The origin of the harmonica

The origin of the harmonica

The Harmonica is a new musical instrument, originally invented in Germany, although it has a history of over a hundred years, it has only been introduced to China for 40 or 50 years. The most developed are Germany and Japan, and Japan in particular is the most widespread, with many of the harmonica's playing methods invented by Japanese enthusiasts.
The harmonica is now recognised as the most convenient musical instrument, some people call it the 'piano in your pocket', and musicians even boast that 'you can enjoy a beautiful symphony with just a few harmonicas'.

The history of the harmonica dates back to 3000 BC (2674 B.C. in the first year of the Yellow Emperor) when Nyn-Kwa the Great of China invented the "sheng", which is the ancestor of the harmonica. (Note: The sheng is a bamboo instrument that uses bamboo as a reed to produce sound)
In the 18th century (Chinese Yuan Dynasty), Marco Polo brought the 'sheng' back to Europe, and its use of reeds (bamboo) to produce sound led to the invention of the pedal organ, accordion, saxophone and harmonium.

In 1812, a German watchmaker made the world's first harmonica, with 21 tones, which the watchmaker called the "mundaeoline" (German for mouth).

As far as we know today, the harmonium originated with the 16-year-old Bachmann, the first registered European patent for his musical innovation, which he named "aura". The instrument is made of a series of reeds arranged horizontally (somewhat like the harmonica of today), which is very awkward to play because it is chromatically arranged and has only one blowing tone. Bachmann introduced his brother to this remarkable invention, which, although only four inches in diameter (about 10.18 cm), had twenty-one notes, could be played without a keyboard (piano), and had six keys, each of which could be played for as long as one wished.

In 1826, Richter transformed Bachmann's invention into the harmonica known to Europeans.

It was not until 1857 that the history of the harmonica took a dramatic turn. A German watchmaker, "Hohner", turns into a full-time harmonica maker. With the help of his family and a worker, he produced 650 harmonicas that year. Later, he hired additional workers in the area and developed the skills to make a large number of harmonicas. The young 'Horner' was an outstanding businessman, and his business savvy was evident in the way he decorated the outer casing of the harmonica and stamped the name of the manufacturer on it.

This made Ho & Co. the world's leading harmonica manufacturer. By 1887, over one million harmonicas were being produced each year. Today, Ho's produces over ninety different types of harmonica, in a wide variety of keys, and can play classical, jazz, blues, country, rock... They play classical, jazz, blues, country, rock and roll, and even original music from around the world.

In 1857, at the age of 24, the German Matthias Hohner saw the harmonica as an opportunity to start his own business and opened a factory in the town of Trossingen, where the harmonica was produced in large quantities by a production line.
The market for the harmonica gradually opens up in Germany and Europe, and grows every year. When Hohner's Cousin emigrated to New York with a few harmonicas, the market moved to the United States. (Let's go to Hohner)

After the American Civil War, the harmonica became a popular instrument for soldiers in both the North and South, as it was easy to carry.

The origin of the blues harp is still unclear (just as the origin of blues music is not known). Perhaps the fact that the harmonica could be pressed was discovered inadvertently, and the harmonica was then adapted to its present form (the blues harmonica) to imitate the moans and cries of the field holler, and the Blues Harp Style allowed the two important notes b7 and b3 ("blue" note) of the blues to be played.

The influx of black Americans into Chicago after the Second World War gave rise to a number of outstanding blues players, including blues harmonica players. These virtuosos produced the sound of Chicago-style blues harmonica - voice-like sounds such as eerie howls, raucous yells to whispers and sighs - which were striking sounds that immediately drew the listener's attention.
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