Weirdest. Musical Instrument. Ever.

Athanasius Kircher was a 17th century Jesuit priest who spent too much time thinking about weird things. One of his great musical inventions was the Cat Piano.  

Kircher gathered (allegedly, anyway) a group of live cats which he then arranged according to “tonal magnitude,” threading their tails through to a piano-like keyboard.  When a key was depressed, a hammer with a sharp point would strike an individual cat’s tail, causing it to howl.  This was how the instrument made music.

A new book on Kircher entitled A Man of Misconceptions has just been published by John Glassie. Read more about it here.

That makes this Monty Python skit a little less crazy, doesn’t it?


Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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