Erin Ryder, of Ardgowan School, asks :-

Who made the first musical instrument?

Henry Johnson, a musicologist at Otago University, responded.

The first musical instrument was probably made by the first person because humans are essentially musical and use music in lots of different ways. The first musical instrument might have been their voice, or they might have used objects around them. They might also have used their body as a musical instrument during movement or dance by clapping or stamping.

There are lots of natural objects like wood, stone, shell, and bone, that can make a ringing sound (resonate) when struck or blown. These instruments might be decorated or made into a different shape or size. Some instruments date from the time that humans developed the skills to make them. The first metal instruments, for example, would date from the iron and bronze ages, in the same way that electronic instruments date from the twentieth century.

No one really knows who made the first musical instrument, or what it was, because we don't have any written accounts or recordings, and nobody who is alive now was there at the time to tell us the answer. Even if we look at archaeological remains, it is difficult to identify all the objects that might have been used during music making. But whatever the first instrument was, it would have carried special meaning for the person who made, used or listened to it.