This is something that probably not many of our followers are aware of, but July 31 happens to be Uncommon Musical Instrument Awareness Day. This day celebrates rare, experimental, and uncommon musical instruments. To honor all the beautiful, odd, and fascinating instruments in our lives, we decided to dedicate today’s blog article to this day.
As you know, we at Musopia are experts in guitars and ukuleles, especially when learning these two fine instruments. Our apps are targeted to help everyone find their musical path accompanied by these popular string instruments.
There are many different ways to count and measure, which are the world’s most popular and most played instruments. This probably doesn’t shock anyone, but the guitar makes it to every one of these top 10 lists. The ukulele is slightly rarer but gets frequent mentions on many of these lists.
Even though these two instruments represent a considerable part of our expertise, we musopians also want to pride ourselves on being passionate about all kinds of music and every instrument used in making music. The more instruments, the better!
Our team at Musopia has quite a bit of talent with many different instruments. Our team members know their way, for example, with the piano, electric guitar, acoustic guitar, ukulele, bass, drums and keyboards, among many others.
Throughout human history, musicians have tried to push the boundary of sounds and music by inventing newer and innovative ways of creating music. Did you know that the earliest recorded musical instruments are about 42,000 years old? Found in a cave in Germany, these flutes were made of bird bones and mammoth ivory. Instruments have developed immensely since then, and thanks to creative and quirky musical enthusiasts and experimentalists, the selection of existing instruments has gotten deliciously broad!
The Uncommon Musical Instrument Awareness Day aims to encourage people to learn to play some of these uncommon instruments and contribute to the world of music by making their musical instruments.
But what do you assume? What kind of instruments make it to the list of most uncommon instruments? We can, of course, take educated guesses and assume that the guitar and ukulele don’t make it to these lists.
After some consideration and editing, we have picked these ten fabulous instruments to the top ten of the most uncommon instruments.
- Picasso Guitar
This fascinating harp guitar has 42 strings, four necks, and two sound holes. It was inspired by Pablo Picasso, the founder of the Cubist movement and one of the most iconic artists of the 20th century.
The theremin is one of the earliest electronic instruments. The instrument has two metal antennas that can sense the positions of the player’s hands, which control the volume and pitch of the instrument.
- Glass Armonica
If you’ve ever tried to make music with a wine glass, you get an idea of how the glass armonica works. The glass armonica consists of a series of glass bowls in different sizes, and the sound is produced by the player rubbing their fingers over the glass. Fun Fact: The instrument is the brainchild of no other than Benjamin Franklin.
- The Wintergatan Marble Machine
This instrument is a hand-cranked music box with instruments, including a circuit of 2,000 cascading steel marbles. As the device cycles, it activates a vibraphone, bass, kick drum, cymbal and other instruments that play a score programmed into a 32-bar loop comprised of LEGO technic parts. The marbles are moved internally through the machine using funnels, pulleys, and tubes.
The Yaybahar is a new electric-free, entirely acoustic instrument. The vibrations from the strings are transmitted via the coiled springs to the frame drums. The membranes turn These vibrations into sound, which echoes back and forth on the coiled springs. This results in a unique listening experience with a hypnotic surround sound.
The wheelharp produces the rich sounds of numerous stringed instruments all at once. It is basically a keyboard that controls 61 bowed strings, allowing a single musician to sound like an actual orchestra.
Probably the most intimidating instrument on this list, the Zeusaphone, sometimes called “the singing Tesla coil”, is something else. It is a solid-state Tesla coil modified to produce musical tones by modulating its spark output. The lightning-like arcs vibrate the air at musical frequencies, which produce the fantastic sound you hear!
So, you already know what a theremin is, right? Now this is where it gets weird: there’s also a badgermin. It’s a badger crossed with a Theremin. It’s a badgermin. And no, we are not making this up.
- Sea Organ
This project aimed to turn the sea into a musician using the reconstructed seafront in Zadar, Croatia, as a ginormous organ. Pipes underneath the promenade react to the waves as they crash in, creating harmonious sounds that tourists flock to experience.
This is where we have made a full circle and circled right back where we started from, to the guitar and ukulele. This time, however, it’s a combination of these two: the guitalele. A guitalele is a guitar-ukulele hybrid, that is, “a 1/4 size” guitar, a cross between a classical guitar and a tenor or baritone ukulele. Due to its small size, the guitalele combines the portability of a ukulele with the six single strings and the resultant chord possibilities of a classical guitar.
Congratulations if you have ever seen or heard of one of these fascinating instruments! Ten points for Gryffindor!
If you have the opportunity to get familiar with or even get close to one of these instruments mentioned above, use your chance and dig in! Life is short, and you can never spend too much time exploring new, wonderfully weird things that simultaneously cause joy and raise eyebrows.