|Listening to the
radio might give you the idea that the guitar, bass, keyboard
and drums are the end-all and be-all of musical instruments.
But at Oddmusic, located at www.oddmusic.com, you'll discover an alternate
soundscape populated by Gravikords, Triolins and Guitorgans.
The site was created in 1999 as the outgrowth of an online
discussion group devoted to ethnic, experimental, or homegrown
instruments such as the Beer Bottle Organ. If you're wondering
what kind of sound is produced by an organ that uses real
beer bottles instead of pipes, enter the Oddmusic Instrument
Gallery to see a picture and download a sample tune.
There are other must-see creations in the gallery, like
the MegaBass Waterphone - a set of bronze rods that can
be used for calling whales - and a contraption made from
the frame of a ten-speed bicycle called a Bikelophone.
No exploration of experimental music would be complete
without the Theremin, the granddaddy of futuristic electronic
noise makers, and Oddmusic doesn't disappoint with its
history of the instrument, including a page from the device's
orchestral debut at Carnegie Hall, and an interview with
its inventor, Leon Theremin.
The features section also delves into the world of Circuit
Bent Instruments, which are artworks as much as plastic
toys that have been hacked for alien sounds.
Back on this planet, Oddmusic offers an extensive glossary
page that describes everything from the Egyptian Aud to
the European Zampona.
Over in the links section there's a trove of online musical
diversions, and you're sure to be lured by the call of
a high-pitched website about tin whistles.
But before leaving, browse the Oddmusic store for its
selection of books that will teach you how to design musical
instruments. You'll be making a four-necked guitar and
bamboo saxophones in no time.
- Noah Robischon