July 31, 2012 - Uncommon Instruments Awareness Day

Do you know what a cymbalom is? Do you know what a stalacpipe organ sounds like?

Well, then, you're in luck, because today is going to be a great chance to learn about some unusual musical instruments!

First, let me tell you about the Earth Harp...

Even though I live in Southern California, going to Hollywood to glimpse movie stars and going to TV show tapings are SO not "my thing." But a friend really wanted me to go to a taping, earlier this year, so I found myself in a theater watching “America's Got Talent."

And I feel really lucky to have been there, because a fellow name William Close blew us all away by turning the entire theater into a musical instrument. As you listen to this YouTube video of his performance, let me assure you that the sounds inside that theater were far more powerful and haunting that what you are hearing from your computer speakers!

It was really, really cool—wish you had been therethe entire audience leapt to our collective feet when it was done in a huge standing ovation!

...And the laser harp, the rain stick, and water glasses

This is a sonic palette.
This is called a "pibe cyrn," the
Welsh version of the bagpipe.
Last but not least, check out some more common instruments that you may or may not be familiar with:

The “official” website of Uncommon Instruments Awareness Day isn't all that official, but it shows that the creator of this day cares a lot about musical instruments! And it offers links to many more uncommon musical instruments!!

Also on this date:


  1. I thought the earth harp's an amazing instrument once William Close begin to play. I couldn’t imagine how awesome it was to actually be in the theater while he was playing for Americas Got Talent. A great episode for Americas Got Talent and it’s one of my favorite shows during primetime, and it’s a plus being able to use the Auto Hop feature to skip all my annoying commercials. I work in the evening and record all my primetime shows while I’m working, then I can view them a day or two later. The day after my primetime shows air I can control my TV by skipping commercials with the touch of a button. One of my coworkers at Dish showed me how this feature worked before I started using it at home. All I have to do is select enable and the Hopper lets me watch commercial-free TV. I don’t have to worry about wearing out the remote as fast with this great new feature.

  2. Here are two mini documentaries I made about people who've invented many unusual musical instruments: