Nowadays you can access information quite easily, but sometimes things never even cross your mind – like knowing about certain instruments that are rare and unique, but that knowledge can make you richer! Regardless if you are only a history buff, someone who is interested in playing different kinds of instruments or just looking for interesting conversation starters, it’s a great excuse to dive into the lore of certain, rare instruments from all over the world!
And with that being said, here are 6 exotic instruments you should know about!
Thus stringed instruments come from a family of lute musical instruments, that is most popular in the regions of India. Sitar is usually around 4 feet with its pear-shaped body that’s attached to a long, hollow wooden neck. The strings are made up of metal and are tied at the base of the neck, usually, it’s a five-string melody type with two drone strings for tuning and making the rhythm and melody more prominent. This type of instrument is not an easy one to learn, and it certainly isn’t small to carry around, but besides that, it’s actually pretty popular and well known, even world-famous rockstars used to play sitar and gain immense recognition for it! This instrument is certainly a sight to see and hear in person!
This uniquely named instrument actually has an interesting translation – with it meaning ‘’rock’’, it’s easy to associate the name with the look of the instrument as lithophone is indeed an instrument made up of flat stones. These stones are placed in rows and are tied to two parallel wooden or metal bars that connect the whole instrument and tie it together, with little gaps between the rocks and the platform they are placed on to ensure the free space for the vibrations. This keyboard styled layout lets the player take control and hit the flat stones with other smaller stones. This type of instrument has been here for thousands of years, even dating back to the Stone Age, as similar instruments were used unintentionally to scare animals and predators away, and obviously for making tunes! This kind of instrument is not as popular, and it’s rarely mentioned, but it’s interesting how people back in the day used it for both safety and entertainment!
If your roots take you back all the way to Ireland, this is probably the best way to reconnect with them! This instrument was around for thousands of years, as it resembles a form of tambourine, it wasn’t as popular of an instrument until the ages from the 1920s to 1960s. Today, this interesting bodhran drum is made of a circle frame and a stretched-out skin over it – similar to a tambourine and a regular drum! In order to produce specific and clear notes, the skin around the brim needs to be tightened, made from synthetic material unlike before when it was made from goatskin. Bodhran became such a staple in Irish music, with its distinctive sound, usually coming from the repetitive tapping in the instrument itself, usually with double-ended drum-stick. This instrument is fairly easy to learn and play, unlike many other, old instruments!
Didjeridu, or also called didgeridoo, is a wind instrument that is usually made from wood in the shape of a trumpet! They are extremely long, around 4 to 6 feet long, and made from hollow wood, typically eucalyptus, depending on the purpose, in some cases they can be even longer due to ceremonies. The interesting history of didgeridoo lies in the fact that it was mostly used by people of Australian aboriginal descent, usually for ceremonial purposes and important occasions, but nowadays you can hear this instrument on other occasions as well! The sound of the didgeridoo is pretty distinct and recognizable so you won’t be able to miss it once you hear it for the first time! The style of play is different and it can vary on the occasion, as well as the pace and the type of melody, so expect to hear a plethora of different interesting sounds!
This stringed instrument originated in Africa, and later on, was brought and distributed all across the United States and parts of Europe. It has a similar body to a tambourine with its large belly and a long slender neck that’s attached to it. Even if it’s a stringed instrument, it has five strings and it’s actually one of the easiest instruments to play in that field, perfect for those who are just getting started. So if you want to start playing an instrument, or possibly make your child play it, bhajan is a great start, you can even recreate the toons your child is familiar with and play it with them! Overall, Banjo is an interesting, lovely instrument to have in your home!
6. Glass Armonica
Now, the Glass Armonica is an instrument you’ll probably never have at your home, but it’s extremely intriguing and fun to know that it exists! Benjamin Franklin was intrigued by the instrument he has seen in Europe, so he decided to create something unique, by tapping wet fingers on glass! This wasn’t just a glass filled with water that you simply tap with a spoon and produce noise, as Benjamin tried to create something that made more sense of that noise and add chords and melodies. The instrument was made predominantly of glass, with various shapes, sizes, and thicknesses that determine what kind of melody is being produced, obviously with the help of water that’s filling in the bottles. It’s safe to say that this instrument is far from ordinary!
There are so many instruments in the world, chances are you’ve never heard or seen a lot of them, some are big and bulky and others are intricate and small, but they are all surely fun to learn about! Instruments are such an important factor in every culture and region of the world, no wonder that there is a plethora of all sorts and kinds of instruments in the first place. So if you ever get the chance to see and hear some of these exotic instruments, please do it simply out of curiosity – you have nothing to lose!