The World’s Weirdest Musical Instruments
Sometimes we might be surprised to hear a musical instrument we didn’t expect to pop up in a certain song, be it a sudden saxophone riff, uncharacteristic percussion elements or even the classic surprise guitar solo. But if any of these crazy instruments showed up in a song unexpectedly, you’d probably have a hard time identifying them – especially if you saw what they looked like. Here are some of our favourite insane instruments.
Somewhat traditional compared to the others on our list, but equally bizarre, is the serpent. It’s a distant cousin of both the brass and woodwind families, but since its quirky snake-like design doesn’t have the necessary features to fall under any particular category it is rarely featured in full orchestras.
Assembled originally as a performance piece for The Lyle and Sparkleface Band, the bikelophone incorporates half a bicycle into its complicated setup, along with a host of other more traditional musical elements, all linked and coordinated digitally to gradually build up an entire composition, all technically performed on one instrument.
This aquatic-inspired instrument takes the form of what looks like a metallic giant squid, with its operator standing in the centre. Functioning like a cross between a drum kit and a harmonica, the longest metal tube (9 metres) produces the highest pitched sound.
The possible result of a taxidermist’s experiment gone wrong, this “instrument” puts an already-questionable theremin into the preserved body of a former badger, creating something that both sounds and looks disturbing.
Named for its similarity to the strange subjects of Picasso’s famous paintings, this warped idea of what a guitar should look like was commissioned by jazz musician Pat Metheny in the 1980s. It has the appearance of one guitar that absorbed its three siblings in the womb, with multiple necks and holes at odd angles, plus more strings than anyone could possibly command at once.
Dating back to the 1600s, the cat piano may never have existed, and in all fairness it shouldn’t have given its cruel mechanism. Nevertheless, it was described by German scholars as having sharp nails attached to a keyboard’s keys, poking different cats according to the desired pitch of the resulting scream.