The Most Memorable Fictional Instruments In Film And TV  

Ann Casano
127 votes 25 voters 17 items

List Rules Vote up the fictional instruments you wish you could jam on.

Imagine being able to jam with the Cantina Band from Star Wars. You would need to be able to play one of the fantasy music instruments from the movie, like the Kloo horn or the bandfill. If strings are more your style, then the baliset from Dune is probably your best bet. But you would definitely want to steer clear of the Violin Man from Hannibal

While most of these fantasy music makers are based on actual instruments, some feature a handy upgrade. Bluegrass’s guitar from SilverHawks can also be used as a tactical device. And Fry from Futurama makes a deal with the devil so he can play the impossible Holophonor in an effort to do what most guys who pick up a guitar aim to do in the first place: make a girl fall in love with him.

Vote up the fictional musical instruments in film and television that you wish you could jam on. 

The Ressikan Flute From ‘Star Trek: The Next Generation’
The Ressikan Flute From ‘Star ... is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Most Memorable Fictional Instruments In Film And TV
Photo: CBS

In "The Inner Light," a highly acclaimed episode from Star Trek: The Next Generation's fifth season, Captain Picard (Patrick Stewart) gets hit by an energy beam that knocks him out. The alien probe allows Picard to experience 40 years of the life of a scientist named Kamin, whose civilization is in grave danger. Even though Picard experiences decades of the scientist's life, only about 25 minutes pass in real time.

During Picard's journey, he becomes adept at playing Kamin's flute, a woodwind instrument from the scientist's doomed planet of Kataan. When Picard wakes up, he is still able to play the instrument, which he subsequently keeps as a reminder of Kamin and the secret life that he led. 

Would you jam on it?
The Baliset From ‘Dune’
The Baliset From ‘Dune’ is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Most Memorable Fictional Instruments In Film And TV
Photo: Universal Studios

Appearing in David Lynch's 1984 film adaptation of the classic sci-fi novel (albeit in a deleted scene only viewable in extended cuts), and in the 2000 Syfy miniseries Frank Herbert's Dune, the baliset is a fictional nine-stringed instrument that resembles a sitar. It is played like a stand-up bass guitar and commonly used by Imperial troubadours.

Warmaster Gurney Halleck (Patrick Stewart in the David Lynch version) is known for playing a baliset, using the instrument to entertain guests and members of House Atreides. The general would even recite proverbs while playing. 

Would you jam on it?
The Mothership From 'Close Encounters Of The Third Kind'
The Mothership From 'Close Enc... is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Most Memorable Fictional Instruments In Film And TV
Photo: Columbia Pictures

Steven Spielberg's 1977 UFO epic builds to an astonishing climax in which humans and aliens communicate with one another through the medium of music, trading short melodic phrases in an effort to build a mutually intelligible vocabulary.

The alien mothership is not only capable of traversing the cosmic void, it packs one heck of a subwoofer, playing a note so loud that it shatters a window.

Would you jam on it?
The Bandfill From ‘A New Hope’
The Bandfill From ‘A New Hope’ is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Most Memorable Fictional Instruments In Film And TV
Photo: 20th Century Fox

The bandfill is a jazz instrument played by Nalan Cheel, who is a member of the all-Bith band "Figrin D'an and the Modal Nodes" - better known to all but the most dedicated fans as the Star Wars Cantina Band. It's a wind instrument with several horns and a boxy structure that looks like a cross between an accordion and a bagpipe. It first appears in Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope, among other instruments played by the band.

In the Episode IV scene in which Obi-Wan Kenobi (Alec Guinness) and Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) visit the Mos Eisley cantina to seek transportation off of Tatooine, the Modal Nodes can be seen and heard playing their hit song "Mad About Me" to a less-than-appreciative audience. This is the scene where Luke first meets his future adventuring pal, Han Solo (Harrison Ford), and Han's co-pilot, Chewbacca. 

Would you jam on it?