The kazoo was invented in America and is believed to have been derived from an African instrument called a mirliton, which also uses a vibrating membrane to produce sound.
Part of the membranophone family, the kazoo features a membrane which sits the ‘turret section’ of the instrument’s body, and this membrane oscillates when the player hums, sings or talks into it. This modifies their voice and can produce sounds in a variety of volumes and pitches.
Kazoos can be made in a range of shapes and sizes, but the most popular design is a hollow tube which tapers at one end, usually made from plastic or metal.
In the 1800s there were kazoos which were made from wood and glass, but these decreased in popularity due to their cost and the fact that they were more difficult to manufacture.
The kazoo is one of the easiest melodic instruments to play, due to having no valves or buttons to learn, and is often used to play jazz and blues music.
Although kazoos are often thought of as being toys, they are a fantastic sounding instrument when played correctly, and there are many professional players around the world, including Clarke artist Jacopo De Nicola who performs exclusively with the Clarke Pro XL Kazoo in his band, The Late Saints.
The Clarke Pro XL Kazoo features a large body and is made from metal, with no plastic parts, has a natural skin membrane and is available in gold or silver. It comes in a cardboard tube which can be used as a storage container, and an instruction sheet.
You can buy your Clarke kazoo here for just £6.