Some weird musical instruments you should know about

The world is full of amazing stuff we’ve never even heard of. Today we list our top picks for some of the most bizarre musical instruments on the planet. Here goes:

First stop, The Singing Ringing Tree. It’s more of a fixed sculpture than an instrument but then again, so are wind pipes, kind of. The massive musical monument is situated at Crown Point above the town of Burnley, Lancashire, United Kingdom. Built by artists Mike Tonkin and Anna Liu, it was completed in 2006. It’s probably the best and most famous piece of a series called “Panopticons” in the Lancashire Pennine Hills. Its sound is haunting both in the good and the creepy sense.

The beautifully haunting Singing Ringing Tree:

Have always wanted to be part of a band but don’t know a single musician? The American Fotoplayer is the instrument for you! Developed by the American Fotoplayer Company between the years of 1912 and 1925, this amazing instrument was specifically designed to provide music and sound effects for silent movies. The beauty of this gigantic and complex piece of musical equipment is that playing it requires no musical skill whatsoever. You’re basically pulling chords, pushing buttons and pressing pedals. An electric motor, an air pump and some piano rolls do the rest. Hit it Joe!

Anyone can play the American Fotoplayer!

Love salad? Love music? The Nan brothers from Beijing have combined the two by making musical instruments out of vegetables. Their father who is a music teacher has encouraged them to study music and a few years ago he has come up with the idea of fashioning instruments from potatoes, pumpkins and basically anything you can drill a hole in. This short video will give you the gist:

If you’re a true fan of hand-crafted musical classics, check out the Wheelharp. Despite its antique look, it’s a new instrument developed by Jon Jones & Sons. The Wheelharp gives you the ability to orchestrate a full chromatic scale of sixty-one actual bowed strings. It’s like having an actual string orchestra at your fingertips. The instrument’s design is truly breathtaking and its complex bowels are equipped with a damper system and an electronic pickup system to help you create enchanting musical masterpieces. Pretty exciting, if you ask us!

The incredibly awesomely looking Wheelharp:

The Glass Armonica is one of those things that came out of a dream. Invented by Benjamin Franklin in 1761, it’s capable of producing angelic sounds you’ve heard only from water tuned wine glasses. And that’s exactly what the Glass Armonica consists of, except the arrangement is much more convenient for playing. Built from custom-blown rotating wine glasses nested inside of each other, this amazing instrument allows for more than two glasses to be played at the same time. In terms of how it’s played, it works much like a piano. Tchaikowsky’s “Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy” from the Nutcracker is one of the best ways to enjoy one of Franklin’s favorite inventions.

The Glass Armonica:

Behold, the Condom Bagpipe! It’s exactly what it sounds like and to our amazement, it sounds quite well! While this is not a type of instrument on its own, it’s a great way to show the basics of how bagpipes work. In this case, the chanter and drone are aluminium tubes with a membrane at the top of each. Australian musician, instrument maker, composer and musical director Linsey Pollak, who created this beautiful instrument, used two condoms instead of the traditional animal skin (usually sheep).

Enjoy the Condom Bagpipes’ majestic vibrations!

Have we missed a truly magnificent and very weird musical instrument? Please let us know in the comments below. And stay tuned for more musical goodness!


  1. Learning to sing is, in its purest form, a learned response. Teaching the body to respond, over time, automatically, trained by the ’emotion memory’, repetitive action creating certain results over time.

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