Chances are you know what a piano is. But have you ever heard of a Bazantar? In this post, I will show you some of the strangest instruments currently in use around the globe. If you don’t know them, don’t feel bad. If you do know them, well, I would like you to come guest post for me some time.
Please note, these are not in any particular order, I just picked out a few that I found interesting.
The Great Stalacpipe Organ
Located in the Luray Caverns of Virginia, this instrument is currently considered the largest in the entire world, covering over 3 1/2 acres of space. It was created in 1958 by Leland W. Sprinkle, and electrical scientist from the pentagon. Although not truly an organ, this instrument is definitively incredible. It functions using dozens and dozens of rubber mallets located throughout the 3 1/2 acres. Leland was careful to select stalactites that would resonate at the correct frequency so, when a key is pressed, the corresponding note is played. Although it only takes up three and a half acres, it can be heard throughout the 64-acre cavern.
Although this may look like a cello at first, it is much more then that. Mark Deutsch invented this over the course of 6 years. It is a five string double bass with 29 sympathetic strings. The sympathetic strings are not bowed or plucked, but simply resonate with the other strings, producing a haunting, and beautiful, sound.
This one sounds something like a cross between a fiddle and bagpipes. It has a crank at one end that is turned to draw a bow across the string. A keyboard is used to allow the player to change the pitch of the strings through use of what are called tangents. The hurdy-gurdy has drone strings that produce a constant pitch, which is what make it sound similar to bagpipes.
The Glass Armonica
If you watch the video, you will notice that this version of The Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy sounds strikingly like what you would hear at a performance. Tchaikovsky originally called for this instrument, but changed it in favor of another the celesta. Invented by Benjamin Franklin, this instrument uses the same concept as rubbing a wet finger over a wine glass to produce sound. The music produced is so eerie, that it is claimed that it has caused performers and listeners to go mad.
You may have thought these were strange, and you would be right. But there are hundreds more awesome instruments waiting to be discovered. Just Google it!