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(Image Above: Martin Koenig on the Balalaika Web Site)
Everyone these days seems to look up to a guy who plays a guitar or a friend who rocks out on the drums. These instruments have some magical capability to endow their player with charm, allure, and interest. But what about other music-making devices? Why does no one acknowledge their splendor? In an effort to bring these overlooked instruments the recognition they deserve, this week’s Top Ten is devoted to Underappreciated Musical Instruments.
10. Bagpipes. That endless drone and those reedy notes have got a way about them.
9. Rackett. Some sort of Renaissance-Baroque instrument, but I bet it’s a terrible thing to listen to.
8. Didgeridoo. Oldest wind instrument that history can recall.
7. Accordion. Best when played by some old Frenchman in the winding streets of St.-Germain-de-Pres.
6. Heckelphone. For when you feel nostalgia for your overbearing mother.
5. Harmonica. There must be a reason that the sound of “harmony” is in their name.
4. Gongs. I bet the Beach Boys loved them, because they give off really good vibrations.
3. Banjo. That arpeggiated plucking makes me weak at the knees.
2. Lyre. Do people even play this any more? Know anyone named Orpheus? Perhaps he knows the answer.
1. Balalaika. Because it makes me think of baklava. Mmmm.
Do you know any other instruments that don’t get their fair share of attention?
I would add the shamisen and the koto (the two quintessential Japanese stringed instruments).
Of the named instruments, believe or not, my father has a didgeridoo (there’s a reason it’s underappreciated, haha), harmonica, banjo (he built it), and balalaika. That’s pretty good, I think.
I love me a well-handled bagpipe… at least when it’s not too close! 😉
The FRENCH HORN!
I’m partial because I’ve been playing for 12 years. But no one ever knows what a French horn is… unless you tell them it’s the instrument all over Christmas decorations.
the theremin !! it actually is in a beach boys song, good vibrations.
hmm…the glockenspiel. It’s the forgotten brother of the xylophone
The serpent, perhaps?
Of the named instruments, believe or not, my father has a didgeridoo (thereâ€™s a reason itâ€™s underappreciated, haha), harmonica, banjo (he built it), and balalaika. Thatâ€™s pretty good, I think.
The ukulele, definitely.
And the kazoo.
And the slide whistle.
(I play all three, although kazooing can’t really be considered skill. :D)
Yesss, the theremin. First electric instrument!
SITAR! The world would be nothing without the sitar…
Hey Hannah, love this top ten list. I would add the Kazoo and the Recorder, but otherwise I love all your picks. The Accordion is a good one too. You can cross-post this to our site http://www.toptentopten.com/ and link back to your site. We are trying to create a directory for top ten lists where people can find your site. The coolest feature is you can let other people vote on the rankings of your list.
I would echo sydney, and add the shakuhachi to that, also from japan. Also, the Suona, finger cymbals, the cajon (a really sweet box drum) and my group does some interesting things with a Melodica. Good list!
I have a softspot for rare instruments:
and my personal favorite, the ondes martenot.
You are quickly becoming my favorite Modcloth blogger. Awesome list!
Ahh, the bagpipes…brings me back to my old Highland dancing days 🙂 I love banjos and harmonicas, absolutely adore accordions – Amelie! – and apparently, alliteration…
I have a balalaika. My boyfriend can pick out a few tunes but I’m hopeless. 🙂 It always makes me think of Back in the USSR, too!
How odd! Just today there was a busker on the subway playing a balalaika. And I’m in Toronto, not Russia.
‘Gongs. I bet the Beach Boys loved them, because they give off really good vibrations.’
Actually laughed out loud at this! Love a good pun!
Wow everyone, all your knowledge of musical instruments impresses me!
And Laura, you just made my morning. Yay!
The Ukulele, obviously.
You also, in case no one has listened to them before, need to look up, Neutral Milk Hotel!
I’m sure this group of people will appreciate his kind of music!
I don’t know If I said it already but …I’m so glad I found this site…Keep up the good work I read a lot of blogs on a daily basis and for the most part, people lack substance but, I just wanted to make a quick comment to say GREAT blog. Thanks, 🙂
A definite great read..Tony Brown
I love the sounds of the names of some of the old instruments. How about the chitarone, the oliphant, etc.
All your knowledge of musical instruments impresses me!
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