It’s Not “Just” a Harmonica! Wednesday, August 29, 2012
The harmonica. In the bottom of nearly every child’s toy chest, there is a battered harmonica. It is likely not useable any more, as the harmonica is a “consumable” instrument; that is, it can be worn out and is not able to be repaired. Developed in the early 19th century, the harmonica is in the “free reed” family of instruments. Each pitch is produced by blowing across a small brass reed. The harmonica is used in many kinds of music: folk, popular, jazz, rock ‘n’ roll…. Famous harmonica players include Bob Dylan, who played harmonica for “Mr. Tambourine Man”, Billy Joel, who played for “Piano Man”, and John Lennon, who played for “Love Me Do”.
Stanton’s has lots of sheet music books for harmonica. Some are songs for fun, like the Music Pocketbook Songbook, or “The Backpacker’s Songbook”. Others teach how to play the harmonica. There is a great video called “Play Harmonica Today” that is very helpful. We sell a basic 10 hole harmonica in “C” for $8.50. We also sell a 4 hole harmonica in “C”. It plays one octave, has no instruction, but is not hard to figure out once you get going on the 10 hole harmonica. There are lots of kinds of harmonicas, too. Many pulmonary rehabilitation programs have begun to incorporate the harmonica as a means to develop a strong diaphragm and deep breathing. And some folks think it’s a mere toy.