Melodica can be called a modern invention. Despite the fact that the first copies date back to the end of the XNUMXth century, it became widespread only in the second half of the XNUMXth century.
This musical instrument is not fundamentally new. It is a cross between an accordion and a harmonica.
Melodika (melodica) is considered a German invention. It belongs to the group of reed instruments, experts refer to a variety of harmonicas with a keyboard. The full, correct name of the instrument from the point of view of professionals is melodic harmonica or wind melody.
It has a fairly wide range of about 2-2,5 octaves. The musician extracts sound by blowing air into the mouthpiece, at the same time using the keys with his hands. The musical possibilities of the melody are high, the sound is loud, pleasant to listen to. It is successfully combined with other musical instruments, so it has become widespread throughout the world.
The melody device is a symbiosis of harmonica and accordion elements:
- Frame. The outer part of the case is decorated with a piano-like keyboard: black keys are interspersed with white ones. Inside there is an air cavity with tongues. When the performer blows air, pressing the keys opens special valves, the air jet acts on the reeds, due to which the sound of a certain timbre, volume, and pitch is extracted.
- Keys. The number of keys varies, depending on the type, model, purpose of the instrument. Professional melodic models have 26-36 keys.
- Mouthpiece (mouthpiece channel). Attached to the side of the instrument, designed to blow air.
The melodic harmonica makes a sound when air is blown out and the keys located on the case are pressed at the same time.
History of the tool
The history of melodic harmonica begins in China around 2-3 millennium BC. It was during this period that the first harmonica, the Sheng, appeared. The material of manufacture was bamboo, reed.
Sheng came to Europe only in the XVIII century. It is believed that thanks to the improvement of the Chinese invention, the accordion appeared. But the melody appeared to the world much later.
Models combining the capabilities of the accordion with the harmonica were first advertised in 1892. The harmonica, equipped with keys, was produced by the firm of the German Zimmermann on the territory of Tsarist Russia. The society was not interested in this instrument, the premiere went unnoticed. During the October Revolution, Zimmermann’s premises were destroyed by a crowd of revolutionaries, instrument models, drawings, and developments were destroyed.
In 1958, the German company Hohner patented a new musical instrument, the melodika, similar to the one that the Russians did not like. Thus, the melodic harmonica is considered a German invention. This model was accepted loyally and quickly spread around the world.
The 60s of the last century were the heyday for the melodic harmonica. Especially she fell in love with Asian performers. Among the undeniable advantages of melody are low price, ease of use, compactness, bright, soulful sounds.
Types of melodics
Instrument models differ in musical range, structural features, sizes:
- Tenor. When playing, the musician uses both hands: with the left he supports the lower part, with the right he sorts through the keys. A more acceptable option involves placing the structure on a flat surface, attaching a long flexible tube to the injection hole: this allows you to free your second hand, use both to press the keys. A distinctive feature of the model is a low tone.
- Soprano (alto melody). Suggests a higher tone than the tenor variety. Some models involve playing with both hands: black keys are located on one side, white keys are on the other.
- bass. It has an extremely low tone. It was common at the end of the XNUMXth century, today it is extremely rare.
It is successfully used by solo performers, is part of orchestras, ensembles, musical groups.
In the second half, it was actively exploited by jazz musicians, rock, punk bands, Jamaican reggae music performers. The solo melodic part is present in one of the compositions of the legendary Elvis Presley. The leader of The Beatles, John Lennon, did not neglect the instrument.
Asian countries use melody for the musical education of the younger generation. The European instrument has actually become a part of Eastern culture; today it is used most actively in Japan and China.
Russia exploits the melodic harmonica less actively: it can be seen in the arsenal of some representatives of the underground, jazz, and folk styles.