5 strange instruments that have defined musical styles
Published on December 31st, 2012 | by Caesar (ENGAGE)
These instruments look and sound weird, but they have helped define many a songwriting and sound style over the generations. Check them out!
The melodica, also known as the “pianica”, “blow-organ” or “key-flute”, is a free-reed instrument similar to the melodion and harmonica. It has a musical keyboard on top, and is played by blowing air through a mouthpiece that fits into a hole in the side of the instrument. The modern form of the instrument was invented by Hohner in the 1950s, though similar instruments have been known in Italy since the 19th century.
2) Killswitch Guitar
An electric musical instrument, such as a guitar or bass guitar, may have a kill switch, also known as a stutter switch. It is used infrequently but most commonly in heavy metal music. Contrary to popular belief, a kill switch doesn’t break the circuit but works by switching between the hot signal from a pick-up and the ground signal. A typical way of achieving this is (on a guitar with a volume control for each pick-up) by turning down the volume on one of the pick-ups then alternating the pick-up selector switch between that pick-up and one with the volume turned up.
3) The Travel Banjo
The travel banjo is a four-, five- or six-stringed instrument with a piece of animal skin or plastic stretched over a circular frame. Simpler forms of the instrument were fashioned by Africans in Colonial America, adapted from several African instruments of similar design.
4) Udu Drum
The udu is both an African plosive aerophone (in this case implosive) and an idiophone–not a drum–used by such peoples as the Igbo ofNigeria. In the Igbo language, udu means vessel. Actually being a water jug with an additional hole, it was played by women for ceremonial uses. Usually the udu is made of clay. The instrument is played by hand and produces a special and unique bass sound by quickly hitting the big hole.
5) Piano Accordion
A piano accordion is an accordion equipped with a right-hand keyboard similar to a piano or organ. Its acoustic mechanism is more that of an organ than a piano, as they are both wind instruments . The first accordion to feature a piano keyboard was probably the instrument introduced in 1852 by Bouton of Paris. Another source claimed the first piano accordion was introduced in 1854 at the Allegemeine Deutsche Industrieausstellung in München. It was showcased by the instrument builder Mattäus Bauer and quickly became a serious competitor to button accordions.