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A lamellophone (also lamellaphone or linguaphone) is a member of the family of musical instruments that makes its sound by a thin vibrating plate called a lamella or tongue, which is fixed at one end and has the other end free. When the musician depresses the free end of a plate with a finger or fingernail, and then allows the finger to slip off, the released plate vibrates. An instrument may have a single tongue (such as a Jew's harp) or a series of multiple tongues (such as a mbira thumb piano).

A Hugh Tracey treble kalimba.
A Jew's harp.

Linguaphone comes from the Latin root lingua meaning "tongue", (i.e., a long thin plate that is fixed only at one end). lamellophone comes from the Latin word lamella for "small metal plate",[1] and the Greek word φωνή phonē for "sound, voice".[2]

The lamellophones constitute category 12 in the Hornbostel–Sachs system for classifying musical instruments, plucked idiophones. There are two main categories of plucked idiophones, those that are in the form of a frame (121) and those that are in the form of a comb (122).

According to Sachs,[3]

The most usual [of plucked idiophones] is a flexible lamella or tongue attached to a frame, plucked by a finger and resonated by a small box.