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A Journey through Aesthetic Realms

Delightful Sound Experience with Alternative Musical Instruments

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On today’s program we’ll explore some unusual musical instruments, highlighting how musical talent and human ingenuity can be applied to create music using almost any object that’s able to produce a sound.

According to scholars who study prehistoric instruments, the first musical instruments created by humans might well have been lithophones or stone chimes. These “primitive” instruments have been found in almost every location where Stone Age people lived, from Africa to South America, Australia, Azerbaijan, England, Hawaii, Iceland, and India. Dr. Jean-Loup Ringot is an archaeologist and expert in prehistoric music. Let’s watch him demonstrate how to play a lithophone.

Did you know that vegetables can be made into musical instruments? In fact, there are several groups and individuals in the world who have resorted to crafting vegetables into instruments and playing them in performances. One of the most experienced of these groups is the Vegetable Orchestra based in Vienna, Austria. Founded in 1998, the Orchestra’s 11 members have performed with instruments like “carrot flutes, pumpkin basses, leek violins, leek-zucchini-vibrators, cucumber phones, and celery bongos.”

Some musical items can be extremely cool, literally speaking, as we now move on to explore ice music. It’s created by tapping beats out of natural ice, or by playing instruments fabricated from ice. An Irkutsk ethnic percussion group named Ethnobeat have created incredible “ice beats” on the frozen Lake Baikal in Siberia, the oldest and deepest lake in the world. The group discovered that the most beautiful sound is produced when the ice is about one meter thick and the temperature is at -20°C (-68°F).

Sometimes music can be made with the least expected materials. Residents of a marginalized town in Paraguay transformed trash into creative musical instruments. It seems that the list is endless when it comes to materials for making musical instruments. Perhaps, we can start looking around in our surroundings, even digging into our recycle bin, and come up with new items of our own.

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