image taken by: Gavin Whitner

If music is the food of love, then these musical instruments show how strange our tastes can be.

Sure, most of us have seen the likes of Neil Peart’s drum set and maybe a double headed bass guitar here and there, but those anomalies are nothing compared to the zany heights that some musical instruments soar to. On one hand, it’s neat to how innovative musicians can be. On the other hand, some of these instruments beg the question of how anyone ever came up with them to begin with.

Scientists claim there is a fine line between genius and madness, and nothing embodies this phenomenon better than the following musical anomalies. We’ll do our best to not hit any sour notes.

10: Didgeridoo

The didgeridoo is relatively popular these days, particularly in parts of northern Australia. That doesn’t change the fact that this is one weird wind instrument.

Believed to be one of the world’s oldest musical instruments, playing the didgeridoo requires an esoteric technique called “circular breathing.” This requires players to breath in through their nose while breathing out through their mouth to create continuous music. By doing this, modern didgeridoo players can continuously play for upwards of 50 minutes at a time.




9: Pikasso Guitar

Linda Manzer, the creator of the Pikasso guitar, writes on her store page that jazz guitarist Pat Metheny wanted a guitar with “as many strings as possible.” Through this collaboration, the 42 string Pikasso was born.

It’s hard to tell where this four neck guitar begins and ends, but it sounds rather elegant when performed professionally. It may look as if four hands are required to play it, but it gets top marks for originality.



8: Glass Harmonica

Ever see someone make music using water glasses? The glass harmonica is the same idea, just without the water.

This unique instrument was actually invented by Benjamin Franklin in 1761, and legendary composers such as Mozart and Beethoven even wrote music for it. Maybe this one isn’t so strange after all!



7: Wheel Harp

It may look like some kind of strange steampunk table, yet the wheel harp is actually more complex than it seems.

Containing a staggering 61 strings, musicians press circular keys on the wheel harp and can even mimic the sound of a full orchestra with enough practice. That said, we wouldn’t recommend this one to those just looking for a neat set piece; a wheel harp and cost upwards of $15,000.



6: Singing Tesla Coil

What’s this? Music made using the power of science!? Great Scott!

Also called the Zeusaphone, the singing Tesla coil uses actual spark output to make sound. By hooking the device up to a microcontroller that interprets MIDI data, musicians can actually control the electricity and treat the shocking instrument like a sci-fi speaker. Needless to say, this gives “electronic music” a whole new meaning.



5: Cheese Drums

Yes, you read that right.

Yes, cheese drums are exactly what they sound like.

No, we do not have answers. You’ll have to ask its creator: artist Walter Willems.



4: Hydraulophone

When we described the glass harmonica, we said it was water glass music without the water. Here, we have water glass music without the glasses.

The Hydraulophone pours water out of its many holes, and musicians create music by stopping the streams of water with their fingers. This contact directly produces sound, resulting in an instrument truly unlike any other.



3: Sea Organ

Now let’s get really crazy. What if we took the Hydraulophone… but then removed the musician?

No, this isn’t a bizarre game of musical Inception. The Sea Organ is a Croatian architecture that actually emits music as waves crash against it. Sure, it’s impossible for anyone to control the music being played specifically, but it’s still a popular tourist attraction. Just don’t expect nature to be playing your favorite songs when you visit.



2: Singing Ringing Tree

Not to be outdone by the Sea Organ, England’s Singing Ringing Tree is a giant sculpture made of a myriad of musical tubes.

Standing at almost ten feet tall, this fusion of music and art produces music as wind naturally blows through it. Does it look and sound kind of spooky? You bet! Yet it’s hard to deny just how bizarre the Singing Ringing Tree really is.


1: Badgermin

So… we just have no idea what to say about this one. This is the Badgermin. This is not a joke

Someone took the Theremin – an instrument that is strange enough as it is – and decided that it also needed to be a badger taxidermy. Let’s be frank: here at Gemr, we specialize in rare and obscure items. We’re no stranger to weird misprints and creations, and we love it. Yet this is a category all of its own. Whereas the above instruments at least had some specific reason for their existence, this is a creation made solely to confuse and baffle musicians everywhere.

Nothing else can be said about this perplexing creation. The next time someone tells you “I’m in the weird part of the internet again,” ask them “is it weird, or is it Badgermin weird?”


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Written by TimM
Tim is a video game aficionado who is fascinated by pop culture. He built his first collection in 1999 by catching all 151 monsters in Pokemon Red, and he hasn't stopped collecting since. His work has been featured multiple times on Destructoid.com.