Will it be very few western musical instruments that can be played by human beings with one hand only?

Example : Mouth organ.

  • 1
    it's an interesting question, but it needs a lot more research.
    – Tim
    Nov 7, 2020 at 19:55
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    Is mouth organ another term for harmonica? Or melodica? Any keyboard instrument can be played with one hand. Nov 7, 2020 at 22:02
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    Paul Wittgenstein famously played the piano with one hand only since he lost his right arm during the First World War. He commissioned many works for this purpose from famous composers. Many percussion instruments can be played with one hand - tubular bells, castanets, maracas, tam tam, etc.
    – Jomiddnz
    Nov 7, 2020 at 23:12
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    Are feet allowed?
    – Aaron
    Nov 8, 2020 at 1:37
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    Do you accept being able to play an instrument within a limited but still useful range, like e.g. keyboard instruments Nov 8, 2020 at 5:10

4 Answers 4


Bugles are one-handed. Trumpets, tenor and French horns would be playable to some extent. The pipe of a pipe and tabor! Flexatones are lovely things. I've seen virtuoso bass guitarists play whole pieces with one hand.

At OHMI (One handed musical Instruments) there are all kinds of instruments and adapted instruments. The one-handed clarinets and Chapman Sticks look good. They also have supports for the trumpet and trombone.


Keyboard instruments such as piano, plucking instruments such as harp, .... many can be played with one hand only.


Drums. Rick Allen, the drummer with Def Leppard, lost an arm in a car crash may years ago, but has carried on ever since (using an adapted kit, but nothing that any drummer couldn't put together using midi)


Three hole pipe. Usually used in conjunction with a drum to form the pipe and tabor, but the pipe part is a one-hander

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    I think that's the pipe I mentioned above. Do you play it btw? Nov 9, 2020 at 0:55
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    Yes it is, sorry for the duplication. And yes I do play, not very much but it gets a run out occasionally Nov 9, 2020 at 11:05

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