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6 one-of-a-kind instruments from around the world

 

Photo by Henry Brett licensed CC BY 2.0 

Music is all around us if you look hard enough. From giant 3D-printed dronepipes to the theremin, to clarinets made of carrots.

Check out some of the world’s weirdest musical instruments.


The Great Stalacpipe Organ — Virginia, USA

great stalacpipe organ in a cave

Photo by Chris Martino licensed CC BY-NC 2.0 

Have you ever been in a cave and seen those teeth-shaped cones of stone hanging above? They’re called stalactites, a cool geological formation created by dripping water.

Electronic engineer Leland W. Sprinkle (great name!) turned stalactites into music by creating the world’s first and only Great Stalacpipe Organ.

The organ itself works by tapping these ancient stalactites with rubber mallets, all connected to a keyboard that looks like a traditional organ/piano.

Legend has it that Sprinkle got the idea after watching cavern guides tap the stalactites to show how different sizes gave different sounds.


Musical ice — Norway

(Terje Isungset/Youtube)

These have to be literally the coolest instruments on earth. Norwegian drummer and composer, Terje Isungset, turns ice into music.

He shapes ice into a variety of instruments using his chainsaw like a paintbrush. Trumpets, xylophones, you name it — he’s carved it out of ice.

People say that Isungset’s instruments have a very primitive, earthy sound. Cool!


The Singing Ringing Tree — England

Ringing singing tree monument

Photo by Henry Brett licensed CC BY 2.0 

The Singing Ringing Tree is a giant instrument made up of a bunch of steel pipes of different lengths stacked in different directions. Any passing breeze is transformed into eerie melodies.

This crazy piece of art stands just over three metres tall and was created in 2006 as a part of a series of artsy landmarks chosen by a public and panel vote.


The Vegetable Orchestra — Austria

(freeinrs/Youtube)

The Vegetable Orchestra of Vienna is a group of touring musicians who have transformed everyday vegetables into a variety of instruments. There are pan-pipes, recorders and even flutes made from a carrot.

Not only can the orchestra carry a vegan melody, they even give out fresh vegetable soup at the end of their concerts.

Now, while there’s nothing stopping you from making your own salad symphonies, the sound of the music produced by do-it-yourself veggie instruments has been known to be quite bitter.


The Hornucopian Dronepipe — Florida, USA

(MONAD Studio/Youtube)

The Hornucopian Dronepipe is a funny name for an even funnier looking instrument that sounds pretty funny too.

The musical instrument, designed by MONAD Studios, was created using a 3D printer as part of five futuristic instruments.

The others include a two-string electric violin, a one-string electric bass guitar, a one-string electric cello/violin hybrid and a small didgeridoo which is still in progress.


Theremin

(slonikyouth/Youtube)

Theremins were made famous for producing eerie soundtracks to the science fiction films of the 1950s and ‘60s.

What’s even more amazing is their trademark howl is made without touching the instrument!

The player (called a thereminist) moves their hand between two metal antennae without touching them. The distance from one antenna determines frequency (called pitch), and the distance from the other controls the volume (called amplitude).