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ANDREA SEABROOK, host:

For last week's "Homework" assignment, I asked you to send me a recording of you playing the strangest musical instrument you have.

(Soundbite of double bell euphonium)

SEABROOK: This is Marco Ciavolino of Forest Hills, Maryland. The instrument? A double bell euphonium. Marco writes, I bought a double bell euphonium for myself a few years ago for Christmas. It was delivered to my neighbor's house. Wrapped and disguised, it was placed under the tree. Of course, they figured out I bought it for myself, so I told my wife Susan it was my midlife crisis purchase, and it was either this or a Ferrari. She settled for the euphonium.

(Soundbite of Huffyphonic Gyrobanshee 1000)

SEABROOK: This is Brett Doar of Los Angeles, California. He's playing what he calls the Huffyphonic Gyrobanshee 1000. Brett writes, the Gyrobanshee is a bicycle wheel with the spokes cut out and replaced by guitar strings. The wheel is mounted in a frame that allows it to be rotated by a motor. Mounted in the frame is an electric guitar pickup. The overall sound of the Huffyphonic Gyrobanshee could be described as R2-D2 as heard from the deep end of a swimming pool.

(Soundbite of Huffyphonic Gyrobanshee)

SEABROOK: Now here's a find.

(Soundbite of Theremin cello)

SEABROOK: Brian Lowe(ph) in Seattle, Washington, writes, I own one of ten Theremin cellos in the world. Invented in the late 1920s by Leon Theremin, the Theremin cello, also known as the fingerboard Theremin, has basically been extinct for the last 70 years. There's no record of the number made, only two originals are known to exist, and neither one of those have worked for decades. Brian writes, my Theremin cello was recreated by Floyd Engels, a former toy maker at Fisher-Price.

(Soundbite of Theremin cello)

SEABROOK: Now, Ranjit Batnagar(ph) in New York City has been hard at work on his homework. Back in February he challenged himself to make a new homemade musical instrument every single day of the month. He sent us the sound of a few. The toadaphone(ph) is made from a lighting fixture and a plastic drinking straw.

(Soundbite of toadaphone)

SEABROOK: Then there's the Diet Cocarina(ph). It's an ocarina, usually a kind of egg-shaped flute. This one's made from a soda can.

(Soundbite of Diet Cocarina)

SEABROOK: And here's the Jasmine Kalimba(ph). It's a thumb piano made from a tea canister, and metal and bamboo skewers.

(Soundbite of Jasmine Kalimba)

SEABROOK: After the month ended, Ranjit gathered a few friends and played a concert with all of his homemade instruments. This track is called "Coconut and Foot."

(Soundbite of song "Coconut and Foot")

SEABROOK: Thanks to everyone who sent in their strange instruments. Check npr.org for a cool slideshow featuring a few others. Before we move on now, one last submission. This one presented by Matt Fichtenbaum in Chelmsford, Massachusetts.

Mr. MATT FICHTENBAUM (Nyckelharpa Enthusiast): This is a nyckelharpa, a Swedish instrument with a 900-year history. It has four strings that are played with a bow.

(Soundbite of nyckelharpa)

Mr. FICHTENBAUM: A dozen sympathetic strings, and a key box on the neck. And it can sound like this.

(Soundbite of nyckelharpa)

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