10 Weirdest Musical Instruments Ever

So you want to learn an instrument and you want to stand out from the millions of other Americans already making awesome music? 

Then you need one of the weirdest musical instruments ever! After all, nothing says unique more than playing or even being able to pronounce a “hornucopian dronepipe” does it? 


Electronic Sackbut

Electronic Sackbut

Hugh Le Caine actually invented four different versions of this instrument, beginning in 1945, but none of them ever went into commercial production. 

The Electronic Sackbut was the first ever instrument to include a control that allowed you to modify volume, pitch and timbre in three dimensional space while playing live. 

These sorts of controls are still rare, even today, due to their complexity and sadly, the closest you’re likely to get to the electronic sackbut is in the Canada Science and Technology Museum. 


Hornucopian Dronepipe

Hornucopian Dronepipe

This bizarre looking instrument is one of the first ever musical instruments to come from the new technology of 3D-printing and it was designed by MONAD studios. 

While it can be played and you can probably download and print the pattern yourself easily enough if you have a 3D-printer, it was designed for another purpose.

It was, in fact, meant to be used in an art-installation along with several other printed instruments. 


Hyperbass Flute

Hyperbass Flute

This is a super rare instrument which, as the name suggests, belongs to the flute family. It is the largest member of that family and it produces the lowest possible pitch. 

The lowest note that it can play is a C0 which is an octave lower than the lowest note found on a piano and as it has a waveform of 16 Hertz, it’s also at a lower pitch than human beings can hear!


Octobass

Octobass

This absolute beast of a bass was first made in Paris by a French luthier called Jean-Baptiste Vuilaume and it’s essentially a double bass on steroids. 

A full size octobass stands over 11 feet tall and that means it must be played  using levers and pedals rather than a traditional bow. Sadly, this complexity has meant that the octobass never caught on in musical circles. 


Badgermin

Badgermin

Yes, you probably never wanted to see an instrument that looks this cursed in your life but the Badgermin is a theremin, well, inside a badger. 

Nobody has any clue why David Cranmer, the electronic artist and sculptor, opted for this incredibly odd coupling but the badgermin is a legit instrument all the same. 


Sea Organ

Sea Organ

You can’t play this quirky instrument (or maybe sound art installation?) because it’s played only by the sea!

Yes, the sea organ which was designed by the architect Nikola Basic only exists in Zadar, Croatia and it is played by the motion of waves from the sea utilizing the tubes set under some marble steps. 


Cello Horn

Cello Horn

This odd looking thing is exactly as the name suggests, a hybrid of the cello and of the brass horn and it came into being in Popular Science Monthly all the way back in 1936!

The idea was to create a sound through the horn, by playing the cello and by combining the two to develop something that sounded like a merger of the brass section of an orchestra and the string section; the idea probably came from the Stroh Violin. 


Cross-Grainger Kangaroo-Pouch Tone-Tool

Cross-Grainger Kangaroo-Pouch Tone-Tool

Yes, that name is insane but then so is the resulting instrument. It’s real, mind you, and can be found in the Grainger Museum. 

It combines paper and oscillators to produce a unique sound that many have compared to umm… well, an air raid siren. 


Singing Ringing Tree

Singing Ringing Tree

In Burnley, England, you will find this nightmarish sculpture that could well end up driving you insane. 

Not only does it look like something straight out of a Geiger inspired horror movie but the low pitched tune it makes when the wind blows is seriously creepy too. 


Cheese Drums

Cheese Drums

Walter Willems, from The Netherlands, crafted a working drum set made entirely of cheese. Why he did this, we have no idea and to be honest? We’re afraid to ask. 


Final Thoughts On The Weirdest Musical Instruments

You don’t have to play a strange instrument, in fact, if you’re just starting out may we recommend you play one of the easiest instruments to learn to play first? 

Or you could go the traditional route and do some online guitar lessons… but if you really do want to stand out from the crowd, these weird musical instruments are perfect for doing so. 

And if you want to show the world how talented you are, if you invest in a digital audio workstation, you can lay down some tracks at home!

Leave a Reply