wikimedia Commons
Subcontrabass flute
The subcontrabass flute is one of the largest instruments in the flute family, being over 1.8 meters tall and over  4.5 meters long. Despite its size, the sound that produces this flute is very delicate, but hardly this instrument is used outside of musical ensembles composed only of flutes. 
Marco Delnoij, Wikimedia Commons
Alpine horn
The alpine horn is of ancient origins and consists of a natural wooden horn with a conical section and is mainly used by the inhabitants of the Alps, particularly in Switzerland. This instrument has a considerable sound extension, so much so that it can be heard even a few kilometers away: in fact, originally, the alpine horn was used by shepherds for signaling purposes.
Mperry, Wikimedia Commons
Chapman stick
The Chapman stickis a stringed  musical instrument designed by the American  inventor and jazz musicianEmmett Chapman in the seventies. Through the tappingtechnique , this instrument allows you to use both hands independently.   The Chapman stick is often used by bass players: one of the main players is in fact the famous bassist Tony Levin. 
Didier Descouens, Wikimedia Commons
Hurdy-gurdy
The hurdy-gurdy has medieval origins and at the base of its operation there is a wooden wheel, covered with pitch and driven by a crank, which rubs the various ropes. In the second half of the seventeenth century the hurdy-gurdy was one of the most appreciated instruments by the aristocracy French, especially by the female public.
jkb, Wikimedia Commons
Didgeridoo
The Didgeridoo is native to the Aboriginal peoples of northern Australia. The instrument is usually cylindrical or conical and can measure from one meter to three meters in length. The traditionalidgeridoo is made from a branch of eucalyptus, the inside of which has usually been excavated by termites. The aborigines use it not only as a wind instrument, in which words, sounds, noises are blown and pronounced at the same time: in fact, it can also be used as a percussion instrument, if hit with clap stick, special wooden sticks.
Andrej Šalov, Wikimedia Commons
Sea organ
We conclude with a unique tool in the world. The Sea Organ (Croatian: morske orgulje) is an architectural and musical artwork located in Zadar, Croatia, designed by architect Nikola Bašić. The instrument is exactly what you see in the picture: a staircase that goes towards the sea, formed by 35 organ pipes of different inclination, shape and length. Thanks to the motion of the waves, these rods produce harmonious sounds that are constantly different depending on where the waves break.
Art galleries private collections
12/04/2024
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12/04/2024
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