Music: Practice & Theory Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for musicians, students, and enthusiasts. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I am currently off work for more or less a month, so I decided it could be a great time to learn an instrument and how to compose some simple tunes.

I am 29, never played anything meaningful in my life, know very little to nothing about music theory but I can comfortably read notes on a score.

Asking a search engine for suggestions brought me to the music section of stackexchange and particulary to this question. After some thought I am planning to buy the Kaossilator 2 becase I feel/think:

  1. it is not too expensive for me (less than 200$) (otherwise I would have fancied a Teenage engineering OP1;
  2. it can be completely silent (commuting home->work->home takes quite a long time, I would like to be able to practice in crowded places (without annoying anyone);
  3. it is extremely portable (for the above commuting);
  4. it can be played even without being plugged to a pc (otherwise I would have chosen this korg nano keyboard);
  5. it can study some music theory with it;
  6. in some six months I will be able to show some decent performance with it (so to say, I hope it has a bit of depth and is not just a toy).

Since (as I said), I know nothing of music and musical instruments, I would like to have someone savvy to 'validate' my points; alternative suggestions/idead would be appreciated, too!

I am sorry I haven't 'linkified' but, as it is my first question, stackexchange only allows me to have two hyperlinks.

share|improve this question
duplicate of… – naught101 Oct 26 '12 at 23:36
It is not a duplicate: there it is not too loud here is silent; there is to be practiced in a dorm, here to be practiced in a tube. All the answer to my questions could probably benefit the other thread, it is not true vice versa. – Pal Lito Oct 27 '12 at 12:04
up vote 3 down vote accepted

I want a Kaossilator, but to learn music, it is strongly preferable to have more control over it.

I am a guitarist, but my recommendation would be something with a keyboard. A keyboard app on an iPad would be most portable, and there are low-end beginner keyboards available for just around the $100 level.

share|improve this answer
So it will be! I am ordering a portable keybord, thanks everyone for their answers. – Pal Lito Oct 26 '12 at 23:04

Electric instruments still make some noise, so if you must be absolutely silent, then I think you'll have to pick up something electronic. Otherwise, an electric ukulele is pretty compact and a lot of fun to play.

One possibility you didn't mention is applications for smartphones like iPhones. If you already have an Android or iOS device, there are a number of cheap applications that you can use for learning as well as creating music. I would recommend looking in the "Music" category for your app store and picking some things you like.

share|improve this answer
Welcome Stephan! +1 for good suggestions! – Kristina Lopez Oct 28 '12 at 0:09

Try Harp for iPhone/iPad. It has a circle of 5ths and you strum the screen. See video.

share|improve this answer
+1: WOW, I hadn't seen this before--looks like an excellent app! – NReilingh Oct 28 '12 at 4:28

I'm not sure the instrument exists that fulfils all of these needs.

There are various iPhone/Android/Gameboy apps which allow you to make music - and you could certainly learn music theory and composition using these. You could also "perform" with them, but they generally are not "playable" instruments like a guitar/piano/trumpet.

I would class a Kaossilator with these iPhone apps. You are sequencing, looping and manipulating, you are not really "playing" it as an instrument. Of course, if that's what you want, go for it.

The only completely silent mainstream instrument I can think of is the electronic keyboard. Everything else is either too expensive, too toy-like, or too advanced.

You've asked for something highly portable. To make a music keyboard small, a compromise has to be made: either have small keys, or have fewer notes. The "normal" size of a piano keyboard is that size for a reason - the keys are the right size for an adult hand, and the full range of notes are available.

However, you can certainly learn a lot using a small keyboard. You will be able to do a "decent performance" on it, and although it will take some time to adjust, what you've learned will transfer to a full-size keyboard.

So I suggest a small electronic keyboard. Some will class these as toys (and indeed, a toyshop is a reasonable place to go shopping for one) - but they are musical, as Thomas Truax demonstrates here on an old Casio PT-20 with very basic features:

You can get a suitable keyboard for well under $50.

share|improve this answer

This may just be my opinion but I don't think a kaossilator will help with learning music theory, as it isn't an instrument as such. It is likely to help with rhythm though.

If you do want to learn, get an electric instrument and use headphones.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.