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Odd sounds indeed

HOME to spoon harps, African moth cocoon shakers, octavators and violimbas, is a celebration of the world's "unique, unusual, ethnic, or experimental music and instruments".

The heart of this addictive site is its gallery, where noise lovers can learn about dozens of weird and wacky instruments fashioned from stones, video tapes and even beer bottles.

Each entry boasts a picture of the unconventional instrument and an audio clip, so visitors can hear exactly what a due capi, a two-headed wood and aluminium wind instrument, or a trimeister, a fusion of guitar, mandolin and fiddle, really sound like.

Most of the offerings are experimental, but a large portion are traditional instruments, used for centuries by various indigenous peoples from around the globe. For example, the uplifting Ukranian bandura, the jaunty Javanese gamelan and our very own didgeridoo, one of the world's oldest wind instruments.

Musical interests at the site range from techno to junkabilly noise rock. Anything goes at OddMusic, where there is only one rule:

"Respect for all opinions and members" -- at times a difficult request, especially in the case of instruments such as the bikelophone, a spooky contraption built in 1995 for the Lyle and Sparkleface Band.

The bikelophone, which produces sounds ranging from tranquil bliss to cacophonic terror, boasts magnetic pick-ups to amplify the sound. So, any instrument attached to the bikelophone is amplified. The current configuration includes bass strings, scrap wood and metal, metal bowls, telephone bells, a mechanical foot pedal and a touch-sensitive tone generator.

Other weird instruments:

The amazing pencilla: Has nothing to do with a writing instrument. It is, in fact, a "groovy" electric 10-stringed collision of a hammer dulcimer, slide guitar, koto and fret-less bass with six pick-ups of varied types. It is struck with sticks, plucked and bowed.

The beer bottle organ: Originally developed in Europe in the early 1800s, its sound is created by blowing air over the tops of beer bottles filled (or tuned) with mineral oil to prevent it evaporating. The beer bottle organ is played with a keyboard.

The double violin: A 10-stringed double violin that shares the same fingerboard.

The harp guitar: Part guitar, part harp, part bass, this contraption is a 20-string instrument with an extended second neck that stretches above the main neck. The second neck holds seven un-fretted bass strings which are plucked like a harp.

The planet stainless: Created in the Philippines, using stainless steel kitchenware, this improvised amplifier creates natural vibrating effects when struck.

The thumb piano: Made from an old aspirin tin, the thumb piano (also known as a kalimba) is just 4cm wide.

Samchillian tip tip tip cheeepeeeee: The STTTC uses a modified computer keyboard on which each key does not denote a fixed pitch as would a normal piano keyboard. Instead, each key changes pitch each time it is played, offering an astoundingly diverse palette of sound.

Trongos: A set of three joined stainless steel and bronze water drums. The central larger drum is held between the player's legs so that the water may be "activated" by moving the legs as the trongos are played. The motion creates ambient schiziosonic modulations and pre-echoes that vary depending on the speed at which the water is moved.

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