ARTS & CULTURE
06/24/2014 09:20 am ET | Updated Jun 24, 2014

167 Japanese Musicians Play 'Ode To Joy' In The Strangest Way Imaginable

The headline may be hyperbolic, but readers, there is a time for hyperbole. That time is when Beethoven's 9th symphony gets covered by 167 Japanese musicians, playing theremins lodged inside Russian dolls.

Mental Floss writer Chris Higgins has the details on the contraptions the players above are using, called matryomins, in reference to the two key components:

"They're single-oscillator theremins that happen to be contained inside a matryoshka doll, also known as a Russian nesting doll."

The Beethoven performance apparently took place in 2011. Since then, at least one larger matryomin ensemble has gathered in Japan with an eye to break the size record. Even in small numbers though, there is something eerily wonderful about the instrument. Here's a single matryomin player, performing Love Me Tender:

As Higgins points out, matryomin can be bought online (though not cheaply). As can matryoshkas, the Slavic wooden dolls that nest inside each other in decreasing size. Harder to find are a hundred plus musicians, but we believe in you.

Yoko Ono

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