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A harmonica is small musical instrument that is played with the mouth by blowing into holes in its side. Harmonicas are cheap and easy to play. Harmonicas produce their musical sounds from the vibrations of reeds in the harmonica's metal case. Harmonicas are used in blues music, folk music, rock and roll music, and pop music. A special type of harmonica, the chromatic harmonica, is used in jazz and classical music. Harmonicas are made in several different keys: G, A♭, A, B♭, B, C, D♭, D, E♭, E, F, and F♯. Each key can play a different range of notes.
How they are played
Harmonicas are played by blowing or sucking air into one side. On this side, there are many holes. Each hole has a different note. Different notes are played when you blow or suck air.
- Bob Dylan is a famous harmonica player from the 1960s folk rock scene.
- Willi Burger is a famous classical harmonica player.
- Neil Young is a folk/grunge musician who plays the harmonica.
- Steven Tyler, from Aerosmith, plays the harmonica.
- Little Walter, one of the most well known blues harmonica players ever.
- Yvonnick Prene is a groundbreaking jazz harmonica player.
Other Harmonica players
- Larry Adler
- Matthias Broede
- Jens Bunge
- Hermine Deurloo
- Maurício Einhorn
- Adam Glasser
- Howard Levy
- Hendrik Meurkens
- Richard Oesterreicher
- Toots Thielemans
Types of harmonicas
Another type of harmonica is the chromatic harmonica. More songs can be played on it than a regular harmonica, because chromatic harmonicas can play more different notes. Chromatic harmonicas have a button which moves a sliding bar. By pressing the button, the player can play a larger range of notes.
The harmonica is called many different names, such as: mouth organ, mouth harp, Hobo Harp, French harp, Reckless Tram, harpoon, tin sandwich, blues harp, Mississippi saxophone, or simply harp.