Need a New Hobby? We Recommend Playing Musical Vegetables

From carrot flutes to to zucchini clarinets, vegetables have musical potential

Vegetable Instuments
Playing with your food requires talent. via Modern Farmer

Over the past two decades, classical music has moved in increasingly avant-garde directions. Perhaps none, though, is more applicable to our interests than the use of produce as instruments.

Vegetables have a few qualities that make them ideal for instruments. They’re cheap, readily available, many (especially root vegetables like carrots and turnips) can be easily carved and whittled, and the vision of someone blowing into a carved stick of celery with his nostrils will never not be fun. They do, of course, not last nearly as long as, say, the hardwood from which a clarinet is usually fashioned, which means vegetable musicians have to continually create new instruments. But nothing’s perfect, right?

Here are some of our favorites.

Atlas Obscura alerts us to the existence of Junji Koyama, who records himself on YouTube playing celery nose flutes and other gems. Lovely!

Celery Nose flute: Lightly Row

There’s an entire group based out of Vienna, calling itself the Vegetable Orchestra, that’s been together for more than 15 years. They construct instruments out of leeks, cabbages, turnips, carrots, and even onion skins, and perform all over the world. Check them out:

Who says you can't play with food? The Vegetable Orchestra at TEDxVienna

Linsey Pollack has a slightly different method, using prefabricated parts designed for more traditional instruments and attaching them to quickly carved bodies made from vegetables. Here he is playing a carved carrot with a clarinet mouthpiece attached.

Carrot clarinet | Linsey Pollak | TEDxSydney

Chinese brothers Nan Weidong and Nan Weiping carve surprisingly sophisticated mouth-flutes, sounding eerily like a plastic recorder, from gourds and root vegetables.

Vegetable orchestra: Chinese brothers carve extraordinary instruments from ordinary veg

YouTube user Lucas & Creaciones creates something similar to Linsey Pollack, but using a gigantic zucchini and the mouthpiece from a bass clarinet. The sounds he makes on this thing are startlingly pleasant.

Instrumento calabacin - courgette bass clarinet sax

This all makes us look at our food a little bit differently!

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