100 Interesting Facts about Musical Instruments

76Niccolo Paganini

Niccolo Paganini, thought by many to be the greatest Violin Virtuoso of all time, was so incredibly good that many thought he was the Son of the Devil or he had sold his soul for his talent. He was even forced once to publish letters from his Mother to prove he had human parents.


77. Albert Einstein was also a gifted musician, playing both the piano and violin with exceptional skill. He once said: "The greatest scientists are artists as well."


78. Lindsey Stirling was told on national TV that she was ultimately unmarketable and that her violin and dance routine couldn't fill a theater in Las Vegas.


79. Acme City whistle founder Joseph Hudson once accidentally dropped his violin and it shattered on the floor. As the violin broke, it emitted a unique warbling sound which led him to an idea to put a pea inside a whistle. Pea whistles went on to replace policemen’s ineffective rattles for communicating.


80. There is a violin made out of stone that is fully playable.


81Giuseppe Tartini

In 1713, Giuseppe Tartini dreamt that he had sold his soul to the devil. In the dream, the devil played a masterful Sonata. When Tartini woke up, he composed Violin Sonata in G minor.


82. The first recorded inventor of roller skates, Joseph Merlin, wore his invention to a masquerade party. In an attempt to make a grand entrance, he rolled in while playing the violin but ended up crashing into an expensive wall-length mirror.


83. In 2013, Wallace Hartley's violin was confirmed found in a British man's attic and was eventually sold at an auction for $1.7 million. Hartley is famous for leading the eight member band as the Titanic sank on 15 April 1912.


84. Ed Sheeran wrote and recorded most of "I See Fire" for The Hobbit the same day he screened the film, learning violin in the process.


85. Most likely, the reason Stradivarius violins are awesome is because of climate change. The wood used in them is denser than most because it grew during the "Little Ice Age," which caused trees to grow more slowly than typical.


86Stradivarius

In a 2014 study in Paris, top violinists could not distinguish a Stradivarius from a new violin.


87. When the Soviet Union was pushing towards Berlin, an SS soldier was forced to play piano for his captors. They made it clear in sign language that he would be executed the moment he stopped. He played for 22 hours, after which he collapsed in tears. They congratulated him, then shot him.


88. 87 years ago, there was a day that the BBC had no news to report. So they just played piano music.


89. When Sun Ra (American jazz composer) played a gig at a mental hospital, it prompted a patient to talk for the first time in years. The patient walked directly to his piano, and said ‘Do you call that music?’


90. H. Jon Benjamin (voice of Archer and Bob from Bob's Burgers) has an entire jazz album where he plays piano, despite not knowing how to actually play the piano.


91Piano

Boston scientists have discovered that it may be possible to learn complex tasks, such as mastering Kung-Fu or the Piano, with little to no conscious effort, just like in The Matrix.


92. Krystian Zimerman, a Polish pianist was going to play at Carnegie Hall shortly after 9/11 but his Steinway grand piano was confiscated at JFK Airport and later destroyed because the glue smelled like explosives.


93. Tim Storms has the deepest human voice. He can hum 8 octaves below the lowest G on the piano; so low that humans can't hear it.


94. When Beethoven went deaf, he composed his music by hacking the legs off his piano and sitting on the floor so he could feel the vibrations.


95. A 4chan prank resulted in VH1’s Save the Music program donating $10,000 to buy musical instruments for Boston's Horace Mann School for the Deaf.


96Ben Navis

In 2006, Paul Nelson and Andrew Hunter climbed Ben Navis mountain (Britian's highest mountain) and discovered a piano on top of it.


97. A man named Dominic Owen Mallary said he always wanted Andrew W.K. to play during his funeral. So when he died in 2008, Andrew W.K. went to the wake and played classical piano the entire time, after paying his respects.


98. Billy Joel received his high school diploma at age 43. In 1967, he was playing at a piano bar to help his mother make ends meet which interfered with his attendance, causing him to miss a crucial English exam. Decades later he completed his diploma.


99. Princess Alexandra of Bavaria (1826-1875) had psychological issues that led her to believe she had swallowed a glass piano.


100. Steam pianos used to exist, and they could be audible for miles.

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