6 Unique Musical Instruments You Didn’t Know About

Music is one language that everyone understands. It brings people together and it is universal. It is hard to say when people began developing music but we can guess that it was very early in the human history. And from the very beginning of the history of music different peoples started inventing their own musical instruments. There are some that are similar among various nationalities and some that are completely different. We will have a look at some unique musical instruments from around the world.

1. The Hydraulophone

The hydraulophone was created in the 1980s by an engineering professor at the University of Toronto Steve Mann. He invented this instrument for individuals who have vision problems so they would be able to better use their senses. In fact, if you want to play the instrument you need to get your hands wet because the sound is produced by pressurized hydraulic fluid rather than by air.

The instrument looks like a curved tube with several holes in it. The water is pumped through this tube and then is spurts out. Above each hole there is a sounding mechanism. When you place a finger over one hole the water is diverted to another part of the instrument.

2. The Balalaika

This is a traditional Russian folk instrument, which resembles other stringed instruments, such as tambura or dombra. It is believed that balalaika appeared in Russia approximately in the 1500s and the first written document where it was mentioned dates back to 1688. This instrument was popular with middle and lower classes. From its appearance troubadours and jesters played it and ridiculed the ruling class of that time. By the end of 19th century balalaika could be found almost in every Russian household.

Balalaika is string instrument of triangular shape. The balalaikas come in five sizes – from 20 inches to 5.8 feet. The modern balalaikas were developed by Russian musician Vasily Andreyev at the end of 19th century.

3. The Ravanahatha

One of the interesting Indian musical instruments is ravanahatha. This is a bowed string instrument. It was probably invented at the times of King Ravana by the Hela community. Supposedly, the instrument is named after this king. The ravanahatha is especially popular in Rajasthan, North India among the street musicians.

The sound box of the instrument is made of a half of a coconut shell with a membrane of goat skin. There are two principal strings, one of which is made of horsehair and another of steel. There is a stick made of bamboo attached to the shell, and some bells along the bow. The instruments can vary in length.

4. RAV Vast

RAV Vast drum is another one in the list of weird musical instruments. It combines the concept behind tongue drums and handpans. This is a perfect instrument for meditation. The steel tongues vibrate to create soothing meditative melodies. On each tongue up to 6 harmonics can be tuned. The range of the instrument could be spread to full 2 octaves of the scale.

RAV vast was invented by Andrey Remyannikov in 2013, so it is a very modern instrument. Andrey spent months trying to make different sounds from the steel instrument and came up with a perfect combination.

5. Cajón

Cajon was invented in Peru in the late 16th century. It is believed that in the beginning it was played by slaves of African origin. The peak of its popularity was in the middle of 19th century. Currently cajon is widely used in Spain, the Philippines and both Americas.

The instrument is used to play such styles of music as jazz, flamenco and others. A cajon is a box-shaped percussion instrument that is played by slapping its rear faces or front with fingers or hands. The box is made of thick wood. There is a sound hole on the back side of the cajon.

6. Lurr

A lurr (or a lur) is an old Scandinavian wooden instrument that was introduced by Vikings in the middle ages. The instrument is played by embouchure and it is a blowing horn without finger holes. Lurrs come in different shapes and can be curved or straight. It is considered that the ancestor of wooden lurr is a bronze lurr that dates back to the Bronze Age. It was found in Northern Germany and Scandinavian countries. Lurr can be as long as 1,5 – 2 meters. In order to avoid directing loud noise at nearby people curved lurrs were invented. Besides, such lurrs were easier to carry.

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