10 Obscure Electronic Musical Instruments That Contributed To The Music World

Music has always been the heart of the World. Everything can be sorted with the right music. It is maintaining its existence constantly from those ancient ages. Undoubtedly, it has faced versatile situations in its lifespan and still, so many experiments are going on to make it better every day. Today we’ll talk about the obscure electronic instruments that the world is always going to cherish.

Take A Look At Some Of The Obscure Electronic Musical Instruments

You must have heard about the Moog Synthesizer that represented electronic music in 1960. And remember about the Theremin? It was the first instrument that gave us spooky electronic sounds. But the list doesn’t end here. In the same fashion, many more electronic musical instruments came into existence with some more features and improved sound quality.

Orchestrion 1805

This instrument alone has reproduced the tunes of different instruments. This machine ran on electricity and could read music from the roll. It is kind of similar to a player piano. Do you remember about the Panharmonicon, introduced by Johann Nepomuk Mälzel? Companies like, Seeburg and Wurlitzer, expanded the idea and turned into huge music machines. You can call it a combination of multiple instruments. Such as percussions, violins, pipe organs and pianos. Mainly in saloons and other public places, this machine ran as a jukebox. It doesn’t really fit into the electronic music section, as it produced music mechanically.

Helmholtz Sound Synthesizer c. 1890

You can call it a steampunk wonder. A tiny keyboard controlled the Helmholtz Sound Synthesizer and the manipulating tuning forks generated sound with magnets. Later in the late 19th century, German physicist, Hermann von Helmholtz designed this machine. He combined overtones and differentiated the frequencies and produced a human voice along with the other instruments at the same time. This particular model is supposed to go up for an auction.

Telharmonium 1897

Helmholtz Sound Synthesizer

The inventor of this instrument is Thaddeus Cahill in 1897 and he named it as Telharmonium. By turning various wheels with the electric generators, this machine produced music. The musicians could adjust the tone wheels and made out sound like different musical instruments. So imitating the sound of the entire orchestra was in the hand of the player.

The weight of the first version was over 200 tons and twelve train cars were required to replace it. Basically, Telharmonium took up a lot of place in the room. There used to be concerts that were heard over telephones and that was the time when this machine took the main role. Though there was just three Telharmonium that existed before its eclipse, no record of this instrument still exists.

Ondes Martenot 1928

In the year 1928, this instrument was invented by Maurice Martenot. The oscillation inside vacuum tubes generated sound and a keyboard varied the frequency level. There is a performance by Martenot himself which is existing in youtube.

Trautonium 1929

Friedrich Trautwein, a German engineer introduced this machine in the year 1929. As soon as the musician press a resistance wire on a metal bar, the volume varied as per the force. Here the sound used to be a theremin. Frequency oscillations in vacuum tubes produced the sound here and later they changed it to transistors. Anyways, let’s thank Trautwein’s colleague Oskar Sala, who constantly tried to develop and improve its performance till the year, 2002. Because of him, the world has witnessed such great music.

Clavivox 1956

You must have heard about the composer, Raymond Scott, who was a pioneer of electronic music. He brought the Clavivox in the music world in 1956. His young assistant Robert Moog built a theremin and he used it in this synthesizer. Scott introduced several versions after that and each time he came up with some more features.

Electronium 1969

In the late ’50s, Scott came up with an instrument that could compose its own tunes. Electronium had only one working model that came into existence in 1969. It had no keyboard, so it could not play written music. But fortunately, this machine had the capability to compose music on the fly and play it at the same time. In fact, Berry Gardy purchased Electronium for Motown and hired Scott to play its elec

Electronium 1969

tronics division. On the other hand, Scott was working on the Electronium. And it’s still a matter of controversy that anyone has ever used it in any Motown recording. Strangely, the Electronium is still existing with Mark Mothersbaugh of Devo, but it is no more in a working condition.

Eigenharp 2001

Eigenharp is a perfect replacement for a guitar, piano, and woodwind all in one instrument. Since 2009, the general public has started using this instrument. In 2001, John Lambert started working on the electronic machine. His basic intention was to make this instrument more expressive than conventional electronics. Also, he wanted to make it more versatile than other instruments during the live performances.

In short, it was a classical instrument where the keys responded to the pressure and the breathe pipe controlled the sound. Additionally, it could add effects and drums along with a sequencer. There are only three models of the Eigenharp is available with different features and prices.

Zeusaphone 2007

You can compare the Zeusaphone with Tesla Coils and a theremin. Both were the names of the mythological god Sousaphone and Theremin. You must have heard about ArcAttack which is undoubtedly one of the most popular Tesla coil bands. Here, they used two homemade Tesla coils in order to send arcs up to twelve feet long. In fact, lately in the coil’s performances, the band included humans wearing Faraday suits.

Otamatone 2009

This electronic musical instrument almost looks like a musical note with a cartoon face. Novmichi Tosa, an art collaboration of the Tosa family invented this instrumental machine. This will always be appreciated by the musicians for its amazing sound system and musical volume.

So now I guess you have got enough idea about the uncommon electronic musical instruments that have contributed a lot to the musical industry. Strangely, the recent musicians don’t even know their names and their rare features. Along with the introduction of various instruments, the taste of music is changing day-by-day. But the transition is the only constant factor in the musical sector and that is why people say “go with the flow”.