Founded in 1857, HOHNER -- the world's largest
manufacturer of harmonicas --has proudly maintained a tradition of
high quality instrument making. Tireless investment in research and
development, combined with knowledge that has been cultivated for
decades, insures high quality standards -- both now and in the
These diatonic harmonicas, built according to the Richter-system, are in
principle single tone instruments and can be recognized by their
undivided air channels. They are usually simply called “Blues
Harps" and are very convenient as melody instruments for blues,
rock, country and folk. The fact that they are single note
instruments allows bending and over-blowing of certain notes in
order to create the typical, howling blues sound as well as the
missing chromatic notes.
Chromatic harmonicas enable the player to perform music of all
keys on one instrument. At present they consist of two diatonic
harmonicas in one, tuned a semitone apart - for example in C and
C#. The slide button is pushed in to switch the airflow from one
to the other, thus raising the pitch of each note by a semitone.
By combining these two scales, all 12 notes of the chromatic
scale are available (some of them twice). This offers a wealth
of new musical options to the player. Most commonly chromatic
harmonicas are heard within the classical music and jazz scene,
but often these harmonicas are used for blues, folk music, rock
and pop, too.
Tremolo-tuned harmonicas are mainly used for folk music. They
are easily recognizable by the horizontal division of the air
channels. Each channel has two reeds for each note, one pair for
blown notes and another pair for drawn ones.
These reeds – which are basically identical – are tuned to
slightly different frequencies. When played together, this
difference causes the characteristic beating of the tremolo
Besides the tremolo harmonicas the octave tuned instruments are
the most popular instruments for traditional and folk music.
They are easily recognisable by the air channels which are
divided horizontally and their characteristically curved
Each note is produced by a pair of reeds, tuned exactly one
octave apart, which produces a strong and full sound.