You probably think you know the taxonomy of stringed instruments. Violins are the tiniest ones, followed by violas, cellos, and basses. But there is another, way huger instrument, appropriately named the octobasse, which sounds like a mythical monster.
The octobasse is a string instrument that can create sounds so low, humans can’t hear them. What is the point of that, you ask? Maybe to feel the vibrations? Unclear, but it’s pretty metal.
Though this totally sounds like the invention of a bored millennial, the octobasse was built in 1850 by the French instrument maker Jean-Baptise Vuillaume. The octobasse is quite a lot larger than a human and not very practical to transport; also, there are rumored to only be seven in existence. But there is a playable replica at the Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix, Arizona. The octobass is in use by exactly one (1) orchestra in the world: the Montreal Symphony Orchestra.
Playing an octobass is different than playing other stringed instruments, because it’s too big for musicians to use their hands on the strings. Instead, there’s a system of levers and pedals that create each note.
Watch some musicians experimenting with the octobasse in Phoenix:
Is it amazing or is it terrifying? Maybe a little of both.