How to Choose Harmonica

The harmonica is a familiar instrument from childhood. This reed wind instrument with its characteristic rumbling metallic sound is popular in blues, jazz, rock, country and folk music. Harmonica largely shaped the sound of these genres at the beginning of the 20th century. It is not surprising that the instrument has received a large number of admirers around the world.

There are many varieties of harmonicas – chromatic and diatonic, tremolo and octave, bass, orchestral, toy, with metal reeds and brass. How not to get lost in all this diversity and choose your first instrument?

Types of harmonicas

Professional musicians performing complex compositions on harmonica do not recommend any instrument as their very first. The point here is not so much in the quality of the harmonic itself, but in its type. Below we will analyze the main types of harmonicas and consider their differences.

Orchestral harmonica

Orchestral harmonica is perhaps the rarest instrument of all the types presented here. Orchestral harmonicas include bass harmonics, chord harmonics, instruments that have several manuals. Due to its complexity and rarity, this subtype is not suitable for initial training.

Chromatic harmonicas

These accordions have the same classic sound, but they have one interesting characteristic – the presence of all the sounds of the scale, as, for example, the piano. That is, in addition to the main tones, there are semitones here, which are activated by valves using a special button on the body. The chromatic harmonica has a sophisticated design and can be played in all keys of the chromatic scale. It can be easily distinguished from others by the presence of a dedicated valve switch button.

Such instruments are most often used in jazz, orchestral and classical music, and they are not recommended for acquaintance with the harmonica due to their increased complexity. If you want to learn how to play the chromatic harmonica, gain experience with a simpler (diatonic) instrument, master all the techniques of sound production, and only then try to master this instrument.

Octave harmonica

By and large, these instruments are diatonic, which we will discuss below. The only difference is that, in this subtype of harmonics, for each sound hole there is an additional one tuned with the main one in an octave.

This means that a musician, when playing one note, hears it in two ranges at once – bass and upper register. It expands, enriches the sound, gives it a special charm, but the octave harmonica is not suitable for beginners.

Tremolo harmonica

As in the previous subtype of accordions, these also have two holes per note. The difference is that now the holes are tuned not in octave between themselves, but almost in unison, with a slight detuning. This gives a characteristic ripple when playing, the effect of vibration, the sound is very rich and textured.

Of course, you can try to start with a thermolo harmonica, but experienced musicians do not recommend this, because excesses in sound can confuse a beginner, for whom it is important to learn how to cleanly and correctly extract the basic harmonica sounds.

Diatonic harmonicas

This subtype of harmonicas is considered the most popular. Blues and rock are played on such instruments, popular and classical musicians love them. Perhaps, speaking of the harmonica, they mean this very instrument. The diatonic harmonica, in the classic version, has 10 holes, tuned without semitones in a specific tuning. For example, a harmonica in the “C” tuning will have all the sounds of one octave of the white piano keys – C, D, E, F, G, A, B.

Diatonic harmonica differs in tuning – there are major and minor, tuned in the key of a certain note – C, REM, F and others. The structure of such a harmonica is indicated by a Latin letter corresponding to its tonality. For example, an accordion in the “C” tuning will have the Latin letter “C” on the body or packaging.

Harmonica for beginners

As you have seen, the simplest type of instrument is the diatonic harmonica and it is with it that you should start learning. Diatonic harmonics are considered the best option for beginners – their functionality is enough to learn how to perform all the basic techniques of the game, such as blowing, blocking the valve, vibrato, articulation with the palms and others. In addition, most harmonica textbooks concentrate on the study of the diatonic instrument.

When choosing an accordion, you should also give preference to well-known brands. For example, such a popular brand as Hohner has been producing harmonicas for over 150 years. Its product line is so wide that it allows you to choose a high quality harmonica for every taste. An experienced salesperson will always give advice on the key and type of instrument.

How to choose the right harmonica tuning

Most educators and professionals alike agree that the key for the first instrument is C (C). This key has the most basic sound; most self-instruction manuals, video tutorials and other materials on teaching the harmonica have been written to it.

The moment you master all the basic techniques of playing, you will be able to play harmonica of any key, in accordance with your idea, personal sympathy, or the key in which your band plays. Professionals do not strive to choose a universal type of harmonica – they simply do not exist, but they have in their arsenal several types of harmonicas of different tonality.

How to choose a harmonica

We have collected all the recommendations for choosing harmonicas in one list:

  1. It is better to choose a diatonic harmonica as the first harmonica;
  2. When in doubt about which tuning to buy a harmonica, use the C tuning (C);
  3. Experienced musicians advise to choose a harmonica made by a well-known brand. The best harmonics are made by Hohner, Suzuki, Lee Oskar. They are not very expensive, but they can serve you a huge amount of time;
  4. Don’t buy cheap toy harmonica or baby harmonica. As a rule, they do not keep in tune and are unable to reproduce many of the techniques of the game. If you are looking for a serious musical instrument, go for tried and tested models. Musicians advise, at first, not to spend fabulous money on custom-made harmonica. Although they are very good, they may not be suitable for a beginner – they require a special technique of execution;
  5. Wood in the body material is a reason to think. Despite the fact that wood has been used in harmonica since the day of its invention, it can cause a number of inconveniences that will discourage the desire to play. Of course, the wooden body adds warmth to the sound and feels good on the lips. But these positive aspects instantly disappear when the tree begins to soften. When delaminating, wood fibers create splinters that can cause discomfort when playing and degrade the sound;
  6. When purchasing, be sure to listen to each mouth organ opening, inhaling and exhaling. For this, the seller has special furs, or you will be allowed to blow the accordion yourself. You should not hear any extraneous crackling, clanging, or wheezing. All notes should be played easily and cleanly.

Roland FANTOM Synthesizer Review

This is the fresh out of the plastic new Roland FANTOM:

a great instrument and an inventive center point.

Quality metal form with a lot of alternatives in the back for network to your PC and your different instruments.

High-goal handles and fastens and sliders to have the option to control your sounds what’s more, an astounding new sequencer to have the option to catch your tunes.

Alongside our spic and span aftertouch empowered console — the best we’ve ever constructed.

FANTOM has a fresh out of the box new synth motor fusing demonstrating, present day PCM, simple and the sky is the limit from there.

The sound of FANTOM uses a fresh out of the box new element we call Scenes.

Scene contains everything: in Scenes we have 16 layers, every single one of those layers can be any of the synth motors incorporated with FANTOM what’s more, every single one of those likewise has its own impact in addition to various impacts for the Scene itself.

The Scene likewise joins or incorporates your succession information so your tune data is remembered for the Scene too.

There’s such a great amount of intensity in FANTOM that I can be playing one Scene, holding down the support pedal, change to another Scene the new solid will play—with no glitching.

So let me play you a Scene.

What you will hear is the numerous layers of various types of amalgamation incorporated with FANTOM, all with their own impact, in addition with several impacts over the entire part what’s more, the sound will advance into an astonishing scene of development using FANTOM’s numerous multistage LFOs.

So was a case of a Scene utilizing layers of synths and impacts however, the cool thing is it’s only one layer can be any of these various advances from FANTOM.

So one of the synth advances constructed in to FANTOM is V-Piano.

V-Piano is stunning in light of the fact that you can change various boundaries like String Resonance, Damper Resonance furthermore, Cabinet Resonance

furthermore, you can really get in and separately tune and change the character for each and every note,

which is extraordinary in light of the fact that you can plan the piano that you need.

I’m going to give you now, because of FANTOM’S modeless plan, that it is so natural to make a melody, on-the-fly.

I have a couple of layers previously set up here making a truly cool synth fix.

So now, I simply hit ‘Record’…

so here we go!

Presently that is playing back, and as should be obvious on screen, it’s really made four distinct circles for the four unique layers that I’m really playing.

So now I can make another adaptation of that design that I simply played.

Return into ‘Record’ mode…

also, I’ll play something somewhat unique.

So well that is playing back,

truly straight forward and straightforward,

I can return and check my first example that I made…

Fantastic! With the goal that example is playing, presently we should include some bass… OK, I can hear my sound I’ve chosen, make it somewhat more splendid with the channel… go into ‘Record’…

So now we have a bass, how about we include a few drums…

I’ll choose the Drum channel and now we’ll go into to ‘TR-REC Mode’.

Set out the kick, set out the catch what’s more, set out some hello there caps.

It’s as simple as that.

OK so you’ve perceived that it is so natural to put down your thoughts with FANTOM.

Here’s a scene that is arranged as of now

I have all the clasps spread out and you can see them they’re in their columns

furthermore, the segments, the segments being the various instruments and the lines being portions of the game plan.

In the event that I select one line and

play it…

It’s spinning through those Clips that we’ve made.

Presently in the event that I like, I can really try different things with various Clips.

Let me change it here with the drums.

So now it’s going to really change to an alternate example…

You can hear the progressions in the example.

So I can explore different avenues regarding various Clips and change the course of action of the tune.

Obviously, as it’s playing back I can change the blend also as well…

…or on the other hand… modify the Filter of specific sounds.

Or then again on the off chance that I truly need to, I can choose another sound and jam over the entire thing.

So you’ve perceived that it is so natural to make your own music simply utilizing FANTOM yet, on the off chance that you connect it to a PC it opens up a wide range of additional opportunities with the most profound combination accessible.

Presently I’m going to record something in Logic however controlling everything from FANTOM furthermore, the sound will be returning through USB into FANTOM.

Hit ‘Stop’ and now I can rewind and play back the sound through the USB link… into FANTOM, I can hear the playback.

Presently I can really look through the changed tracks from here also, raise various controls.

So how about we see, there’s the drummer, I can really change the volume of the kick drum and the catch drum—all from inside FANTOM.

I can really hit ”Shift’ and include more sound tracks, include more MIDI tracks.

I can even open the Loop Browser, or the Notepad or the rundown of editors.

Complete combination all from inside FANTOM’s touch screen.

So FANTOM additionally has profound incorporation with MainStage enabling you to play out your most loved VSTs on the PC however controlling them all inside FANTOM.

So let me show you, I’m going to pick various patches, I’m going to control a portion of the boundaries like Cutoff and Resonance and afterward I’m going to grouping utilizing FANTOM sequencer what’s more, some FANTOM sounds yet in addition coordinating MainStage sound.

So let me play a portion of the sounds here, I’ll go, I’ll look through the changed patches what’s more, you can see the patches evolving on the PC as I look through.

So let me return to that square ringer sound, I’ll choose Cutoff, make it a piece sifted off sound, a touch of Resonance too.

So now I’ll record a succession utilizing a few layers that I’ve just set up in FANTOM alongside the MainStage sound also.

So I’ll play the layers, the FANTOM layers first… there we go, that is circling near.

So now…

I’ll include…

also, there we have it, FANTOM, MainStage, all recorded and being played back by the FANTOM sequencer.

FANTOM additionally has a genuine simple sound system channel worked in, available by this bigger handle here, also, it sounds rich, fat and warm, and some of the time abrasive

…also, there’s a stack of various channel types you can browse, furthermore, the cool thing is that you can relegate the channel to your information sources, or your lord out, or then again just to individual synths.

It’s an extraordinary expansion to a great console.

Wind Instruments

Wind instruments are musical instruments, the sound of which is formed by means of an oscillating air stream inside the body.

Winds are one of the oldest types of musical instruments. It can be assumed that the first primitive wind instruments were made from hollow tubes, for example, from a horn, or from a reed.

Over time, wind instruments have been modified and improved, and at the moment they can be divided according to the source of sound vibration and according to the material of manufacture. It is interesting that, despite the rather obvious, at first glance, terminology, the interpretation of the instrument’s belonging to any of the groups can vary.

We decided to tell you what’s what, because knowing the principle of dividing wind instruments into types and groups will help you in choosing an instrument and will not let you get confused.

Wind instruments by the source of sound vibration

Labial wind instruments are instruments in which sound vibrations arise against the sharp edge of the case wall. All types of flutes, whistles and other pipes belong to this category.

Reed wind instruments are instruments whose sound vibrations are created from the vibration of a special resonating reed in the air stream. Saxophones, bassoons, clarinets – all woodwinds with a reed, as well as harmonicas and organs can be attributed to this category.

The ear cushions form the sound from the vibrations of the musician’s lips, from the position of the tongue and the volume of his oral cavity. These instruments include trumpets, horns, trombones, French horns, etc.

In addition, tools can be classified by material of manufacture. However, there are nuances here. This classification has developed historically and is traditional, but wind instruments are made not only from wood and copper. It is better to consider this division conditional, referring to the method of sound production and playing technique, rather than to the body material.

Woodwind instruments

Woodwinds are musical instruments in which the sound is generated by an air stream vibrating inside the body, and the pitch is adjusted by opening and closing special valves.

Historically, these tools were made from wood. A striking example of this is the flute. Made of a wooden tube, the body of the flute has openings, opening and closing which the musician can adjust the pitch.

However, many woodwinds, which are technically wood, are made from other materials. Modern orchestral flutes are made of plastic, aluminum and even glass, and the saxophone, whose principle of operation classifies it as a woodwind, has never been made of wood.

Group of woodwind instruments

The oboe is a woodwind musical instrument, which is a hollow straight tube with many valves, the sound of which is generated in a special milking cane – a wooden tongue vibrating in an air stream. This melodious, slightly nasal and loud instrument is included in the Guinness Book of Records as the most complex musical instrument. The oboe got its modern look in the second half of the 18th century and is now widely used in chamber and symphonic music.

The oboe is traditionally made from hardwoods, most often using ebony, rosewood, beech, boxwood or wild cherry. However, there is evidence of the creation of an ivory oboe.

This instrument has varieties, the most famous of which are the oboe d’amur, the English horn and the hackelfon.

Clarinet is a woodwind musical instrument in the form of a hollow tube with valves. It looks like an oboe, but it has a single cane. It was invented around 1700 in Nuremberg, is widely used in chamber and orchestral music, and is also widespread among jazz groups.

The clarinet design is constantly being improved, a rather complex valve mechanism is added and optimized.

The clarinet has a wide range, soft, warm sound and opens wide boundaries for the musician for expressive playing.

Bassoon – An interesting-looking woodwind instrument, which is a hollow tube with valves, somewhat reminiscent of that of an oboe. The bassoon sound originates in a twin reed, which is attached to the main body with a metal S-shaped tube.

The bassoon has a stifled, bass sound that unfolds in the lower and middle registers. Enriched with overtones, the sound of this instrument is used in symphony and brass bands, as well as in solo and ensembles.

The saxophone is one of the most famous woodwind instruments, invented in 1842 by the Belgian musical instrument designer Adolphe Sachs. Widely used in both orchestral and popular music, its appearance and sound have come to be associated with all wind instruments in principle.

While technically a woodwind, the saxophone was never made of wood. Usually, this tool is made from copper and zinc alloys, brass and pakfong. The sound of a saxophone is generated in a reed similar to a clarinet reed.

Vintage wooden tools

In addition to the main wooden instruments, there are old woodwinds, such as the recorder, bombard, whistle, shalme. The woodwind instrument among the peoples of the Caucasus Balaman (or balaban) is a vivid example of ancient wind instruments. The balaban is a hollow, straight wooden tube with holes, at one end of which a reed mouthpiece is installed. The construction of the balaban is very similar to the Georgian duduk, and has a similar screaming timbre.

A high-sounding woodwind instrument is, of course, a flute. Its pure, subtle, piercing sound is familiar to every person. Today the flute is a very popular instrument for teaching children in music schools.

The lowest instrument of the woodwind group is the bassoon. Its rich, rich overtones sound is used in various orchestras.

Brass instruments

According to the principle of operation, brass horns belong to ear cushions – in which the position of the musician’s lips and the strength of the air flow play an active role in creating and changing sound.

Brass wind instruments are called such because their first representatives were made of copper, but today brass, silver, and duralumin are also used in production.

The first brass horns were simple bells, without additional mechanisms for changing the tone of the instrument. Such copper ones were called natural musical instruments, that is, they emit several sounds of a natural scale. Such instruments include horns, hunting horns, fanfare, signal horns. In our country, the most famous representative is the pioneer horn.

With the development of technology, the construction of brass instruments has become more and more complicated, and now, in addition to the natural scale, such instruments can produce a wide range of sounds.

The group of brass instruments is divided into several types:

Natural instruments are simple copper pipes and horns capable of reproducing only the natural scale. They are the most primitive spirits in the family. These include horns, horns, fanfare, etc.

The rocker instruments are brass wind instruments, the sound range of which is expanded by lengthening the air flow using a retractable stage. A classic wind instrument with a wings – trombone.

Valve instruments are a type of brass instruments in which the pitch is regulated by special valves controlled by the musician. The valves open and close the air path to the additional pipes of the instrument, thereby raising and lowering its tone. At present, almost all modern brass horns are equipped with such a system: saxhorns, horns, trumpets and tubas.

Valve instruments are a rare subtype of brass instruments, whose pitching and pitching systems work on the principle of wood instruments – through holes in the body that are opened and closed by the musician. Examples of such horns are the cornet, serpent, ophicleid, and valve trumpet.

Another famous representative of brass instruments is the trumpet. The trumpet consists of three parts: a mouthpiece, a pipe and a bell. Depending on the complexity, it can either have a valve mechanism or not. This famous instrument has a bright, loud tone and is the highest-sounding brass instrument.

The lowest sounding brass instrument is the helicon. This huge instrument is a large, valve-operated looping trumpet with a low, rumbling sound. Helikon is used in military bands, perfectly revealing its acoustic capabilities in the open air.

Electronic wind instruments

Recently, electronic musical instruments have received many new variations. Among them, electronic wind instruments appeared, which are a controller that sensitively reacts to the strength and nature of the incoming air, as well as to the pressing of buttons.

Such electronic wind controllers can control digital synthesizers, sound generators containing wind instrument samples. Thus, with the help of one such device, the musician gets the opportunity to play with any timbre of a wind instrument, using all the usual methods of articulation and expression. Roland Aerophone AE-10 and AKAI PRO EWI4000S are examples of such instruments.

Types of Musical Instruments

Everyone loves music, it gives wonderful moments, calms, pleases, gives a sense of life. Different musical instruments have different properties and differ in their structure, material of manufacture, sound, playing technique. Attempts have been made repeatedly to create their classification. We decided to compile a small guide, where we posted types of musical instruments with pictures and names, so that every beginner can easily understand all the diversity of the musical world.

Classification of musical instruments

In general, musical instruments can be classified according to various criteria, but the most obvious of them is according to the sound source. Sound can be generated by strings, a vibrating tongue, vibration from a hard surface, or vibrating air in the body of the instrument.

On these grounds, string, wind, reed, and percussion instruments are distinguished, respectively. Besides the source of the sound, the way the instrument is played is an important criterion. Below we list the most common types of musical instruments.


Violin, guitar, cello, banjo – all these are stringed musical instruments. The sound in them appears due to the vibration of the stretched strings. There are bowed and plucked strings. In the former, the sound comes from the interaction of the bow and the string – the friction of the bow hair makes the string vibrate. Violins, cellos, violas work according to this principle.

Plucked instruments sound due to the fact that the musician himself, with his fingers, or with a pick, touches the string and makes it vibrate. Guitars, banjos, mandolins, domras work exactly according to this principle.

Note that sometimes some bowed instruments are played with plucking to achieve a slightly different timbre. Among these instruments are violins, double basses and cello.

Wind instruments

In wind instruments, sound is generated due to the vibrating air flow in the cavity of the musical instrument. It is likely that these musical instruments are among the most ancient, along with percussion. The pitch and character of the sound of the horns is influenced by how the musician blows air out of his mouth, as well as the position of his lips and facial muscles, called the ear cushion. In addition, the sound is regulated by the length of the air column using holes in the body, or additional pipes that increase this column. The further the air travels, the lower the sound will be.

Distinguish between woodwind and brass. However, this classification speaks, rather, not about the material from which the instrument is made, but about the historically established way of playing it. Woodwind instruments are instruments whose pitch is regulated by holes in the body. The musician closes the holes with his fingers or valves in a certain order, alternating them while playing.

Woodwinds can be metal flutes, flutes, and even a saxophone, which has never been made of wood at all. In addition, these include flutes, oboes, clarinets, bassoons, as well as old shalmeys, recorders, duduks and zurnas.

Brass instruments include those instruments, the pitch of which is regulated by additional pipes, as well as by the musician’s ear cushion. Brass horns include French horns, trumpets, cornets, trombones and tubas.

Reed instrument

Everyone is familiar with the harmonica. Its enchanting sound arises from the fact that the musician, blowing air into the instrument, makes a small metal tongue vibrate, which produces the sound. Reed includes accordions, button accordions, accordions, kazoo.

In addition, reed wind instruments, such as the saxophone, bassoon or clarinet, in which the sound is generated due to the vibration of a small wooden plate – a cane, can be attributed to them.


Some of the most ancient musical instruments are drums, of course. The sound is formed from the impact of the musician on the instrument, or on its resonating part. Percussion instruments include all drums, tambourines, xylophones, timpani, triangles and shakers. In general, this is a very numerous group of instruments, which includes ethnic and orchestral percussion.


Percussion – percussion and noise musical instruments that are not included in the standard drum kit, or the main drums of the orchestra. Such instruments play an important role, creating a special mood and variety of rhythm of the part and the entire composition as a whole.

The sounds of bells, the noise of rattles, castanets and tambourines – without this it is impossible to imagine modern music. Ethnic percussion, which includes such ethnic percussion as tambourine, bongos, maracas, wooden spoons, castanets, have a huge impact on the self-determination of many peoples, creating their identity.

The Keyboards

Keyboard musical instruments include any instruments that have a piano or organ keyboard. Most often, in the modern interpretation, keyboards mean a grand piano, piano, organ, or synthesizer. In addition, this subgroup includes the harpsichord, accordion, melotron, clavichord, harmonium.


A relatively new subcategory of musical instruments, the sound of which is generated using electronic circuits. These include digital pianos, synthesizers, groove boxes, samplers, drum machines. Most of these instruments have either a piano keyboard or a keyboard consisting of dedicated, responsive pad buttons. However, some electric musical instruments may not have a keyboard at all, like, for example, modular synthesizers, receiving information about the note being played using special programs or devices.