Harmonica is an instrument that gained vast popularity with the blues music movement. Over the years the harmonica has remained a trademark of blues music and has also remained popular as an instrument as well. Harmonicas are made up of cover plates, reed-plates, and a main body called the comb.
Harmonicas are free-reed aero-phone instruments which means sound is produced from several reeds that vibrate. Harmonicas are becoming a valued possession for the troops. These days harmonicas are used in blues music, folk music, rock and roll music, and pop music.
There are several types of harmonicas for example the diatonic and the chromatic harmonicas. The chromatic harmonica is a special type of harmonica, which is primarily used in jazz and classical music.
Chromatic harmonicas where used by musicians such as Stevie Wonder. Chromatic harmonicas are a bit more difficult to learn and play and they are not recommended for beginners.
Within music circles chromatic harmonicas are referred to as blues harps, harps, short harps, or even standard 10-holes.
Chromatic harmonicas also include a slide button that helps to operate sharps and flats something like a button-activated sliding bar to redirect air from the hole in the mouthpiece to the selected reed-plate. This means that the harmonica is not bound to only one key.
Whereas the chromatic harmonicas are used in jazz and classical music mostly the diatonic harmonicas are typically used in blues, rock, country, and folk.
Diatonic harmonicas were the first type of harmonicas to be manufactured, and originally they were designed for playing folk music in Northern Europe.
It was because of the basic design and tuning which allowed the diatonic harmonica to be adopted to other types of music as well.
All diatonic harmonicas are designed in a specific key and that is their major difference with chromatic harmonicas which include every natural and sharp note in a chromatic scale.
These days diatonic harmonicas are used in blues, rock, country, and folk, but can also be found in nearly all styles of music. Diatonic harmonicas were designed primarily for the playing of German and other European folk music and have succeeded well in those styles.
Harmonica as an instrument was developed in the mid 19th century in Europe and by a certain individual named Hohner.
Hohner shipped some harmonicas to the United States as gifts. The instrument, due to its versatility, size and capacity soon became very popular.
A few decades later the harmonica was becoming a centerpiece in American musical culture. The harmonica was used by the first soon to be blues musicians as a central instrument.
In those years playing the harmonica was a sign of poverty because the instrument was associated with the poor.
Today the harmonica still holds a position in musical culture. Although the harmonica doesn’t enjoy the popularity it once did, contemporary harmonica players continue to experiment with the sounds of this fantastically versatile instrument the harmonica.
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