This Weird Instrument Has Probably Been The Soundtrack To A Lot Of Your Nightmares
Aug 12, 2015
The waterphone is played using either a bow or small mallets with SuperBall-type rubber at the striking ends. The waterphone can then also be simultaneously moved around in order to affect the water inside, which in turn affects the resonance and timbre of the note. The idea of using water to alter the pitch of a percussive instrument is not a new one, and has been used by many native cultures for centuries, and it was a Tibetan water drum that inspired the creation of the modern waterphone.
In addition to being featured in soundtracks for films like "Poltergeist," "The Matrix" and "Aliens," the instrument can also be heard on the "Water Song" prelude to "Janie's Got a Gun" on Aerosmith's 1989 album, Pump.
The waterphone, sometimes referred to as an "ocean harp" or "AquaSonic waterphone" is an acoustic percussion instrument made of a stainless steel resonating chamber (usually bowl or pan-shaped) with a long, cylindrical neck and bronze rods of varying lengths and thicknesses around the rim of the bowl. A small amount of water is filled into the resonator to give the waterphone that weird, creepy sound you've heard in countless horror movies and TV shows.