Merely approaching the field of art involving modifying and inventing instruments gives us a pleasant anxiety. There’s so much out there! Violins that play records. Artists that play buildings. Beats that play artists. Seems like magic happens when these mediums of creation entwine, but these few sound and look so amazing, it’s positively seductive. From replicas of Hieronymus Bosch’s surreal harp-lutes to Pierre Bastien’s tiny, mechanical orchestras, here are just a few functioning, artist-created instruments that we’d love to strum, bang, and play.
The Garden of Earthly Delights instruments, IRL
Would you believe that crafty musicologists at Oxford had actually constructed real-life, functioning replicas of the mutant harp-lutes and odd flutes from Hieronymus Bosch’s Garden of Earthly Delights? Not all of them — some of the more surreal ones were disappointingly “impossible to make.” Allegedly, these few right here sound “horrible” and “painful,” but we’d love to try them out ourselves. Perhaps not in precisely the intended manner, but, you know.