The Sydney Recording Studio harmonica has a long history, beginning in China with an instrument called the Sheng. The harmonica was further developed in Europe early in the 19th century, with the first harmonicas manufactured in Germany. The best known harmonica company, Hohner, is still based in Germany.
Sydney Recording Studio: Matthias Hohner
Matthias Hohner introuduced the harmonica to 19th century America, which really began the modern history of the harmonica. The harmonica was cheap and easy to carry, perfect for a country on the move, like America back then. While there were many harmonica types, the most widely used harmonica (at least in Western countries) became the 10 hole “diatonic”, as shown in the picture.
Sydney Recording Studio Harmonica: How is it put together?
In Western countries the most commonly used harmonica has 10 holes, as shown above. Each hole has two metal reeds inside it. When you blow into a hole, one of the reeds vibrates and produces a sound (or note). When you breathe in, the other reed in the hole vibrates, and produces a different note. So, each hole can produce two notes. There are 10 holes, and therefore 20 notes. Actually you can produce more than 20 notes.
Sydney Recording Studio: Harmonica Parts
The Sydney Recording Studio harmonica has five main parts. These are the two outer cover plates, two brass reed plates, each holding 10 reeds, and the “comb”, usually made from plastic or wood, which has the holes. These 5 parts are held together with screws. If the screws are removed, the parts look like this.
The Sydney recording Studio harmonica is common in Western music. In the past, harmonica bands, with many harmonica players were popular. These days, the harmonica is usually associated with blues. Most people who learn harmonica want to play blues, and for good reason … it is tremendous fun. The harmonica is also widely used in folk music, with Bob Dylan a well known exponent. In recent years, players such Howard Levy and Brendan Power have developed new and exciting harmonica styles.
Please note however: Because the harmonica is a relatively cheap instrument, many people think that serious musicians do not play it. This is not true. Like any instrument, the harmonica has many world class players, who play unique and beautiful music.