How many instruments can you name? Believe it or not, there are probably HUNDREDS of instruments you haven't heard of. If you're bored of the same old guitar/keyboard/drums/bass lineup, look no further than these rare instruments from around the world. Cool musical instruments are everywhere you look, from religious ceremonies (the shofar) to your favorite old Led Zepplin album (the theremin). Let us be your guide to the rare instruments, international instruments, and just plain weird instruments you never knew existed.
It's a little weird that the glass harmonica (a collection of glass bowls that use friction to make sound) is also known as the glass armonica, but then again, it's just a weird instrument in general. The first iteration was invented by Ben Franklin (what didn't he invent?!) in 1761, after being inspired by a musical number he saw played on a set of water-filled wine glasses in England. Mozart and Beethoven composed pieces for the glass harmonica, but the instrument eventually fell out of favor because it was rumored to make its players "go mad."
Created in 1967 and out of production by 1975, the magic of the stylophone—an analog keyboard controlled with a stylus—was short-lived. Fun fact: David Bowie played the stylophone on his breakout hit song "Space Oddity."
The cimbalom is a type of chordophone, or hammered dulcimer, from Hungary. Its history goes all the way back to 3500 BC! The sounds of the cimbalom have been mostly favored by Gypsy musicians, but the instrument has made appearances in the scores of movies and TV shows like The Lord of the Rings, Star Trek, and Sherlock Holmes.
"Crwth" is a Welsh word that means "bulging out," so its a logical name for the bulbous, six-stringed instrument they created back in Roman times. Legend has it that a Welsh crwth player escaped from a pack of hungry wolves by gently plucking his instrument for them.