45 Harmonica Facts For Kids To Learn About The Instrument | Kidadl


45 Harmonica Facts For Kids To Learn About The Instrument

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The harmonica is the highest-selling musical instrument in the world.

The United States buys the most harmonicas, followed by China in terms of units sold each year. Many successful people have admitted that playing this fun instrument helped them in relieving stress and feeling better.

The harmonica consists of the comb, reed plate, and cover plates and there is also the option to use a harmonica holder to make it look premium. It is not only musicians in rock or pop music that like a harmonica, but many US presidents have also liked playing it. Previously, this mouth organ was given the name 'Mundaeoline' but later, this was modified by Joseph Richert, who then named it the Harmonica. The harmonica became famous in the United States during the Civil War as it was brought here by the German-Americans and became very famous among soldiers from both sides. When they went throughout the country, they took this trendy musical instrument with them because it was much cheaper and more easily carried than other instruments. People really liked it and that is how, even today, the United States buys around two million harmonicas every year. Another reason for their high sales is that children really like this instrument and as it does not cost too much, parents buy them a new mouth organ whenever they ask for one. In this article, we will be telling you many facts about the harmonica that we bet you didn't know.

Facts About The Harmonica

We all have listened to a harmonica but we bet you have not heard these amazing facts about harmonica yet.

  • Compared to other musical instruments, the harmonica in the form as we see it today was created in the early 1800s.
  • Although the harmonica's earliest forms were invented in 3000BC in China, called 'sheng' and used in folk music.
  • The harmonica is the best-selling instrument in the world, even beating guitars in terms of sales.
  • In the United States itself, over 2 million harmonicas are sold every year and over 10 million are sold worldwide each year because they are easily available and much cheaper than other musical instruments such as chromatic instruments or modern instruments such as the electric guitar.
  • The harmonica is used a lot in old movies, so some of us think that it is a very old musical instrument, but as we said earlier, it has been around for around two centuries only, unlike other instruments that have been here for over a thousand years.
  • We all know the harmonica to have this name only, but in reality, it has some other names such as the French harp, a blues harp, hobo harp, a mouth organ, mouth harp, or even simply called a harp.
  • Some people start imagining a stringed harp when they hear the term harp and that's why they don't believe at first that a harp and a harmonica are the same instruments.
  • One more item that people mistake a harmonica with is a glass harmonica. This was an instrument made by Benjamin Franklin.
  • There have been certain presidents in the past who loved playing harmonica and some of them even had good instrumental skills. Calvin Coolidge and Ronald Reagen are two US presidents who loved playing the harmonica.
  • Jimmy Carter, the 39th US President, even performed the harmonica on stage with music legend, Willie Nelson.
  • If you think that harmonica comes in only one or two sizes, then you are wrong because there are different harmonicas, ranging from 10 holes going up to harmonicas with 24 holes.
  • The harmonicas that we know today were mass-produced by a German named Matthias Hohner.
  • Harmonicas were brought to the US by German-Americans and due to being easily portable, they were taken from place to place by soldiers from both sides at the time of the Civil War.
  • At that time, the harmonica did not only gain popularity in Europe and US but also in Asia in countries where industrialization was occurring, although the structure was changed by the craftsmen from those countries.
  • The reed plate is either screwed or bolted in a harmonica and traditional harmonicas have an all-plastic reed plate design. Reed plates can be changed, much like broken guitar strings and reed plates can be purchased easily online and in music stores.
  • Many octave tuned harmonicas are tuned to employ similar horizontal division of their channel openings.
  • Modern wooden combed harmonicas can even work well if they are dropped in water unlike older ones because when you soak wooden combed harmonicas, they often don't work properly.
  • Harmonicas produce a distinct sound and different notes are achieved from inhaling and exhaling through the instrument.
  • The Hohner Little Lady is the smallest harmonica in the world with a clear-sounding harmonica tone. It is placed in the list of rare harmonicas as it has even been to space.

Uses Of Harmonica

Here is a list of benefits that the soothing musical sounds of the harmonica have on us:

  • Unlike other complex musical instruments, the harmonica is one of the easiest ones to learn and even easier to carry.
  • There are not many musical instruments that can be carried easily in your pocket and this is one of the reasons why the harmonica is used the most in the entire world in comparison to other musical items.
  • It can help in increasing lung capacity, which helps in keeping good lungs healthy and keeping the mind refreshed.
  • Using a harmonica regularly also helps in increased activity throughout the day because increased lung capacity means that more oxygen is now available for the body and hence, less fatigue is felt.
  • If you are not feeling mentally well then playing harmonica might help you in keeping you cool and composed. It even helps in brightening your mood if you happen to be feeling low.
  • It is also helpful in keeping you healthy in the long run as playing the harmonica is proven to help in keeping your blood pressure balanced and optimizing your heart rate.
  • If you can not focus on your work or studies, then playing a musical instrument can greatly help you get back your concentration, and which musical device could possibly beat the harmonica in terms of portability and availability? Its earlier forms were also used by folk musicians for the same reasons.
  • In yoga, rhythmic inhale and exhale are said to be of great health benefit and while playing harmonica, you do this kind of yoga unknowingly!
  • Playing harmonica regularly strains your stomach so it acts as a fat trimming exercise. Although not as efficient as gym exercises, it is said to be helpful in chopping off a few inches from the waistline.
  • The harmonica is even recommended to people who have facial paralysis to help in preventing them from the dangers of stroke & Parkinson's disease.
Did you know that musical instruments that work with the same principle as harmonica have been in use for more than 5000 years in China?

Types Of Harmonicas

In this section, we learn more about the types of harmonica and read the section after this to find out about a famous harmonica player who made this instrument famous throughout the world.

  • There are many types of harmonicas available in the market, such as the diatonic harmonica, chromatic harmonicas, tremolo harmonicas, chord harmonicas, orchestral harmonicas, and so on but the first two are the most common types.
  • Diatonic harmonicas are the most commonly used harmonicas used in pop and folk, and by blues singers.
  • They are designed in a way so that they are played in a specific key.
  • This type of harmonica has 10 holes and offers the player 19 notes.
  • A standard harmonic is designed so that player can play chords and melody in the same key.
  • Most commonly, they are used in Europe and North America.
  • The diatonic harmonica further has 3 variants, named the valved diatonic, Suzuki overdrive, and Hohner XB-40.
  • Another main type of harmonica is the chromatic harmonica which can play semi-tones easily.
  • This type of harmonica requires more experience because it has more notes than other versions.
  • There are some harmonicas that work differently. For example, orchestral harmonicas work up to down unlike conventional harmonicas that work left to right.

Famous Harmonica Players

As has already been stated, harmonicas are incredibly popular but there are certainly some famous players that have made the instrument even more well known.

  • Little Walter is considered as the person who could truly sing the harmonica and as one of the best many blues harmonica players. He spent hours and hours playing each note after buying a harmonica. He had true purposes and changed the way people thought about the harmonica.
  • Stevie Wonder had joys in his harmonic playing. Wonder always played it like he was putting on a party.
  • John Pepper is said to have his vest full of harmonicas at all times. His talent was discovered by his high school band teacher.
  • Alan Wilson is the co-founder of the blues band Canned Heat. He used to sing with a high falsetto and mastered the art of weaving harmonica into songs' verses in a subtle manner.
  • Indiara Sfair is a Brazilian musician who is known for her contribution as a harmonica musician. She is brilliant in showing emotions on traditional rock and soul cover plates and is also called a force of nature.
  • Big Mama Thornton is the godmother of rock 'n' roll. Musicians like Elvis owe a debt of gratitude to her. Not only did she have a booming voice and songwriting skills, but her harmonica playing skills were also top tier.

<p>Vishvendra is a recent graduate with a Bachelor's in Business Administration from CCS (Chaudhary Charan Singh) University, with a strong interest in digital marketing and social media. He has perfected his skills in SEO optimization to create targeted and engaging content.</p>

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