6 Instruments You Never Knew Existed!
Over the course of time, music has evolved immeasurably. The introduction of technology and creative minds helped bring exciting new changes to the musical world. However, there are some that refused to stick to the conventionality of popular instruments. Here are some of the world’s most fantastically weird instruments that you have never heard of:
6. The Pikasso Guitar
This guitar is a tribute to famous artist Pablo Picasso built by luthier Linda Manzer. The Pikasso has four necks, forty-two strings, and two sound holes. It also features a unique elemental called the “Manzer Wedge”, which is a slight tapering of the body so that the strings can be easier to see without sacrificing comfort or tone. While it does not look playable at all, this guitar was actually made for jazz artist Pat Metheny. Metheny has played the Picasso during several of his songs. If you want to see this beauty in action, you can watch it here during a live concert.
5. The Jankó Keyboard
Invented by Paul von Jankó in 1882, this “6-6” keyboard aimed to make playing a lot simpler for pianists. This keyboard was designed so that chords, scales, and intervals could be played with the same fingering without having to worry about pitch or key placement. More notes could be reached in a single hand stretch thanks to the keys’ consistent shape. Unfortunately for this beautiful instrument, many manufacturers predicted that the keyboard would not be popular due to one simple reason: No one wants to learn a new way of playing! Due to that, this instrument faded into obscurity. If you’re curious as to how this instrument works, this video here gives a brief demonstration as to how it works.
4. The Hornecopian Dronepipe
While it may look confusing at first glance, the Hornecopian Dronepipe is one of the 3D printed instruments part of Monad Studio’s project called “MULTI.” This snake-like instrument actually wraps around the user’s body. Its sound is similar to that of a large didgeridoo. Designing the dronepipe took several months to complete and only ten days to print out in its entirety. Like the other instruments in this series, it is 80% hollow with an internal honeycomb structure. This helps the instruments to create “very interesting internal resonances” that set them apart from other instruments. To see the dronepipe and its companions in play, check out this video right here.
3. The Chrysalis
This delightfully complex contraption was the creation of Cris Forster, a member of The Chrysalis Foundation. Inspired by the Aztec calendar, Forster had a thought in his head: "What if there were a musical instrument in the shape of a wheel? And what if this wheel had strings for spokes, could spin, and when played, would sound like the wind?” The Chrysalis is outfitted with 84 strings on each side and two circular soundboards. This instrument is featured in a book authored by Forster titled, “Musical Mathematics: On the Art and Science of Acoustic Instruments” which deals with the relationship between mathematics, acoustic music, and even how to create some instruments inspired by Forster’s works. To hear this instrument play, check out Forster’s performance here.
2. The Sharpsicord
A sight to behold, the Sharpsicord is a fully-automated acoustic harp that can play up to 90 seconds of music before repeating. It has a grand total of 11,520 holes, each of which holds a pin that will be used to pluck the appropriate string. Sound sculptor Henry Dagg is the one to thank for this wonderful instrument, as his five-year dedication and £56,000 euros brought this creation to life. The mechanical structure of the instrument allows the player to create any sort of music, play it forwards or backward, and never worry about it going out of tune. The instrument’s only flaws are that it can never be brought outside and that its cylindrical drum can only play a short amount of music at a time. To see how it works, you can watch a performance of the Sharpsicord here!
1. The Crwth
Pronounced “krooth” and also known by the easier name of a “crowd,” the crwth is an ancient Welsh instrument hailing from the 11th century. It is outfitted with six strings: four strings are meant to be played with the bow while the other two longer strings are plucked with the thumb. Each string even has its own unique name: llorfdant, byrdwn y llorfdant, crasdant, byrdwn y crasdant, cyweirdant, and byrdwn y cyweirdant. The crwth was part of the tradition for at least a thousand years, with some “crowthers” receiving accolades in musical competitions. Unfortunately, interest had died out by the 18th century as the fiddle began to rise in its place. The crwth is all but lost today, as this video here shows.