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The waterphone is a musical instrument that was invented and patented by Richard Waters in 1967. It combines the principles of a Tibetan water drum , an African lamellophone and an 18th century nail violin .

The instrument consists mainly of three parts: a closed, bowl-shaped, water-filled body made of stainless steel or bronze, a hollow cylindrical neck perpendicular to the ceiling of the body, and metal rods of different sizes that are attached perpendicular to the edge of the ceiling.

The waterphone is played by striking the sticks with mallets, plucking them with the hand or stroking them with a bow . The pitch can be changed by swiveling and tilting the body.

The waterphone is used particularly often as a percussion instrument in film music from the horror genre, but also generally in scenes that need a higher degree of percussive tension. The high-frequency, sharp sound of the instrument "cuts" with ease through the entire orchestra body (similar to a piccolo ).

The waterphone is counted among the friction idiophones .

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