How does a harmonica work?
The instrument has metal tongues as it were. These can move back and forth. By blowing or sucking through the bladder holes, these tongues are trilled. This way the sound arises. When sucked, a different tone arises than when you blow.
There are four different types of harmonica:
The diatonics have ten bladder holes and are very popular in blues music. The chromatic variant often has a button on the side. This allows you to raise each tone by a half tone. These are, as it were, the black keys to a piano. In this way it is possible to play more different pieces of music. These are often used by jazz musicians. Tremelo and octave harmonicas are a lot less popular. Both have instead of one, two rows of holes. The tremelo often gives a trembling sound. The octave gives another very full sound. Each harmonica is back in its own key. Depending on what music or what song you want to play, you need another instrument.
How do you play harmonica?
To be able to play this instrument properly, a good breathing technique is very important. Often, playing harmonica is also used by physiotherapists. Or for people with problems on the lungs. You can play it through tongue blocking or just lipblocking. This is the way in which the holes are closed, so with the tongue or with (the inside of) the lips. The way of playing is a very personal thing. This is developed for a large part while playing and practicing.
Notable songs and artists
Because the harmonica is a versatile instrument. Could be made a lot of different music. Many well-known artists have applied it in their music. A number of hits have also been scored with this. Here is a list of some of the most famous songs written:
Bruce Springsteen - The River
Stevie Wonder - Praat met God
Geblikte warmte - op de weg opnieuw
Zwarte sabbat - De tovenaar
Billy Joel - Piano Man
Muse - Ridders van Cydonia
Beatles - Love Me Do
Neil Young - Heart of Gold
Elton John - Dark Diamond
Bob Dylan - Verward in blauw
Led Zeppelin - wanneer de Levee breekt
U2 - Vrijheid voor het volk
Racoon - Love You More
Megadeth - Trein van de gevolgen
Also, a number of classical pieces for harmonica have been written. Like "Harmonica Concerto" by Heitor Villa-Lobos. Or "Divertimento for harmonica and string quartet" by Gordon Jacob.