9 Strange Instruments for International Strange Music Day

Chrysalis - Cris Forster

Today, August 24, is International Strange Music Day so let’s celebrate by recognizing some of strange and interesting instruments you won’t see just anywhere, unless you look real hard.   Here’s ten instruments worth a listen or look, including the suitcase bass, playing a building, sea organ and more.


Playing The Building by David Byrne

When he’s not travelling the road to nowhere, Talking Head David Byrne is making instruments out of buildings!

Imagine an old pump organ, set at the heart of the Roundhouse, with a series of low-tech cables and wires attached to the buildings pillars, pipes and beams. Then imagine the ping, rattle and blow as they vibrate and resonate in response to the organ keys, and the building itself becomes a giant musical instrument.

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The Yaybahar

Yaybahar is an electric-free, totally acoustic instrument designed by Gorkem Sen.



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Chrysalis - Cris Forster

This guy has numerous interesting instruments in his studio, like this Chrysalis harp, invented and built by Cris Forster.  Check out the rest of his inventions . Chrysalis Foundation


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The Great Stalacpipe Organ

You haven’t heard Beethoven until you’ve heard it in the caverns.

The Great Stalacpipe Organ is deep within Luray Caverns, Virginia. Each key is wired to a solenoid-actuated rubber mallet that is connected to one of 37 different stalactites scattered around 3.5 acres of the caverns. When a key is pressed, the mallet strikes the stalactite.



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The World’s Largest Pipe Organ & Loudest Instrument

Guinness World's Largest Pipe Organ and Loudest Musical Instrument

Guinness World’s Largest Pipe Organ and Loudest Musical Instrument


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. It weighs about 150 TONS!

A tour of the entire organ takes 4 1/2 hours.

More details at oddmusic.com



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Sea Organ

Can’t compose? Let the sea do it for you with this magnificent architectural beach organ.

The Sea organ is in Zadar, Croatia plays music by way of sea waves and tubes located underneath a set of large marble steps.

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Ben Leininger of Mulligan Brothers. Picture courtesy of Sharon Steinmann & al.com

Mulligan Brothers’ Ben Leininger plays a Suitcase Stand Up Bass (made by Ross Newell).  Anthony Crawford of Sugarcane Jane & Willie Sugarcapps has a handmade ‘paddle bow’  & Luther Dickinson plays an oil can!






North Mississippi Allstar Luther Dickinson plays a cigar box guitar and an oil can!    See it in the video for  ‘Rollin & Tumblin’ where  Brother Cody also plugs a washboard into amps and creates a wickedly crunchy guitar sound. We’ll call it Southern Grunge.




So who needs a mass-produced $20 guitar to make music?  Just get a set of strings and go from there!



TLC in the Morning


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