Harmonicas are very popular and played in almost every country in the world.
This popularity has led to a range of quirky facts about the instrument. If you pick yourself as a trivia buff, then test your knowledge against the facts below. Enjoy!
The most popular instrument on the planet!
You knew that harmonicas were popular, but we bet you didn’t know just how popular they were.
The harmonica is the world’s most popular and best selling instrument. Worldwide over 10 million harmonicas are sold each year. In the United States more than 2 million each year.
All in all that is a damn lot of harmonicas sold, and explains why you can see buskers playing them all over the Globe.
The harmonica isn’t that old!
In terms of age the harmonica isn’t actually that old. It was only invented in 1821 by a teenager in Germany. Since this time it has been adapted and changed into the current model that it is today.
One of the main changes has been to the affordability of the model. After the mid 1860 to 1870s, the Hohner factory looked to commercialize and mass produce the harmonica to the US market. This made a big difference to its popularity.
A lot of well-known musicians play the ham
While it has a very distinctive sound, it is played by more people and is included in more major songs than most people know.
Key songs include “Fingertips” by the legendary Stevie Wonder, “Love Me Do” by the Beatles and of course the very famous “Piano Man” by Billy Joel.
Because it is such a versatile instrument, it can be included in any range of song types, and played by any range of performers.
How the harmonica got its name
While invested in the 19th century the origins of the name date back to US founding father Benjamin Franklin. He invented a music instrument which was based around glass bowls with different levels of water. He named this the glass harmonica. The harmonica component comes from Latin which means tuneful and is then roughly translated to harmonic. The harmonica as it is today got its name from these origins. Quite interesting to note!
Is it possible to swallow a harmonica?
This question generally gets asked when people are teaching kids to play the harmonica.
The answer is technically yes, because the world’s smallest harmonica which is the Hohner Little Lady could easily be swallowed – don’t try that at home! However, a normal harmonica generally can’t be swallowed. So the kids are safe to go ahead and play!
The above little known facts about harmonicas show how important the harmonica has been for people around the world. While some of the facts are a bit out there, the main message is that harmonicas can be played by anyone, anywhere.
Get out your harmonica now, and start having fun.