They’ve been around “hundreds of years” in Europe, said Trophy Music Company’s VP Dann Skutt, speaking of zithers in reference to the 15-string Melody Harp toy version on display at the Cleveland supplier’s Toy Fair booth.
But brand new this year is the electronic E-Z Tuner, a plastic piece that attaches onto the trapezoidal instrument and makes tuning it simple.
“If there’s no piano in the house, how do you tune it?” Trophy sales rep Ron Hiss asked, then answered, “Just clip on the vibration-sensitive E-Z Tuner.”
Also available for the Melody Harp are song sheets shaped to fit the instrument, with numbered notes corresponding to the strings.
“It comes with 12, and we have about 100 others,” said Skutt.
Among the many other children’s instruments at the booth, the most curious had to be toy bagpipes, featuring non-functional wooden drones, but a small bag and pipe chanter that do work.
“It’s amazing how many we sell,” said Skutt. “I have a friend who plays in a pipe band, who can play ‘Amazing Grace’ on them—and it’s amazing!”
The pun, he added, is intended.
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