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Monday, April 9, 2012

H is for Harmonica

The harmonica, also called a harp, is a reed free wind instrument.  It is played by blowing air in or drawing air out of small holes called reed chambers.  Reeds are pre-tuned depending on the various size of reed.

The harmonica was developed in Europe in the early 19th century.  In 1857 a clockmaker named Mathias Hohner started producing harmonicas.  The Hohner name is the most well known today in making the instrument.  Shortly after he began making them, he shipped some to emigrants living in the United States.  Abraham Lincoln reportedly carried a harmonica in his pocket.

In the 1950s, harmonicas were used to play the blues.

This is my favorite.  Runaround from Blues Travelers

16 comments:

  1. Ah, Blues Traveler. Another one of my 90's bands I so adore. Harmonica is definitely a beautiful instrument. Gives me a sense of home whenever I hear it. Like I can just close my eyes and I'm on my parents' farm, listening to the breeze rustle the high grass, taking in the smell of horses and my mother's gardenias. Just lovely.

    Dropping by for the A-Z Challenge. Hello! :)

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  2. I don't know how harmonica players do it! Make all that music with such a little instrument and their breath. All I can make is noise :)

    ~Lynn
    http://www.acommonsea.com

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  3. I love the harmonica - my brother can play one.

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  4. Nice history on the instrument. I had read somewhere that they became very popular during the civil war

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  5. Heather, I love the harmonica! It just always sounds so soothing to me!

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  6. of all my son's christmas presents, his most favorite was a harmonica in his stocking. He has since lost it and that's all he wanted to his birthday. Easy kid.

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  7. oh i wish i were talented at an instrument...

    Happy... to the challenge "H" is for Harmonious!
    Jeremy [Retro-Zombie]
    A to Z Co-Host
    My New Book:
    Retro-Zombie: Art and Words

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  8. No way - Abraham Lincoln & a harmonica? I hope to get to the Abraham Lincoln Museum in downstate Illinois this summer and I'll be on the lookout for any Harmonican tidbits. :)

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  9. Who doesn't love the harmonica? :)

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  10. I'm like Martha....who doesn't love the harmonica? Such a simple instrument, that plugs straight into a persons soul! :)

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  11. Your favorite is my favorite. I saw Blues Traveler in one of the best concerts ever at Georgia Theater in Athens. Seems like it was fifty years ago, when I look back.

    Happy A to Z,
    Lucy

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  12. My husband plays the harmonica, making this post on them pretty intriguing for me. Very cool to learn a little history about them. Thanks!

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  13. The harmonica is one of my favorite instruments of all time. My dad plays one mean harmonica! I love a good bluegrass inspired use of the harmonica, or maybe the blues... it's hard to pick.

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  14. The harmonica brings back a lot of memories; my grandfather use to play for me!

    Thanks for the memory!!


    http://bettyalark.blogspot.com

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