A song of ice and wire

The Swedish town of Luleå is becoming famous for its incredible ice orchestra

Ice Music

Forget watching an orchestra play in the warm comfort of an ornate concert hall. How about a night of music in an igloo, with instruments made almost entirely from ice?

For the past 15 years, a small Swedish town just south of the Arctic Circle has taken music to this chilly extreme.

The Ice Music project in Luleå, Sweden, was founded by Tim Linhart. The sculptor and artist carefully crafts all the "ICEstruments" himself — no small feat considering that the ice must remain a specific temperature to have the right amount of elasticity needed for sculpting.

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Linhart puts the finishing touches on an ICEguitar. | (Facebook.com/Ice Music)

The instruments are so delicate that even a musician's body heat and breath can cause the ice to melt and the instrument to go out of tune. For that reason, the ice violins and violas hang from the ceiling and must be played with plastic protection shields.

(Facebook.com/Ice Music)

(Facebook.com/Ice Music/Karin Aberg)

The ICEstruments are constantly re-sculpted and re-tuned as they melt and re-freeze.

(Ice Music/Karin Aberg)

(Facebook.com/Ice Music)

So how do the ICEstruments differ in sound from their more traditional, non-melting brethren?

"Ice instruments have a more detailed sound than wood, which absorbs the vibrations from the strings and dampens the sound," Linhart tells CNN. "Ice is stiffer. It picks up all the vibrations."

"You might think the sound on a normal instrument is perfectly clear — until you hear an ice instrument and go, 'Ah ha!'"

(Ice Music/Graeme Richardson)

Listen to a brief interview with Tim Linhart and the music of the ice orchestra:

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