Görkem Şen, a Turkish musician who is based in Istanbul, has created an extraordinary new musical instrument that can create a range of unusual sonorities that on first hearing sound uncannily like the kind of early synthesiser that wouldn’t sound out of place on the score of a 1970s science fiction movie.
However this beautifully bizarre instrument, called a Yaybahar, needs no speakers, amps or electricity of any kind. Its hypnotic tones are produced entirely acoustically via coiled wires that are connected to large membranes like the skin of a drum. These amplify the resonant oscillations of the wires, which can be played a number of different ways, including being struck with a mallet and even being bowed.
In a short film released on the video sharing site Vimeo, Şen demonstrates the variety of different sounds the Yaybahar can make, and even includes a very familiar reference – the main theme of Beethoven’s Ode to Joyfrom Symphony No 9.