The Autoharp is a very sweet sounding instrument and one of the easiest to learn how to play. The Autoharp is not actually a harp at all, but is a form of zither, and the appropriate generic name for it would be the chorded zither. The Autoharp, as it is commonly known, was invented by Oscar Schmidt and actually owns a registered trademark on the name. Autoharps typically come in 15 chord or 21 chord models. It is possible to modify the chord bars and customize the instrument to what suits your playing style.