The Most Inimitable Musical Devices from Across the World

Music is highlighted as a global language that brings people across the divide together. With every culture donning their particularly unique repertoires of songs, melodies, and dances, there is bound to be a variation of musical gadgets from across the world, each with its exceptionality. Here, we showcase some of the most exclusive musical instruments from across the globe.

The English Jaw-Harp

Also known as the “Gew Gew” by the English, the Jaw-Harp is a quite a minor musical device made from wood or metal. The mount supports a stretchy part that induces the vibrations one hears as the gadget is played.


The Jaw-Harp produces music by placing it in the mouth while plucking the stretchy part. The music pitches can be adjusted through various formations using the player’s lips.

Benjamin Franklin’s Glass Harmonica

In the 1760s, Benjamin Franklin, one of America’s Founding Fathers and a renowned polymath, gave the world an exceptional musical device, the Glass Harmonica. His invention, also known as the Bowl Organ or the Hydrocystalophone, is not precisely a harmonica, but it still gives boundless music nevertheless.


The harmonious gadget made use of several bowls made of glass and arranged in sequence, producing music by giving tonal variations and notes by the bowl size. The Bowl Organ, considered by a vast majority as a ‘strange’ apparatus, is played by creating friction between the player’s fingers and the bowls as the device revolves around an axis.

The European Lur: A Bronze-Age Contraption

Dating back to the Bronze Age in Germany and Denmark, the Lur is highlighted as one of the most exceptional musical gadgets from Europe. It is composed of a variety of materials that come in many sizes and shapes, thus classifying it as a horned musical gadget, albeit lacking finger shacks. To make music using the Lur, the embouchure’s shape has to be manipulated.


The Lur may vary in shape, size, and make depending on its area of origin; it can be bowed or straight, standing up to 2 meters tall, and made of either metal or wood. The most recent discoveries of the Lur were of Scandinavian origin dating back to the middle ages. Most of these ancient musical tools were made of wood.

The Russian-Made Contrabass Balalaika

Also considered as a bizarre musical gadget, the Contrabass Balalaika traces its origins in Russia and dates back to the 16th or 17th century. The stringed device is played by hand by plucking the strings using the fingers.


However, the device remains unique from many other stringed gadgets due to its triangle-shaped body. It appears like a huge triangular guitar that would look somewhat awkward or off playing it.

The Swedish Nyckelharpa: A Keyboarded Fiddle

Also known as the Keyed Fiddle, this instrument was reportedly introduced to the Swedish civilizations circa 1350, thus ranking it amongst the oldest-known instruments still being played currently. The musical tool is made of thirty-seven keys and sixteen strings; each key is used as a fret to adjust the tonal pitch during playing.


Despite originating from Sweden, the Americans have an association devoted to this gadget dubbed “the American Nyckelharpa Association.” According to the Association, the Nyckelharpa has at least four versions still played currently across the globe.

The Aboriginal Didgeridoo: Australia’s Ancient Musical Gadget

The Didgeridoo is an antique musical gadget thought to be as old as forty thousand years, thus highly associated with the Aboriginal cultures of Australia. However, the device’s thorough history is still unclear. The instrument is categorized in the ‘aerophone’ cluster of musical instruments since it is a huge wind-instrument.


It features conventional tubes that range in length between 1 and 3 meters, with varying openings of the widths. The player vibrates their lips to produce sound; the device does not feature any finger holes. A vast majority of players have developed the skill known as globular breathing for continuous music production.

The Yaybahar: A Contemporary Turkish Invention

The Yaybahar is quite the complicated modern musical apparatus that is ideally made of a setup composed of coil springs and drums. The melody produced by the device sounds electric despite being 100% acoustic.


The idyllic resonance made by the coils is suggestive of the sound produced by laser-guns in childhood interstellar movie setups. The instrument was a topical brainchild by a Turk known as Gorkem Sen.

The Modern-Day Zeusaphone

The Zeusaphone is another contemporary yet unique musical tool that brings forth music using of Tesla coils. Patented about a decade ago, this device ranks among the most astonishing musical apparatuses of the 21st century.


In addition to the tones it produces, this remarkable music piece also fashions an outstanding visual display. The player makes music through Tesla-coil connections either to a synthesizer or a PC, thus creating electrical arcs which create enormous stage-lighting patterns.

The Hydraulophone: The Water-based Musical Instrument

The Hydraulophone ranks as one of the few gadgets that can be played using water. By creating direct contact with flowing water currents at low pressure through strategically-placed holes, this musical tool creates sounds by inducing hydraulic rhythms.


The gadget is a modern contraption conceived by Steve Mann.

Henry Dagg’s Sharpsichord

This music apparatus was invented by Henry Dagg who originally constructed it for the “English Folk Dance and Song Society.” This incredibly sophisticated instrument took him five years to complete, but he eventually regained its ownership after opting out of the binding contract with the society.


The complicated gadget is composed of a solar-powered rotary cylinder. Music is made through the 11,520 holes by continuously plucking strings within the device.

The Picasso-Named Guitar

The Picasso Guitar (christened after the renowned artist, Pablo Picasso) is indeed a reflection of Picasso’s work, i.e., painting real-life objects abstractly. To many, the device does not seem like one that can play good music, but contrary to common opinions, it actually does.


The tool is made of 2 sound-holes, 4 necks, and 42 strings. The original version of the gadget was constructed in the 1980s by Pat Metheny, a renowned jazz guitarist.

In conclusion, cultures across the globe have invented and re-invented an array of musical gadgetry, most of which have inspired contemporary musical apparatuses. The highlighted musical tools are some of the most iconic and unique across the globe, but there is still a vast majority of exceptional gadgets that remain unexplored on a global platform. Which are some of the unique devices that you have come across so far in your travels and adventures?