The psalmodicon, or psalmodikon, is a single-stringedmusical instrument. It was developed in Scandinavia for simplifying music in churches and schools. Beginning in the early 19th century, it was adopted by many rural churches in Scandinavia; later, immigrants brought the instrument to the United States. At the time, many congregations could not afford organs. Dance instruments were considered inappropriate for sacred settings, so violins were not allowed. The psalmodikon, on the other hand, was inexpensive to build, was not used for dancing, took up little space, and could be played by people with little musical training. Its slow, melodic quality worked well with the hymns of the period. Examples of older printed music from these churches often have numbers written over the words. These corresponded to numbers painted on the fret board of the psalmodikon. This allowed players who could not read standard musical notation to accompany hymns. As churches saved money for organs, however, psalmodikons became less common. By the late 20th century, they were rarely seen outside of museums.
Also known in Lithuania as manikarka. A two string variant developed within Latvian folk music, and became the ģīga.