10 Most Bizarre Musical Instruments

1Moaning Lisa: orgasmic electronic music

Matt Ganucheau’s Moaning Lisa is quite possibly the strangest electronic music instrument ever created. Part shock art, part artificial intelligence and part musical instrument, Moaning Lisa challenges you on many levels.

Ganucheau explains: “The process leading to a female orgasm is a uniquely delicate challenge for both sexes leaving it a mystery to most men and women. Moaning Lisa is an instillation that examines this complex process by simplifying it into an almost game-like state. With Lisa, as in life, there are no instructions on display. This leaves each participant to discover how Lisa’s true sexual potential is unlocked.”

Lisa, a busty mannequin, stands idly awaiting interaction. Once a participant is standing in front of her, Lisa will detect their presence using ultrasonic sensors located within her eyes. Immediately she will begin to moan softly enticing the participant to increase their level of interaction. Further interaction can occur by using any one or combination of her 6 sensors located strategically throughout her body.

Lisa’s sensors include:

  • 2 Piezo Touch Sensors are located on the posterior for grabbing, one on each cheek
  • 1 Piezo Touch Sensors is located on the back of her neck for grabbing
  • 2 Potentiometer knobs located on each nipple for tweaking
  • 1 ribbon controller located on her clitoris, measuring friction speed for rubbing

    The frequency and combinations at which a participant interacts with her sensors can not only escalate her moans to a full scream but also apply additional audio effects such as delays, slicers and reverbs.These sensors are then fed into a i/o controller board that communicates with custom software written in Max/Msp. All software processing is done inside a mac-mini hidden in a small box near her feet. This box also houses her speakers

    2Musical Road: plays music as you drive over

    A few years ago in japan, members of the hokkaido industrial research institute started carving thousands of very precise grooves into nearby roads. the slightly loopy brainwave belonged to a mr. shinoda, a guy who accidentally cut a road in several places with a digger and then later drove over the damage in his car.He realised that with some planning and time to kill he could create rows of grooves which, when driven over at a certain speed, would ‘play a tune’.

    The results, the ‘melody road’, can be seen above and the grooves are between 6 and 12mm apart: the narrower the interval, the higher the pitch. these stretches of road, each playing a different tune, can currently be found in 3 places in japan – hokkaido, wakayama and gunma – with the optimum musical speed being a depressingly slow 28mph.Don’t expect a virtual orchestra – from what i’ve heard, it’s not exactly beautiful music, but it’s unique and it’s mental. a winning combination.Until they create roads which can sing, you can either listen to a recording of one the ‘tunes’ here or watch the video below for an example.

    3LEGO Harpsichord

    Created and built by Henry Lim, with the exception of the wire strings, the LEGO Harpsichord is entirely constructed out of LEGO parts–the keyboard, jacks, jack rack, jack rail, plectra, soundboard, bridge, hitch pins, tuning pins, wrestplank, nut, case, legs, lid, lid stick, and music stand are all built out of interlocking LEGO plastic bricks and related pieces.

    With a 61 note range, the instruments size is 6 x 3 ft. weighing approximately 150 lbs, and built with an estimated 100,000 LEGO pieces!

    4Nano Guitar: world’s smallest guitar

    The world’s smallest guitar is 10 micrometers long — about the size of a single cell — with six strings each about 50 nanometers, or 100 atoms, wide. Made by Cornell University researchers from crystalline silicon, it demonstrates a new technology for a new generation of electromechanical devices.

    The guitar has six strings, each string about 50 nanometers wide, the width of about 100 atoms. If plucked — by an atomic force microscope, for example — the strings would resonate, but at inaudible frequencies.The entire structure is about 10 micrometers long, about the size of a single human blood cell.A nanometer is one-billionth of a meter. For comparison, the diameter of a human hair is about 200 micrometers, or 200,000 nanometers.

    5 Sea Organ: Olayed by the sea

    The musical Sea Organ (morske orgulje) is located on the shores of Zadar, Croatia, and is the world’s first musical pipe organs that is played by the sea. Simple and elegant steps, carved in white stone, were built on the quayside. Underneath, there are 35 musically tuned tubes with whistle openings on the sidewalk. The movement of the sea pushes air through, and – depending on the size and velocity of the wave – musical chords are played. The waves create random harmonic sounds.

    This masterpiece of acoustics and architecture was created by expert Dalmatian stone carvers and architect Nikola Basic in 2005, who recently received the European Prize for Urban Public Space for this project. Many tourists come to listen to this unique aerophone, and enjoy unforgettable sunsets with a view of nearby islands. Famed director Alfred Hitchcock said that the most beautiful sunset in the world can be seen from precisely this spot on the Zadar quay. That was how he described it after his visit to Zadar, a visit he remembered throughout his life by the meeting of the sinking sun and the sea.

    6Atlantic City Convention Hall Organ: World’s largest and loudest musical instrument

    The Convention Hall Auditorium Organ is the pipe organ in the Main Auditorium of the Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, New Jersey, built by the Midmer-Losh Organ Company. The great hall itself is also part of the world’s largest pipe organ and was formerly known as the Atlantic City Convention Hall, which can seat 41,000 people in the main auditorium.

    The massive organ has 33,112 pipes in 455 ranks, including a full-length 64 foot Diaphone Profunda, ten 32 foot ranks, and manual and pedal reeds that are under 100 inches of wind pressure, while most organs never exceed 10 inches of pressure. In total, there are 4 stops on 100 inches of wind pressure, and there are 10 stops on 50 inches of wind pressure, ear burtsing stuff, but all in order to fill the giant room with sound. The electric blowers that power the organ approach 1,000 horsepower, the kind of power needed to fill a hall larger than 15 million cubic feet. A tour of the entire organ takes 4 1/2 hours.

    7Aeolian Wind Harp: Played by the wind

    Sometimes called Harmonic Harps, wind harps originated in ancient Greece (circa 6 BC) and flourised throughout the Renaissance era. Aeolian Harps are rare, beautiful instruments designed to be played by the wind; free of the touch of human hands. Harmonic wind harps transpose the spirit of the wind into spontaneous, multi-layered music in time to nature’s rhythms. Their vibrant voices sing pure harmonic tones that range from deep, pulsing bases to soaring sopranos. A variety of winds, harps, and string tunings combine on these selected recordings to produce an eclectic repertoire of definitive music.

    8Giant Tuba: 34 feet of tubing

    The Giant Tuba, was made in the early 20th century by Besson, London. The Giant Tuba has over 34 feet of tubing, weighs 112 pounds, and is nearly 8 feet tall.

    The lowest playable note on this open valve instrument is the Bb three octaves below middle C, or the second lowest note on a modern piano (29.14 Hz).This giant tuba was a London music business landmark for much of the 20th century. It was originally fitted to the wall of the Besson & Co. factory in 198 Euston Road as a shop sign.

    9RingFlute: a circular flute

    Invented by James Johnson, the RingFlute is the result of 11 years of research and development.It was inspired while he was mesmerized by a Cantonese street performer, a very gifted bamboo flute player.

    James tried to describe the shape of the South American Ocarina flute to the Cantonese player, using a piece of discarded garden hose… after numerous daydreams thinking about the flute and the garden hose, the idea of the Ring Flute presented itself.Along with the testing and help of numerous professional flutists at every step of the design process, they lent their expertise to perfecting the sound of this unique instrument.

    10Glass Harmonica

    The glass harmonica is a type of musical instrument that uses a series of glass bowls or goblets graduated in size to produce musical tones by means of friction.Because its sounding portion is made of glass, the glass harmonica is a crystallophone. The phenomenon of rubbing a wet finger around the rim of a wine goblet to produce tones is documented back to Renaissance times; Galileo considered the phenomenon (in his Two New Sciences), as did Athanasius Kircher.The Irish musician Richard Puckeridge is typically credited as the first to play an instrument composed of glass vessels by rubbing his fingers around the rims. Beginning in the 1740s, he performed in London on a set of upright goblets filled with varying amounts of water. During the same decade, Christoph Willibald Gluck also attracted attention playing a similar instrument in England.

  • Comments