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
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
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
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