The Tenori-on, the Reactable and other crazy and awesome musical instruments that you have probably never heard (of) before!

For those who are interested in (or just curious about) music, here are five very unusual musical instruments that get your attention either by the unusual sounds they make, by their looks or by the way they are played. From old and exotic to electronic and modern, they will surely leave you mesmerised!

Tenori-on1 – The Tenori-on

A rather new one, the Tenori-on was created by Yamaha in 2005 and it consists of a square grid of 16×16 buttons with LED lights that, depending on the way and order that they are pushed, produce an electronic sound that can be used either as a base for a song or the whole rhythm itself. The UK singer Little Boots made the Tenori-on pretty famous by adding it to her performances.

The Hang or Hang Drum2 – The Hang

Created in 2000 by PANArt from Switzerland, it consists of a metallic dish that produces echoing metallic drum sounds. A single plate contains several different notes and it makes very soothing melodies. Currently it is very common to be seen performed by street artists in many cities of the world. There is currently a Duo from the UK called Hang Massive that specialises in music with this instrument.

The Reactable3 – The Reactable

Looking more like the control panel of a spaceship, the Reactable is an electronic instrument that consists of a round table whose surface reacts to blocks that are put on it in specific positions and places. Such blocks can control the sound it produces and it can mimic every sound a synthesizer makes. It was developed by a music and technology group in the Pompeu Fabra University in Spain. Icelandic singer Björk was one of the ones to use the Reactable to make music.

The Huaca4 – The Huaca

Although its time of creation is unsure, this is a rather ancient instrument. It follows the same logic of the standard Ocarina – some kind of flute made of clay. The difference here is that the Huaca consists of generally three different acoustic chambers, which makes it three times as hard to play (in comparison with a single-chambered Ocarina), but it has the ability of producing the sound of three Ocarinas being played at the same time.

The Theremin5 – The Theremin

This one is by far the weirdest – for many different reasons: First is that the Theremin is essentially electronic instrument, even though it was invented in 1928 by León Theremin, a Russian inventor; Second is that you don’t need to touch it for it to produce sound, for its sound is produced by the frequency generated by the proximity of the thereminist’s hands to the Theremin’s antennae; Third is that it produces a very eerie sound, very similar to the one we see associated by ghosts in old horror movies.


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