How to Identify Harmonica Parts

Harmonica belongs to wind instruments class. It is rather versatile instrument that creates vibrant sounds once played. One of the important aspects of the instrument is understanding its parts and how it works to create different sounds. The instrument comes in different types, but generally all the types have 10 numbered holes through which air is blown to create different sound effects. The instrument is popular among music instrument players almost all over the world.


  • 1

    Types of Harmonica

    It is better to understand types of harmonica before understanding its parts. Generally, there are two recognized types, diatonic harmonica and chromatic harmonica. Both types are equally popular and in use, but modern instrument player use chromatic type of harmonica more than the other type. The Chromatic harmonica has a slide button at its end that changes the sound effects and creates different sounds.

  • 2

    Harmonica Reeds

    All harmonica types have two reeds - a brass strip - in them. One reed is called 'blow reed' and other one 'draw reed'. One reacts to air when its blown into the harmonica and the other reacts to the suctioned air to create different sounds. The reeds come into longer and shorter lengths and create opposite tone effects. The short reed creates higher tone effect while the other creates lower tone effect. The reeds are the two crucial component of the Harmonica and can affect the sound quality if damaged.

  • 3

    Holes Pan

    All harmonica instruments have 10 holes, no matter what type. They are on the hole pan up to length of the music instrument. The holes on the left side create higher tone effects and holes on the lower side lower sound effects, but both work in the same way.

  • 4


    All parts of harmonica are held together by two covers, upper cover and the lower cover, called 'Shell'. They are made of wood or plastic. The plastic ones create higher and crispy sound while those made of woods create traditional folk-style sound effects. The plastic ones are also considered to be durable and easier to clean.

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