Learning to play a musical instrument can be quite daunting; not only do you need to know how to change the pitch in a musical way, but also how to physically manipulate the sound of the instrument. The following instruments are easy to learn because they simplify one or the other (or both) of these requirements.
- Chorded Zither: Also known as an autoharp, the chorded zither is played by strumming a set of strings while pushing one of several buttons; each button dampens a certain set of strings to produce a distinctive chord. Although it is easy to learn, expert players can create more advanced sounds with this instrument.
- Clackamore: A new variation on the jaw harp (see below), this instrument is both melodic and percussive.
- Freenotes: Developed especially for beginning musicians, these percussion instruments inspired by Indonesian gamelan music feature simple tuning so that any notes played will be in harmony with each other.
- Jaw Harp: Also known as a Jew’s harp, or mouth harp, this instrument is played by plucking a “tongue” whose sound is amplified by being held against one’s teeth or lips.
- Kazoo: Kazoos belong to the family of instruments called mirlitons, which modify the sound of the human voice by means of a vibrating membrane (its most simple form is a comb covered in tissue paper). Kazoos are easy to play because you just hum into them to produce a sound.
- Strumstick: This three-stringed instrument is a cross between a guitar and a dulcimer, and only plays notes of a major scale (diatonic scale) so it always sounds in tune.