Unique Yaybahar acoustic instrument sounds like a digital space violinView gallery - 2 images
Here's one out of left field. Turkish musician Gorkem Sen has invented a new kind of musical instrument that incorporates fretted strings, coiled springs and drum membranes to create a range of haunting, evocative and beautiful sounds we've never heard before – at least, not this side of a synthesizer.
In an extraordinary video we've embedded below, Sen demonstrates how you can scrape or hit the springs for space-like sound effects, or beat the drum membranes to hear reverberations pass up and down the springs. But these merely sound like atmospheric sci-fi sound effects. Where the Yaybahar really takes off is when he starts bowing the fretted strings. The sound is like a distorted middle-eastern violin, with a wild springy echo and reverb.
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Harmonics in particular sound absolutely amazing, and when Sen begins plucking the strings at around 3:45 in the video, the echos sound incredible, beginning to emulate a police siren as they course up and down the springs. He's recorded it using two digital Zoom H4N recorders, and the effect is even more evocative in a set of headphones.
This thing would make a stunning addition to an orchestra – if it's loud enough for the unique overtones to come through, and indeed if you could fit it on a concert hall stage!