Instrument for children
The German Matthias Hohner first brought melodica to the market in 1958. Even then, this instrument was mainly aimed at children. Some kids wanted to try something different from the well-known recorder. Or the technique of the harmonicawas too difficult. They could now turn to the melodica. This instrument was therefore not only sold in music stores. Now also in toy stores. But adults also really appreciated this new instrument. In the jazz genre the instrument became popular with Herbie Hancock. But the instrument also quickly gained popularity in reggae and pop music. For example, the Kinks, Keane and Depeche Mode included the instrument in their music. Just like Teenage Fan Club.
Several models of melodicas were marketed. These were made recognizable by the different colors. They had different accessibility in terms of tones and therefore different prices. In the first models, the "hull" was made of aluminum or wood. The mechanism inside was made of copper in most cases. A few years later, the outer material was replaced by plastic. The keys have the same colors as those of a piano, namely white and black. One of the white keys, unlike the other, is made of raw material. This is to indicate the transition between the octaves.
The first models
The first models were developed in such a way that they can be played with both hands. Later this was only adapted to a "piano keyboard". Now it is customary to only play with the right hand. As a result, more notes could fit on one keyboard, namely 36 or 37. The mouthpiece was also renewed and is more reminiscent of the mouthpiece of a trumpet. Meanwhile, a tube is also available here. Thus, the instrument can be put down while playing. The first melodicas designed were the soprano, alto and student. The soprano was green in color and had 25 keys. This had the highest range of the three models. The alto was red and had a lower range than the soprano. There was also the student, released in the colors gray and orange. This one was a lot smaller with only 20 keys. This one was intended for beginners.