Whether you are a pop fanatic or rockin’ roller, you’ve surely got a love for music. Music, after all, is an incredibly uplifting form of artistic expression. Despite many of us being familiar with the US charts, each country has their own unique musicians and accompanying genres. In saying so, each country has their own interesting instruments that they perform with. You will surely know of the common instruments – guitars, drums, bass guitars, trumpets, trombones, flutes, and the list goes on. But in this article, we will take you through some of the most unique instruments enjoyed by different cultures across the globe.
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So with your health in check and your mind ready to enjoy the music, let’s take a look at some of the weird and wonderful instruments from around the world.
The first interesting instrument to make our list is the Lur, a horned instrument with no finger holes. Generally, traditional horned instruments’ sounds are manipulated by adjusting the fingers over the holes or pushing on buttons. Instead, the Lur requires the user to utilize their embouchure to change the sounds that come from it. The amazing thing about the Lur is that it comes in various shapes and sizes. Furthermore, it is made from varying materials. It can be made straight or curved, with wood or bronze – the differences all contribute to the sound it produces. It can even be made up to 2 meters in length. The origins of the instrument date back to the Bronze Age, where it could be found in Denmark and Germany. However, its rise in popularity came to Scandinavia during the Middle Ages.
More commonly known as a keyed fiddle, this instrument is one of the oldest instruments that still exists today. It was first constructed in Sweden around 1350. The instrument is made up of many strings and keys. It contains 16 strings and 37 keys in total. To play the instrument, the musician changes the strings’ pitches by using the keys as frets. This is done while using a bow across the strings. Though it sounds exceptionally difficult to play, many still do so. In fact, the American Nyckelharpa Association exists to encourage musicians to play it.
The last thing you’d expect to be doing with water is playing an instrument. However, that did not stop Steve Mann from inventing this incredibly interesting instrument. The Hydraulophone uses the contact with water to create sound through a hydraulic finger-pressing process. You need to see this instrument yourself to believe it, so click here for a short clip.
Contrabass Balalaika (Russia)
The Contrabass Balalaika originated in Russia in the 17th century. This unique string instrument is played using the fingers. Sounds just like a guitar, right? Well, not quite. Instead of utilizing traditional guitar body shapes, the instrument has a giant triangular body. Despite its exceptionally off-putting design, it creates a brilliantly deep bassy sound.
This ancient Australian instrument dates back 40 000 years. While its origins are blurry, it remains an integral part of the culture. The incredibly large instrument is a straight tube that can range from one to three meters. The musician doesn’t use any finger holes to adjust the sound but rather changes it through different vibrational lip patterns. A technique called circular breathing allows the musician to continue producing sound without stopping for a breath. Pretty impressive!
While they may not be your preferred sound makers, these interesting instruments are incredibly unique. They just go to show how innovative and creative our world truly is!