10 "Instruments" That Have No Business Playing Music

Illustration for article titled 10 "Instruments" That Have No Business Playing Music

As part of our week long tribute to music tech, it's fitting that we honor artists that challenge our definition of musical instruments. Here are ten examples that shatter our perceptions (and eardrums).


Tesla coils have always been a popular instrument for nerdy conductors. Not surprisingly, the arrangement of choice is usually one of two songs: The Imperial March or the theme song to Super Mario Bros. [March and Mario]

Inside you burns the heart of a great musician—but you never learned how to play conventional instruments. However, as a gadget fanatic you are a natural virtuoso when it comes to office equipment. The next time you are bored at work try getting your scanner to play Fur Elise or, if you are ambitious, use multiple gadgets to perform Radiohead's Nude. [Link]

How about gathering all of the phones in the office and spending months neglecting work so that you can play Mozart's Turkish March? Haha...you are so getting fired.

Here comes Mario again—only this time somebody got a little more creative and performed the music using an R/C car and some wine bottles. [Link]

Now here is where things start getting really weird. Like a Japanese "circuit bender" turning Pikachu into a synthesizer. [Kaseo via DVICE]

How about David Byrne using an antique organ connected to hammers and air pumps to "play" the architecture of a 9,000-square-foot building? [David Byrne]

Japan's "Melody Road" utilizes precisely cut grooves in the pavement between 6 and 12mm apart to play a tune as cars drive over. Obviously, the speed at which you travel affects how the music will sound—and the optimal speed is a depressingly low 28 mph. [Oddee]

Finally, we come to the work of performance artist Tim Kaiser. I'm not even sure what the hell is going on here, but the following arrangement really runs the gamut. In some areas it sounds like soothing wind chimes, babbling brooks and church bells—and at other times it sounds like the background music to your nightmares. [Tim Kaiser]

This image was lost some time after publication.
This image was lost some time after publication.

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From the heading alone, I feel the accordion belongs here.