HomeLifestyle25 Most Unusual Musical Instruments Worth Learning in 2025

25 Most Unusual Musical Instruments Worth Learning in 2025

Unusual music instruments—in your opinion what kind of instruments will this be including? The most unusual thing about any musical instrument is the way they are designed, the way it is played, its size, its origin and how it supports its culture. Music is a way of life now, there are numerous musical instruments which have lost their way in the world because of modernity or due to another unwanted aspect of the world. But there are still some obsolete places in the world where they are still nurtured and appreciated. Let’s celebrate the art of music by understanding and learning about those peculiar instruments of the world.

Here, we have come of the top instruments from all around the world that are worth learning:  

Rindik Bunga Xylophone

Just a Xylophone! Well, you may have guessed it wrong because this one contains resonance chambers made from naturally carved gourds and beautifully painted from the outside by craftsmen! Rindik here is a Balinese word whose literal meaning is tool, Bunga means “strong connection” but can also be relevant to the Bunga deity that was worshipped throughout Asia.

This is among those instruments that are rare to find a rare to find, if you are passionate about music this is the instrument for you! The Rindik Xylophone is played by use of the beaters which simply struck each note to a melody. Alternatively, you can beat multiple notes at a time to play a chord similar to any other instrument. The Rindik Bunga is suited to many styles, and can even be used for orchestra-style music.


The national instrument of Japan, the Koto, is a half-tube zephyr instrument. The koto instrument, typically made from Paulownia wood, was designed with 13 strings and numerous moving bridges. However, they do have 17 strings in some cases. In this, musicians tend to pluck three strings to make melodies. The koto is an important symbol of Japanese identity and has been popular in Japanese musical history for ensemble, chamber, and solo repertoires.


The classical Indian musical instrument is also one of the oldest musical instruments mentioned in Indian literature. “Veena” that literally means “stringed instrument.” This is a chordophone instrument that is used for the lute and the arched harp. It is typically made from wood, with a hollow body, four melodic strings and three auxiliary strings and is played with a mixture of plucking and strumming motions. However, more modern models are made from fibreglass. It can produce sounds on a three-octave range and is usually made from gourd or jackwood.


The Yangqin, a Chinese hammered dulcimer, is an instrument that will remind readers of a much larger, more complex xylophone. The instrument is played using a beater or hammer to play notes traditionally with bronze or silk strings to play this instrument. Yangqin is also popular in Pakistan, India and Iraq. It is used both as a solo instrument and in ensembles, and to draw different tones a professional musician often carries several sets of beaters.


Suona is a traditional Chinese double-reed woodwind instrument known for its loud and penetrating sound. The Suona, also known as a Lada or Haidi, is typically formed from brass or copper and can produce a distinctive high-pitched and loud sound. This instrument is suitable for Chinese folk music and military purposes. It is also used in combination with other instruments like gongs, drums, etc.


The sitar is a plucked stringed instrument known for its use in Hindustani classical music and originates from the Indian subcontinent. Invented in medieval India, the sitar has a deep, pear-shaped gourd body, a long, wide, hollow wooden neck, and both front and side tuning pegs. This instrument from India typically features 20 arched movable frets, with usually five melody strings, one or two drone strings, and up to 13 sympathetic strings beneath the frets that resonate with the notes of the raga being played. An interesting fact to note, the word “sitar” comes from the Persian word “sehtar,” meaning “three-stringed.” In today, fast pace it is extraordinary to connect to your roots and somehow search for tranquillity in this music. 


The theremin is an extraordinary instrument that is played without ever touching it! It is one of the oldest electronic instruments and was invented in Russia in 1920. It has two antennas: one to control the pitch of the note and the other to control the volume. This instrument creates an otherworldly sound and people prefer it for the production of spooky music videos or sounds.


The Tambura, commonly known as tanpura, is a long-necked string instrument from India, that is similar in shape to a lute or a banjo. This instrument is somewhat similar to bass as it supports the vocalists by producing drones or harmonies instead of melodies, that support the vocalist in musical performances. This instrument has four strings, no frets and usually has metal strings.

Shipibo Shaker

A Shipibo Shaker is a tribal shaker from South America, which is specifically made in the Shipibo region. Each instrument is handmade by the Panoan people of Peru living near the Ucayali River valley. It has been getting famous over the past few years, and it comes down to the unique designs of animals, hummingbirds, and abstract designs as well as the natural sustainability of this shaker.


The Norwegian instrument the Hardingfele is similar to a violin, but it has 4 of 5 strings. Four of the strings are played like a violin, while the rest, known as understrings or sympathetic strings, resonate under the influence of the other four. The main difference between it and the standard violin is that Hardingfele produces more echo. It is mainly utilised in Scandinavian folk music, but it is popular in the United States as well.


The traditional Japanese musical instrument is an end-blown flute which is made of bamboo. It was derived from Chinese flutes but later developed in Japan in the 16th century. This instrument is tuned to the minor pentatonic scale and is considered superior in tonal quality and volume to other flutes of the region. The shakuhachi plays a central role in solo and ensemble settings, particularly in traditional and contemporary Japanese music.

Bouzouki Musical Instrument

The bouzouki is a stringed instrument from Greece that has a very distinctive sound and is a member of the long-necked lute family. It has often been used in traditional Greek music, but it has also been adapted to other styles of music. The bouzouki has steel strings and is played with a plectrum, producing a sharp metallic sound. There are two main types of Greek bouzouki: the trichordo, three courses,  has three pairs of strings, and the tetrachordo, four courses, has four pairs of strings.

Shamanic Drum

Shamanic drums are popular all over the world and whilst ours are made in Indonesia, they can also be found throughout Australia. A shaman means ‘one who knows’ and it is someone who performs a function based on their religious beliefs and cultures. The shamanic drum is suited to rituals, spiritual healing and gatherings around the fire. It can also be used in dance, for birthing or to improve sleep. The beating of drums will take you on a music journey. If the drum is used correctly, it can put you in a trance-like state and can have many health benefits. These include healing, leading a sacrifice, fortune telling and preserving the historic tradition through storytelling and music. These drums come plain, painted or in a tribal style along with a rustic wooden drum beater.

Chapman Stick

Another instrument that appears alike a guitar but gives a whole new level to music and culture, is the Chapman Stick. The main distinction between a Chapman Stick and a Guitar is that it has ten strings instead of six. The instrument got its name from the inventor, Emmett Chapman. Some models may also have 8 and 12 strings. The process of playing is very simple, and you just need to tap on the strings. The modulation of strings is the same as for standard guitar.


The national instrument in Russia, which belongs to the lute family, is also a symbol of the country’s music culture. Among other features, its characteristic shape is a contributing factor to being on the list of unusual instruments. Its hollow-triangular body, where holds three strings and a fretted neck. Its contemporary form features six varieties, each offering a different pitch. The highest pitch generates from the Piccolo while the lowest is the Contrabass. Other similar instruments include the Bass, Alto, Secunda and Prima Balalaikas.


The duduk, also known as the Armenian oboe is one of the most ancient double reed instruments. Originally, it is made with materials such as bone, contemporary models use wood from Apricot trees. To be honest, its name means apricot tree pipe. Over the centuries, it has won the hearts of music lovers beyond Armenia. As a result, it has travelled the world. Structured as a long cane with holes along its length and a mouthpiece on one end. Additionally, it has a wooden body, giving it a unique ability to resonate, unlike most flutes.


Originating in Africa, the djembe is a goblet-shaped percussion instrument. Dated back in the 12th century, its inventors were the Mandinke tribe of Mali, West Africa. Not only is it unusual and unique, but this drum holds the potential for a rich musical experience. It is one of the most versatile drums of all time that offers a wide range of sounds, which are remarkably loud. The sound varies according to the density of wood, shape and proportions as well as drumming style.

Pan Flute

I reckon we all are pretty much familiar with Peter Pan, in which case, then you might know something about the pan flute played by Peter Pan. It consists of several pipes of varying lengths joined one to another in a row. Originally, it was a product of ancient Greece, but in modern times, there are different variations of the flute in various cultures around the world. During a performance, the musician will blow across the tops of these pipes while blocking some of them. Each of the pipes offers a different note and the result is fascinating.


The Vielle is one of the most intriguing exotic musical instruments which resembles to modern-day violin. This bowed-string instrument appeared on the scene in the 10th century. It is typically oval oval-shaped instrument which sometimes takes the shape of eight. It sports between three and five strings and a pegbox resembling a leaf and pegs that tune from the front. There is a clear distinction between the vielle and the violin, that the former is longer and deeper. This creates a clear difference in the musical output between the two. Though it was most popular in medieval times, however, we can still see that it holds remarkable acoustic appeal for the music enthusiast.


Another super unique and unusual modern musical instrument, is the Stylophone! It is like a pocket-size box which produces vibrant synth music. The way of playing a Stylophone is also distinctive. Firstly, you will need a metal stylus and you touch it around the metal keyboard located on the device. As the metal touches each other there comes the synth music. You can also drag it around along the keyboard to create different kinds of pitches.


Tabla appears more like hand-resting drums from India, where one is smaller than the other. These two drums are called the Dayan (right-hand drum) and the Bayan (left-hand drum). These are commonly made of wood, clay or metal, and the smaller drum is used to create tonal and treble sounds, whereas the bigger drum acts as the bass drum. These are often personalised with rings and wooden dowels, which can help adjust the tone of the drums.

Cimbalom Musical Instrument

Originating in Hungary during the Middle Ages, the Cimbalom is played by striking two cotton-tipped mallets on the strings. Cimbalom creates a distinctive percussive sound similar to a harpsichord. The Cimbalom resembles the inside of a baby grand piano. It has over 125 strings stretched around the length of a wooden box resting on four legs.


Hydraulophone uniquely creates sound using water vibrations to produce a variety of relaxing sounds. It is played by pressing on jets of water laid out to a musical scale. Covering a hole directs the water to a sound-producing mechanism, creating a note. However, it is not that easy to build such an instrument, but you can always get a chance to play it if you ever visit the Science Center in Ontario, Aquarium in Florida, Legoland in California, and a few other places.


An exotic musical instrument Ocarina is one of the most popular instruments which appears similar to the flute. It has been used for more than 12,000 years by the Incas, Mayas, and Aztecs. While it is widely popular in South America, many people in Japan and Europe have also been using Ocarina for a long time. This instrument comes in various shapes, and it can produce a sound similar to a flute.


The Xun is an egg-shaped instrument traditionally made from clay and has been present in Chinese culture for over 7,000 years. Surprisingly, this oddly shaped instrument is played like a flute, with a blowhole at the top and six finger holes around the instrument’s body. In the early days, this instrument was used to play ambient music in palaces.

Among all the unusual and surprisingly beautiful instruments of the world which one would you prefer to learn? 

If you think it’s too late to learn now! Then, you couldn’t be more wrong. It is never too late. If you get a chance, go ahead with it. Preferably, the most common instruments to get your hands on are Tabla, Stylophone, Chapman Stick, Tambura and many more. Go where your passion for music takes you. Leap ahead with the sound. 

Sheena Dawar
Sheena Dawar
Sheena Dawar is an introvert who believes words are melodies that stir the soul and colors that paint the canvas of possibility. She embodies the spirit of a poet, breathing life into each syllable and crafting stories that dance in the hearts of those who dare to dream. Sheena has completed her MBA from The Vedica Scholars Programme for Women and degrees in English Literature and Comparative Literature from the University of Delhi. With more than 6 years of experience, she excels in creating engaging content across various platforms, specializing in SEO writing, copywriting and digital marketing. As a brand manager at 9.9 Group, Sheena orchestrates innovative strategies that resonate with audiences and elevate brand presence. Her journey includes stints as a content head and instructional designer, where she curated engaging educational courses for leading ed-tech platforms. Fuelled by a passion for creativity and entrepreneurship, Sheena spearheads her own website, where she curates compelling narratives and mentors a team of writers in crafting SEO-friendly content. Beyond her professional pursuits, she's a fervent advocate for veganism and is embarking on her vegan venture, driven by a commitment to animal welfare, sustainability and ethical living.


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