The harmonica, or the mouth organ, is one of the most popular musical instruments. One simple reason for this: anyone can play it. In the words of Corky Seigel, legendary harmonica player, “all you need to play is to breathe.”
1. It is one of the best-selling musical instruments in the world, in the same league as the guitar.
2 - It was one of the first musical instruments to be played in space. On Christmas Eve, in 1965, astronauts played the carol Jingle Bells with a harmonica and bell. Even though a few other musical instruments were flown into space after this, it was still a rare occurrence.
3 - The harmonica is played along with a bullet, a name given to a special microphone. It helps produce a clear sound, and allows the harmonica to be heard even with louder musical instruments.
4 - There have been multiple record-breaking events surrounding the harmonica. In 2009, a musician named Bonny B played the mouth organ in Switzerland for 24 hours at a stretch. He was recorded in the Guinness Book of World Records as the only person to have done this without a break.
In the same year, there was another attempt for the Guinness World Records. Over 6,000 harmonica players got together to form the world’s biggest ensemble. They played for seven minutes, together, in Hong Kong. Over 15,000 people gathered to watch the show (remember the pre-pandemic days when that wasn’t a terrifying thought?)!
5 - Many famous musicians have been known to play the harmonica. One example is Bob Dylan, who played the guitar and the harmonica together. Another is John Lennon - the opening riff of the popular Beatles hit Love Me Do was a harmonica! Some other famous musicians who played the harmonica on stage were: John Mayer, Shakira, Bruce Springsteen, and many more.
6 - Playing the harmonica has numerous health benefits for the lungs. In fact, some hospitals even give harmonicas to their patients.
The harmonica has a distinct, identifiable sound. Most importantly, it is an easy instrument to start playing. If you are looking for a new musical instrument to start exploring, the harmonica is a great place to begin.