10 Amazing Instruments You've Never Heard Of
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10 Amazing Instruments You've Never Heard Of

Everything from Super Mario Bros. on an ancient Chinese sheng to Bad Romance on PVC pipes...

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10 Amazing Instruments You've Never Heard Of
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Sheng

The sheng dates back to ancient China and can be found in the modern Chinese orchestra. Similar to a clarinet, the sheng is played by blowing into a tube with a reed. The modern version allows the player to harmonize and play chords as well. Here’s an impressive rendition of the Super Mario Bros. Theme:


Theremin

The theremin is the only instrument that is played without touching it. It is controlled using two metal rods; the one on the left controls the volume, while the upright rod controls the pitch. This is one of the first electric instruments, and it’s especially impressive because you’re basically playing an electromagnetic field.


Erhu

An erhu is another Chinese instrument, but this one is similar to the Western violin. The erhu has two strings, is played with a bow, and is used as a solo and orchestral instrument. Instead of putting it up on your shoulder, it is placed on the knee. Sort of like a violin held like a cello.


Glass Armonica

This instrument is based on the idea of playing a wine glass with a wet finger. Benjamin Franklin decided that there was a better way to do the wine glass trick, and put together a tower of glass bowls that when laid sideways, could be played like a piano.


Tesla Coil

Yes, you can play a tesla coil. There’s a lot of physics that goes into this, but essentially it’s a Tesla coil that has been modified to make notes. The video below shows a band called ArcAttack, where a man wears a Faraday suit (so he doesn’t get electrocuted) and plays the tesla coil.


Hurdy Gurdy

A cross between a bagpipe, an accordion, a violin, and a hand crank, the Hurdy Gurdy (which is its actual name) is played by turning the wheel, which in turn resonates the strings, much like a violin. Different notes are played with the keys, while the drone strings on the side give it the bagpipe drone. This hurdy-gurdy is actually an electric hurdy-gurdy, giving it an electric guitar sound as well.


Qanun

A Middle Eastern version of a zither (sort of like a harp on its side), this instrument has a beautiful airy sound. It is played with both hands, resting on the lap of the player.


Saw

By bending a saw into an S-curve and using a violin bow, you can play a saw. At one spot in the curve, the sweet spot, the saw vibrates, creating a pitch. The wider this spot is, the lower the note will sound. It isn’t easy, and there is definitely a chance that you will hurt yourself trying to do this, so just make do with this video for now.


Kalumbu

This is a traditional instrument from Zimbabwe. A wooden bow with a metal string is tied to a gourd at the end, and this string is played with a wooden stick. The notes are changed by moving the string closer and farther from the chest.


This Homemade PVC Pipe Instrument

Someone decided to make this for a school project. And while it’s not a formal instrument, it is definitely cool.

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