If you live and breathe musical instruments, but you seek something with a unique sound, then these instruments might just make your day. Some of these are so rare that there are only a few examples of them anywhere in the world.
What are some of the most unique and beautiful instruments from around the world?
Here we have collected some examples of the most unique and interesting musical instruments in the world. This list is far from exhaustive and is in no particular order.
1. The "Cristal Baschet" is very unique and has a beautiful sound to boot
François and Bernard Baschet were born in Paris in 1917 and 1920. The two brothers spent their lives creating sound sculptures and musical instruments. Here is a demonstration of their invention, the Cristal Baschet, in 1961. pic.twitter.com/tOHWFpnObZ— Dust-to-Digital (@dusttodigital) April 10, 2020
The "Cristal Baschet" was invented by François and Bernard Baschet, who are famed for dedicating their lives to developing sound sculptures and novel musical instruments. The brothers developed this unique musical instrument in the 1950s, and it consists of metal rods embedded into a heavy plate that forms elements.
Each of these metal rods is accompanied by an attached glass rod that is played by gently stroking a wet finger along it to produce a sound or note. The pitch of each rod is determined by the length of the metal rod's weight and position at its equilibrium point.
2. The "Theremin" is another interesting and unique musical instrument
Called the "Theremin," this unique musical instrument is another of the world's most beautiful sounding and, frankly, strangest. Its spooky sound is produced without the use of keys or strings -- like many other traditional instruments.
Much like the "Cristal Baschet," this instrument also uses metal rods to produce its wonderful acoustics. This instrument was developed by accident in the late 1910s when a young Russian physicist called Lev Sergeyevich Termen, Westernized to Léon Theremin, was working on high-frequency oscillators and developed this strange musical instrument.
He was trying to develop a way of measuring the dielectric constant of gases but inadvertently created a completely new musical instrument. Theremin did this by adding audio electronic circuitry to the device to produce an audible tone whenever it took a reading.
The result, however, was not what he expected. It not only responded to gases, as intended but also appeared to be affected by people near the machine.
For this reason, it is played by moving your hands in the air between or around its two vertical metal rods.
3. There are estimated to be only a couple of this interesting musical instrument in the entire world
This next unique and wonderfully sounding musical instrument is called the "Dan Tre." Meaning, roughly, "Bamboo musical instrument" in English, it produces some of the most interesting and unique sounds of any musical instrument in the world.
Devised by a Vietnamese refugee called Minh Tam Nguyen, it was developed to give him something to do while he was interned at a labor camp. This musical instrument is something of a fusion between European and Asian musicals styles and was made entirely from recycled stuff he found around the camp.
4. The "Santour" is a wonderful sounding instrument
Called the "Santur" or "Santour," this is another of the world's most unique sounding musical instruments. It is one of the world's oldest hitting stringed instrument and is thought to be of Persian origin.
These musical instruments were originally made from tree bark, stones, and gruesomely, stringed goat's intestines.
Its name means something like "100 strings," but most examples only ever have just over 90 strings in reality. The "Santour" is also believed to be the forerunner of many other similar instruments like the harp, the Chinese yangqin, the harpsichord, and many more.
5. The traditional Korean "Haegeum" is another unique musical instrument
The "Haegeum" is another of the world's most unique and beautiful sounding musical instruments. It is a traditional Korean instrument and is made from around eight materials.
These include, but are not limited to, gold, rock, thread, bamboo, gourd, clay, leather, and wood. Clay is used to coat the inside of the instrument's soundbox to give it improved resonance and improve the durability of the instrument.
It resembles a traditional fiddle but has a distinct rodlike neck with two silk strings running down its side. The instrument is played with two hands.
One hand is used to create tension on the strings, while the other is used to move the bow and create notes.
6. The "Tenor Cornett" is another of the world's most unique and interesting musical instruments
Today is 'Uncommon Instrument Awareness Day' (no, really!) so here's a really rare one - this early C17th tenor cornett, also known as a lysard, is one of only 5 known historical examples in England. It's currently on display @museumofnorwich.— Norfolk Museums (@NorfolkMuseums) July 31, 2019
More info: https://t.co/FkTTgSjHKmpic.twitter.com/9nxJ4mfn2F
Invented in the early 17th Century, the "Tenor Cornett" is another strange yet wonderfully sounding musical instrument. Made of leather and wood, this instrument measures around 824 millimeters in length.
According to The Museum of Norwich at the Bridewell, the one they have on display is one of only five of this musical instrument in the entire world.
"Made of leather-covered wood, the maker’s mark of three silkworm moths and a mulberry tree is likely to be that of the famous Bassano family of musicians, some of whom moved to England in the court of Henry VIII." - Norfolk Museums.
The picture above is of an instrument that is thought to have been purchased in 1608 by a group of Norwich musicians who were employed to play for royal visitors, lead mayoral processions or even wake people up on winter mornings.
7. This unique musical instrument was invented by Benjamin Franklin
Happy birthday, #BenjaminFranklin! Thanks for inventing the glass harmonica (among other achievements...). Here's a celestial version of Mozart's Ave verum corpus played by @fhkern and @PMarguerre on modern versions of the instrument at last summer's #MostlyMozart Festival. 🎵 💫 pic.twitter.com/iIaoYBa6Oo— Lincoln Center (@LincolnCenter) January 17, 2019
This unique and strange musical instrument was invented by none other than the great Benjamin Franklin. Called the "The Glass Harmonica," it produces one of the strangest, yet soothing, sounds.
This instrument works via the same principle as playing wine glasses and consists of a series of glass bowls that rotate. It is played by simply touching wet fingers to produce the desired notes.
It is possible to play multiple notes using this instrument at any one time. Great composers like Mozart and Beethoven even composed some pieces specifically for it, but the instrument never really took off.
8. Have you heard a microtonal guitar?
King Gizzard Medley - Lego Microtonal Guitarhttps://t.co/HIu6oUBOqm— Gatoelho (@pedro__so) April 15, 2020
Microtonal guitars are another of the world's most unique sounding musical instruments too. Their name comes from the fact that they are able to use microtones, or intervals smaller than a semitone.
With the one included above, you also get a double-whammy thanks to it being made, in part, from LEGO blocks! Lucky you.
9. The "Intonarumori" is an interesting musical instrument too
Another of the world's most unique and interesting musical instruments is the famed "Intonarumori." This amazingly haunting instrument was one of several experimental musical instruments devised and built by the Italian futurist Luigi Russolo.
Created between the first few decades of the 1900s, Rusolo built over 25 different variations each with a different name.
10. The "Hang Drum" is cool too
The "Hang Drum" or simply "Hang" is another of the world's most unique and interestingly sounding musical instruments. Created by Felix Rohner and Sabina Schärer in Bern, Switzerland, this instrument certainly has a unique sound to it.
11. The "Pyrophone" is another amazing musical instrument
A #pyrophone for summer nights at #BeachyHead? ‘A pyrophone, also known as a "#fireorgan/#explosionorgan” is a #musical#instrument in which notes are #sounded by #explosions.’ Reference #Wikipedia. https://t.co/D8JSwW3mcJ#EE#Engineering#Eastbourne#EngineeringEastbourne#YoEpic.twitter.com/GRFM0QqeO9— Engineering Eastbourne (@EE_Eastbourne) May 14, 2018
The "Pyrophone" is yet another of the world's most amazing and unique instruments. Also known as a "fire/explosion organ" or "fire/explosion calliope," this instrument uses controlled explosions to make music.
It was created by Georges Frédéric Eugène Kastner sometime around 1870. Kastner was the son of the famed composer Jean-Georges Kastner.
Bonus - Have you ever heard the soothing sound of the Yaybahar?
And finally, the Yaybahar is another of the world's most unique-sounding musical instruments. Attending performances of this incredible instrument is not just an audible treat -- you can really feel the music!
Invented by a Turkish musician, Gorkem Sen, the Yaybahar is the culmination of six years of refinement by its creator.