- Bubble Organ
Built by Aaron Wendel from pieces of old furniture and gutters collected from the streets around his home. It uses the sound of bubbling water inside tubes, which is controlled to produce musical compositions. Made up of two balloons that are attached to a pipe underneath the keyboard and then connected to 10 small plastic tubes. The box in which the keys stay is filled with three inches of water so that the ends of the tubes is submerged. The flow of air from the keys being pressed is taken from the balloon through the tube, making the bubbles inside resonate to a specific pitch.
2. Harp Guitar
Looking much like a guitar, but with twenty strings and a second neck. This one extends over the first neck of the instrument, holding seven bass strings which are being played like those of a harp. Beside the six standard guitar strings which are strummed normally, it also has eight treble strings below the standard six which are plucked like the above seven. A well known musician to play this instrument was Michael Hedges. He completely changed the way guitar was being played by combining many different techniques.
- LEGO Harpsichord
Excepting the wire stings, it is made entirely out of 100,000 LEGO parts. Created by Henry Lim, it is a 61 note range instrument with a weight of almost 150 lbs. The tuned strings exert a great force on the plastic structure, thus design patterns were rigorously double checked for maximum strength and durability. It all started with prototypes of various sections of the instrument. After all the designs were finalized, the necessary parts were bought, and in two years the instrument was ready to be played.
Created by luthier Linda Manzer for guitarist Pat Metheny, it is a four neck, double sound hole, 42 string guitar. Weighing 14 lbs., the Pikasso is under 1000 lbs of pressure when all strings are strung. It needs to be mounted on a stand leaving the hands free for playing. If not, it is built in such a way that the side closest to the player is thinner then the side that rests on the knee, this making it more comfortable under the arm.
5. The Rumitone
A really strange sit-in instrument, the Rumitone is played by striking the bells with mallets, bows and even the musicians breath. The spinning body lets the dancers and musicians fold in and around it, playing the spiritual music that inspired this instrument. It has a central platform, big enough for two people, that spins, making the tubes open outward, like a flower.
Created by the chamber opera Plasm over ocean, it was featured in magazines and on public television around 1977. It was built from rock maple with cello strings and bridge and a glass bowl, making an unique strange sound. It was entirely bolted together so that it could be easily taken apart when traveling. The instrument was quiet, and needed a microphone for public performances.
First created for a gallery in 2001, the Uberorgan created by Tim Hawkinson uses bus-sized bagpipes with balloons that effectively produce music. Each tube is tuned to a different pitch and is playing a 200 ft long scroll of musical score. The score is read by a series of light sensitive switches and translated into music through the tubes.
Originally made of fiberglass by David Brown, Stuart Favilla and Robin Whittle, the LightHarp uses spotlights, and light sensors to trace your fingers through the air while playing on virtual strings. The sensors input the signal into a computer that sends the output through the speakers, thus producing sound. The current one is built out of leather and a total of 32 light sensors that act like 32 virtual strings.
9. Glass Armonica
Invented by Benjamin Franklin in 1761, it was one of his favourite inventions, named after the italian word “Armonica”, meaning harmony. It mainly works on the same principle of rubbing wet fingers on the rim of a glass. All of the bowls are tuned individually so that they don’t need to be filled with water. A glass with water was needed beside the player so he can get his fingers moist so that he could play the instrument.
10. Due Capi
Invented by Oliver DiCicco in the 1970s, it stands for the italian “Two Heads”. It is made from aluminum, wood, drum heads, and amplified through piezo pickups, and at the end of each pipe it has a saxophone mouthpiece. The ait going through the mouthpieces goes down a series of tubes to a single chamber, so that both players interact while playing.