Caroline Baudry, edited by Laura Laplaud / Photo credit: CYRIL FOLLIOT / AFP 08:36, June 21, 2023

This June 21 marks the beginning of summer but also the celebration of the Fête de la musique. Throughout the evening, the French will be in the streets to sing or play an instrument. On this occasion, Europe 1 returns to these instruments that you do not hear so often such as the theremin or the glass harmonica.

We all know the piano, the violin, the clarinet... But do you know the theremin or the glass harmonica? On the occasion of the Fête de la musique, Europe 1 returns to these instruments that you do not hear so often.

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The snake used during the French Revolution

This instrument has the appearance of a reptile but the timbre close to that of the human voice. The snake is a windy instrument, tortuous, designed to accompany and galvanize crowds, details Marie-Pauline Martin, director of the Museum of Music in Paris. "For church or procession music, at the time of the French Revolution, revolutionary processions chanted the songs of the crowd. We used these snakes."

On the next floor, next century. That of the 19th century with its innovations, its gigantism. The octobass, the cousin of the double bass, imposes itself with its five meters high and a sound so low that it approaches the limit of what the ear perceives. "There are three of them from the time circulating in the world and today, I think we are at the three or fourth facsimile built by the same luthier, and especially in Canada," adds the director of the Museum of Music.

The theremin, the first electronic instrument

The theremin, invented in 1919, is the first electronic instrument in history. Its shape is reminiscent of an old radio. It is played by bringing his hands close to two metal antennas without touching them. A story of vibrations in the magnetic field of the object. The Beach Boys even made the crowds dance thanks to the instrument on the cult track "Good vibrations".