A simple musical instrument
with 36 string
s, tuned in half step
s from a low F to a high C. Chord
s are made by pressing on the keys (which squash unwanted strings with muffling
pads) and strum
ming the strings with a plectrum
of some type or the fingers.
The autoharp is a folk instrument that, like the dulcimer and the lute, has been largely superseded by other stringed instruments such as the guitar and the various fiddles. Autoharps can play a very limited number of chords and are primarily useful (if you are forced to play one) as accompaniment to voices or other more versatile instruments. I keep a really old one a friend gave me as a conversation piece and as something to do when I'm bored.