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10 Rare Musical Instruments You've Never Heard

We all know the classic instruments of music: The violin, the cello, the guitar, the trumpet, the drum, the flute... the list goes on. But even though it may seem as though we know a lot of musical instruments, there are countless more that have escaped our notice, because they are not part of mainstream music, but are predominantly played in specific areas of the world. 

I've gathered 10 musical instruments you've probably never heard before. If you would like to hear them, click the link underneath each photo to see a video of that musical instrument being played. Enjoy!


To Listen Click Here
Steel Drum 
The steel drum originates in Trinidad and Tobago. The unique sound of this instrument reminds us of an island atmosphere, and it is used extensively in Caribbean music.
In the video, you'll be able to hear the song Time by Pink Floyd, played on a steel drum. 

To Listen Click Here
The zither is a string instrument that comes from Europe, and can be found in many folk songs of Austria, Hungary, Slovenia and Croatia. Its name comes from ancient Greece, and shares a common origin with the guitar and the sitar.
The video plays the theme song of the movie 'The Third Man", played on a zither.

To Listen Click Here
The tabla is a very popular musical instrument in the Indian and Pakistani cultures. The tabla is comprised of 2 different sized drums - a small drum for sharp, short sounds, and a larger drum which gives a more deep and unique sound. The video shows a demonstration of various playing techniques on the versatile tabla. 

To Listen Click Here
The alphorn is a traditional musical instrument from Switzerland. It looks like a forest horn elongated to full size. The alphorn has a pretty limited sound range, but its strong sound can be heard for miles between the high mountains. In the past, this horn was used to pass signals between villages. In this video, alphorn player Cody Baumgretner plays his version of the Macarena.  



To Listen Click Here

Glass Harmonica
This unique musical instrument was created by inventor and statesman Benjamin Franklin. It is built from a series of different sized glass bowls.
In the video you'll hear 'Dance of the Sugarplums' played on the glass harmonica. 

To Listen Click Here
The calimba is an ancient African musical instrument made of a wooden box and a number of flat metal keyboards. It creates complex, yet beautiful music. 
The video plays a magical calimba solo. 

To Listen Click Here
The khaen comes from Laos, and is also common in North Thailand. It is actually made of 4 reed flutes attached to the same pipe. Combining the pipes creates a unique sound and can create surprisingly complex music.
The video shows a young Thai student playing the khaen. 

To Listen Click Here
The rackett is a European musical instrument invented in the middle ages, probably in Venice. Despite its relatively small size, the rackett has a low, deep sound and it can produce 2 different sounds at the same time.
The video shows a player demonstrating the rackett's impressive abilities. 

To Listen Click Here
The theremin is an electronic musical instrument invented in 1919, and was considered as the first 'hands-off' musical instrument. To play this tool, you need to get your hands close to or further away from its 2 antennas, which control the height and strength of the sound. It was most famously used to make that old 'flying saucer' sound in old movies.
The video shows Peter Fringle playing 'Somewhere Over the Rainbow' on the theremin. 

To Listen Click Here

Hurdy Gurdy
The hurdy gurdy is a string instrument that uses a wheel instead of a bow to create friction with the strings. It was invented way back in the 11th century in central Europe.
Listen to Mathias Loybner playing solo on the hardy gurdy.


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