The so called “Mountain Dulcimer” evolved in the Appalachian Mountains. It is typically played by sitting it flat on a table or on the lap. The fret scales on a mountain dulcimer are diatonic scales, as opposed to the chromatic scales on other fretted instrument. This is like having only the white keys on a piano keyboard, and not the black keys also.
I have three dulcimer plans currently available. They are the traditional hourglass and teardrop dulcimers, as well as the more modern “stick” dulcimer, popularized by the so called "strum stick." These are some of the easiest instruments to play.