What instrument requires two or more people to play it if such exists? I mean there is no way that one person can play it.

  • 1
    Other than arrangements for more than one person to play the same instrument, the only thing that comes to mind is a piece, I believe by John Cage, that used theremins that were controlled by ballet dancers. The theremins were set up around the dance floor and the dancers triggered them with their movement, then a few technicians would mess with the synthesizers to affect the sound. Feb 13, 2017 at 20:20
  • Sometimes the octobass is noted as a two-person instrument; but it doesn't always seem to be so. c.f. this question music.stackexchange.com/questions/27195/…
    – Dave
    Feb 13, 2017 at 20:32
  • 1
    Bells could be looked at as a single instrument, even though each player plays a bell individually, the "instrument" isn't complete unless you have all the notes. -edit- didn't see the link in the answer.. Feb 13, 2017 at 20:37
  • The Nickelodeon was built for two players. music.stackexchange.com/questions/107883/…
    – Aaron
    Jan 6, 2021 at 8:05

6 Answers 6


This article on metafilter.com lists a few:

  • 2
    While I understand why "handbell choir" and "gamelan" are listed, a single person could play some simple music with a collection of handbells in front of them, and you could certainly play a gamelan instrument alone. I'm not sure if those really count. Otherwise we could say "string quartet", right? Feb 13, 2017 at 22:41
  • Pump organ is not played by two. All the examples on wikipedia page are organ for one person "Some were even built with pedal keyboards, which required the use of an assistant to run the bellows or, for some of the later models, an electrical pump". I don't think we can say that a person who run the bellows is playing music :) just an assistant Feb 14, 2017 at 16:07

Ringing the changes?

Also: church organs before electric bellows became commonplace.


The log xylophones used in Ugandan Baganda music, amadinda and akadinda, can require two, three, or four players to play. The standard music for these instruments relies on many hands moving together to produce intricate rhythms comprised of very high numbers of beats per minute.

Here's a video of an amadinda played by six people.


Here's a percussionist who invented their own instrument; the debut performance had two people playing it simultaneously:


  • Organs, before compressors.
  • Bells (the large kind)
  • Tooka See here
  • Some Drums/Percussion
  • I suppose the famous cannon
  • And pipes I guess ( Think Blue man group )

Other then some drums, and really old organs, I think instruments that require two or more players are more of a "performance art" situation and not very common.


Going way into the esoteric, there's a semi-instrument in the double contrabass saxophone .

I may be repeating someone else's link but for the insane: collaborative instrument

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