While string instruments are a dime a dozen, they are still a wonderful thing to learn. So what are some of the more unusual ones you should consider learning to play?
It’s no secret that we live in a world that loves to take things as they come, and as long as they’re ‘good,’ we don’t care about the details. When you hear the term ‘folk music,’ you may think of Bob Dylan and his acoustic guitar, but you may not think of the banjos and violins that form the backbone of the genre and the complex and beautiful harmonies and arrangements that make up each song.
There are many unusual string instruments you should consider learning. You can read my most recent post about it here, a list of unusual instruments, and my recommendations.
Some Unusual String Instruments For You
If you’ve ever dreamed of playing the violin, but don’t know where to start, consider some of these unusual string instruments:
- Sitar (a stringed instrument from India)-
The Sitar is an ancient Hindu instrument used to provide an emotional, hypnotic sound. The main instrument in Indian classical music, Sangeet, is used in weddings, cultural performances, and religious ceremonies. The Sitar is made from a single piece of wood and is the third-largest stringed instrument in the world. It can be played in several different ways, depending on the size of the player, the material used to make it, and the tuning method.
- Bansuri (a woodwind instrument from India)-
India is home to thousands of different musical instruments. Among them, the Bansuri is unique and widely used for ceremonial or other ritualistic purposes in the country. It is often used in wedding ceremonies, especially in the South Indian states of Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu.
- Koto (an ancient stringed instrument from Japan)-
Koto (an ancient stringed instrument from Japan) is a musical instrument that is considered to be one of the oldest stringed instruments in the world. The koto (虎又, literally “tiger head”) is a small and portable instrument with a range of over three octaves and a sound that is so clear and pure, and it sounds as though it could be played with a bow. However, it is also possible to play koto without a bow as well.
- Gaita (a traditional Irish harp)-
The science is still unclear about how the gaita is played, but that hasn’t stopped Irish musicians from experimenting with one. It is sometimes called the Irish harp but also refers to a variety of different instruments, such as the gaita vinica and the gaita cantaora. The instrument is made of a wooden neck, with a metal loop attached to the top, and a metal ring at the back, and strings attached to the neck and loop. The player can choose to use a plectrum to pluck the strings instead of their fingers or use their fingers to pluck them with a plectrum.
- Ulululero (The Paraguayan Paraguay harp)-
The Ulululero is a percussion instrument often found in Paraguay’s corn-growing regions and some areas of Brazil, Bolivia, and Argentina. Many believe that this unique instrument is the only one of its kind in the world. While some believe that the instrument is inspired by the Paraguayan chirimia, or the Spanish zampoña, others believe it is a direct descendant of an instrument called the pyrrhotine, which is found in the Gulden Draak Mountains of Austria and parts of Italy.
Unusual string instruments take a lot of practice and dedication to master. If you want to learn to play an unusual string instrument, the best thing to do is buy a book and learn from it. Start studying slowly and steadily, and in no time, you will be ready to play the instrument. Many people neglect the importance of practicing when they want to learn an unusual string instrument. If you do not practice enough, you can be sure that you will not play the instrument well.
As you might expect, most musicians (and most people besides musicians) don’t know that many stringed instruments exist besides the violin, guitar, and piano. Strings are played by plucking them with the fingers, but some other instruments are played by using the bow instead. These instruments are not commonly played by professionals, but they are interesting to learn.