History About Harmonica That Is Interesting

This harmonica instrument belonged to the wind instrument family and was first developed in Europe around the 19th century. This wind instrument itself has quite a lot of types.

Harmonica is played by blowing with the mouth and directing air in or out of each hole to create beautiful notes. On the back of each hole, there must have been one Reed. The harmonica reed itself is an elongated flat plate, usually made of brass, stainless steel, or bronze.

History About Harmonica That Is Interesting

One end of the vibrating plate is given a safety over the gap that serves as an airway. When one end is free and made vibrate by the player’s air, it will alternately open and close the hole in order to produce a musical sound.

Each vibrating Reed on the harmonica can be tuned to the desired tone. However, to make adjustments, there must be some tones that change because they need adjustment. Longer, thicker, and more flexible reeds produce a deep, low sound. Meanwhile, shorter, thinner, and stiffer vibrating reeds produce a higher sound.

The Development of Harmonica Itself

Harmonica was first developed in Europe around the 19th century. Since ancient times, this wind instrument has been quite common in East Asia, especially in China, and is known as the Sheng. This wind instrument became popular in Europe after it was introduced by a Frenchman named Jean Joseph Marie Amiot (1718–1793), who lived in China during the Qing era.

History About Harmonica That Is Interesting

Around 1820, free-reed designs began to be made in Europe. Christian Friedrich Ludwig Buschmann is often credited as the inventor of the harmonica around 1821. But other inventors also developed a similar instrument in the same year. Around 1829, Charles Wheatstone developed an inflatable organ called the “Aeolian” (inspired by the Aeolian Harp).

This mouth-wind instrument appeared in the United States, South America, Great Britain, and Europe around the same time. This instrument is known for playing the classical music genre.

Components in the harmonica musical instrument

Do you know the components in a harmonica? Many may think that the harmonica only consists of a cover and an inner part. However, if you look closely, the harmonica has several components that become its constituent elements.

History About Harmonica That Is Interesting
  • Reed (Reed vibrating)

This component is a vital part of the harmonica. The reason is, that this part will create a sound when the incoming air passes and vibrates. Vibrating reeds or reeds are neatly arranged in a slab. The longer a reed is, the lower the pitch will be. On the other hand, the shorter Reed, the higher the pitch.

  • Reed Plate

The components in this harmonica instrument are slab-shaped and made of metal. This plate is the place for the vibrating reeds to attach. Inside the harmonica, there are two metal plates or this Reed plate. First, a metal plate for attaching vibrating reeds for blow reed or wind notes. While the second is where the vibrating reeds are attached for draw reed or suction notes.

It can be noticed that in every vibrating Reed, there is always a hole or ‘coakan’ that is almost the same size as the vibrating Reed. The hole serves as a space for the vibrating Reed to move up and down when air flows through it. This hole is known as the “Reed Slot.” The gap between the hole and the vibrating Reed will greatly affect the air tightness or air tightness in a harmonica.

  • Comb

In Indonesian, a comb is defined as a comb. Because, this component does have a shape that is very similar to the shape of a comb. The comb is a place to attach the reed and cover plate. This component becomes the place for the blow and suction holes to be located.

It can be seen; that on the inside of the comb, there are several chambers whose length follows the size of each Reed. It is in these spaces that air columns form and vibrate the Reed to produce sound.

  • Cover Plate

Furthermore, the cover plate is the outermost component of a harmonica. Not only is it a cover for the comb and reed plate, but this component is also a place for the resonance of the notes produced in the reed section. The resonance will make the resulting tone sound much louder and clearer.

Even without a cover plate, the Reed will still produce sound and can still be heard. But the sound that is heard will not be as loud as if the harmonica is fitted with a cover plate. In this section also, the logo or brand, as well as the hole numbers on the harmonica, are printed.


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