Harmonica Information

The harmonica, also called harp, french harp, and mouth organ, is a free reed wind instrument which is used primarily in blues and American folk music, jazz, country music and rock and roll. It is played by blowing air into it or drawing air out by placing lips over individual holes or multiple holes. The pressure caused by blowing or drawing air into the reed chambers causes a reed or multiple reeds to vibrate up and down creating sound. Each chamber has multiple, variable-tuned brass or bronze reeds which are secured at one end and loose on the other end, with the loose end vibrating and creating sound.

Reeds are pre-tuned to individual tones, and each tone is determined according to the size of reed. Longer reeds make deep, low sounds and short reeds make higher-pitched sounds. On certain types of harmonica the pre-tuned reed can be changed to another note by redirecting air flow into the chamber. There are many types of harmonicas, including diatonic, chromatic, tremolo, orchestral, and bass versions.

The basic parts of the harmonica are the comb, reed-plates and cover-plates.

Wikipedia, Harmonica, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harmonica (as of Apr 1, 2010)

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