The Smallest Musical Instruments in the World

In my last post, I wrote about the biggest instruments in the world. This time around, it’s time to take a look at the smallest ones!

5. Smallest Grand Piano

There’s something funny about taking a “grand” instrument and making it tiny. But that’s what  Japanese game manufacturer Sega Toys Co. did in 2006. This fully functioning and playable piano has a keyboard of 88 keys (just like any normal piano) with keys 0.16 inches wide. It even has an auto-playing function. The whole piano is 9/8 inches wide and 7 inches high.

4. Smallest Harmonica

The 3.5 centimeters (1.37 inches) harmonica is actually an instrument you can buy online! Even the most famous Harmonica companies like Hohner, Lee Oskar and more, create these tiny harmonicas. It fits right on your keychain and has 8 notes you can play with it (meaning you have a full octave of notes to play with).

Here’s a great harmonica trio performance. The other two instruments are also harmonicas, but weird ones:

3. Smallest Violin (Not Only a SpongeBob SquarePants Thing)

It’s not really known when and where the phrase invented, but after someone is whining and you’re tired of hearing it, you can start rubbing your index finger and thumb together and say “This is the world’s smallest violin, and it’s playing just for you”.

But jokes aside, there’s actually a super small violin made a few years ago by Chen Lianzhi who set the world record for the smallest violin. The violin is 1 centimeter long (0.39 inches!) and its strings are so thin it’s not really playable.

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The smallest playable violin is 10 times larger but is still quite amazing and fully playable. Check it out, it’ll play just for you…

2. The Nano-Guitar

Now this instrument is REALLY small, but believe it or not, it’s the smallest!

The nano- guitar’s size is 10 micrometers long, which is about the size of a blood cell. The guitar was made for fun to illustrate the new nanotechnology at the Cornell University. The guitar has six strings just like a regular guitar. Each string is about 50 nanometers wide (about the width of 100 atoms). The guitar works but the human ear can’t hear it’s high pitch.

Smallest Musical Instruments
Photo by D. Carr and H. Craighead, Cornell.

1. The Nano-Harp

And for the grand, or actually, tiny finale, the nano-harp is the smallest instrument in the world!

This instrument was born in the same place as the guitar, Cornell University. Like the guitar, we can’t hear the instrument’s pitch. Even dogs can’t hear it’s 380 MHz pitch (the human ear can’t hear above 22 kHz (and even that is hard for super-humans to hear). It’s probably also the fastest human-made moving object too.

The instrument was carved (just like the guitar) from a single crystal of silicon and the harp’s strings are silicon rods 50 nanometers in diameter (a nanometer, by the way, is one billionth of a meter), which means that the instrument is about 150 atoms thick!

Smallest Musical Instruments

If you could play the smallest instrument in the world, which one would you like to try? Let us know in the comments below. 

Musical Wizard @ JoyTunes

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