First Posted: 1/30/2014

Many unknown instruments are some of the most interesting. For example, did you know that the world’s smallest violin is actually playable? Or that you can make an instrument from a handsaw? Keep reading to discover more:

The Chapman Stick

The Chapman Stick resembles a guitar, yet operates differently. The instrument itself looks like a giant fret board, and players can use one or both hands to play notes. Instead of picking the strings, the player simply taps each string to produce a note. If the player is extremely talented, they use both hands to play numerous rhythms and chords at the same time.

The World’s Smallest Violin

Though not currently playing the world’s saddest song, it could, as it’s completely functional. Standing at a mere 1.6 inches, the inventor, Eric Messiner, created two versions of the world’s smallest violin in 1977. Messiner planned to win “World’s Smallest Violin” in the Guinness Book of World Records – however, Guinness decided to drop the category in the book’s 17th edition. He did, however, obtain a letter saying that his violins were the smallest to date.

The Eigenharp

Not only is the Eigenharp hard to pronounce, it also plays like Guitar Hero! The Eigenharp plugs into the computer, and has over eighty-four keys to create any sound. Moving the keys up and down or side to side alters pitch, and each key can be programmed to play different sounds. In addition, the Eigenharp records music, programs beats, all while acting like the Swiss-knife of music.

The Musical Saw

If anything, the Musical Saw is true to its name. The body of the instrument is a hand saw, and the blade is bent into an s-shape to produce a note. Then, the “sawist” runs a bow over the flat edge to produce a note. Modifying the shape of the saw’s blade produces a variety of notes.

The Theremin

You’ve probably heard this instrument before, even if the name is unfamiliar. The Theremin featured in many classic horror films, along with several movies by Alfred Hitchcock. Russian spy Leon Theremin originally invented his namesake to measure the density of gases; the result, however, was quite different: a freestanding instrument that operated by simply moving your hands. Moving hands from one end of the instrument to another produces an array of notes perfect for horror films or late Halloween nights.

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