When asked what is the World’s best-selling musical instrument? It is very possible to easily conclude that the guitar, drums and piano are the world’s best-selling musical instruments considering they have gained popularity all over the world.
Well, they are not. Although they belong to the category of most played instruments, they are not the world’s best-selling musical instrument.
The world’s best-selling musical instrument is the Harmonica. It gained popularity after the massive production of 1 billion harmonicas in 1986. More recently, over 3 million harmonicas are sold every year. This is according to the 2019 Global Harmonica Sales Market Report.
Aside from the figures, there are lots of interesting things to find out about the harmonica.
What is The Harmonica?
In case you asked, what is harmonica? why is it such a big deal? In simple terms, the harmonica is a musical instrument that belongs to the wind family. It contains a series of holes you can blow into to produce a note. It is also often regarded as the French harp or mouth organ.
Furthermore, it is used around the world for different genres of music such as blues, classical, country, rock, folk music and many more. Perhaps, the versatility of the instrument makes it the world’s best-selling musical instrument you can see.
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Reasons Why Harmonica is the World’s Best-selling Musical Instrument
Here are some points that qualify the harmonica as the world’s best-selling musical instrument:
Harmonicas are relatively cheap compared to other musical instruments. As a beginner, you can pick up a Harmonica just for $120. But getting a more professional one will cost you some few extra bucks.
However, you should get one for about $150 to $250. With this level of affordability, harmonicas make millions of sales each year.
It can play many musical genres
Just like it was stated earlier, harmonicas are good for almost every musical genre. It can play jazz, folk music, pop, rock and roll, and classical. Similarly, they play different notes, the chromatic harmonica can play 12 musical keys.
With the harmonica performing all these functions, what else can a player be looking for? It perfectly fills musical needs and of course, different music can be played with it. The satisfaction derived from it has made it the world’s best-selling musical instrument.
One of the things players consider when getting musical instruments is how handy it is. Is it convenient to move around? Can you easily wrap your hands around it? Will it be too heavy? And so on.
Harmonica answers positively to all the questions, they are small, portable and light to move around. This is because, in weight, it only weighs 85 grams. It is 4.02 inches in length, 1.18 inches in height and 0.83 inches in width. It is simply portable, and it could even fit into the pocket.
Unlike other musical instruments, the harmonica is easy to clean and maintain. It doesn’t take extra effort to clean, like the stringed instruments.
To clean a harmonica, you only need lukewarm water, a small piece of cloth and air. You clean the mouth and the entire harmonica itself with a damped piece of cloth in lukewarm water. Swipe out all the dirt thoroughly and dry it with air.
Ease of use
Harmonica is super easy to use without additional supporting systems or hardware. Most musical instruments require external components for them to perform optimally.
For instance, the guitar might require an amplifier or a tuner to work more perfectly. The cello will need a support system due to its weight and size. The harmonica on the other hand does not need too much to perform optimally.
It can be learned personally
After paying a lot of money to acquire a musical instrument, not so many are eager to play a lot to learn the instrument again. In the case of Harmonica, it is cheap to own and also to learn.
You don’t necessarily need a teacher to put you through, what you need majorly is the ability to push enough air through the instrument. So, you can learn to play the harmonica all by yourself. All you will need is to study how it is done online, or watch videos.
Types of Harmonica
The common of them is the chromatic harmonica. It is usually used in playing classical and jazz genres. Most musicians use it because it has a combination of the diatonic and the chromatic itself. This includes the twelve A, B, C, D, E, F, G, A#/Bb, C#/Db, D#/Eb, F#/Gb, G#/Ab keys. However, it requires more skills to play than the diatonic harmonica.
This is one of the simplest harmonicas to learn. It is a perfect match for a beginner. It contains 10 holes that play 19 notes, which play only one key. What this means is that, a single diatonic will only play one key.
So, if you desire to play varieties of keys, you may have to buy different diatonic in different keys. Better still, you can get one that is in the key of C. Most songs come in the key of C. However, this type of harmonica is good for musical genres such as rock, country, pop and blues.
The tremolo is typically known for its double rows of holes. The 8,10 or 12 holes on the tremolo usually come in sets. The double rows of holes makes it a bit complicated for beginners to play. So, they are often found amidst experts.
Meanwhile, there are more types of harmonica that are not so common. We have the octave, orchestra and bass harmonica. If you are a beginner looking for what to start with, the chromatic harmonica is good. It is easier to learn and contains varieties of notes.
How Difficult Is It to Learn Harmonica?
In case you asked if Harmonica is difficult to learn, the quickest answer is No. Harmonicas are one of the easiest instruments around the world to learn. It comes pre-tuned and set up in perfect chord. Each key you need to play is already set up in their notes.
So, all you need to do is to learn how to position your mouth and blow the air. Now, that may be the difficult part.The harmonica requires being played by using the mouth (lips and tongue) to blow air into the holes of the harmonica. So, it may be a little challenging at first to understand how to produce chords using the harmonica.
Also, developing stamina to blow air into the instrument and the mouth positioning may be hard for beginners. Immediately you are able to move past this stage, playing the harmonica becomes a lot easier and more enjoyable.
Is Harmonica Worth Learning?
After learning about how the harmonica works, it’s quite predictable to ask, why the stress? Is it worth learning? Well, if you intend to go into music or musical instruments, learning the harmonica can be a great asset. It prepares the ground for you to learn other instruments, which may generate a major stream of income for you.
And in case you say” No, I’m not going into music”, is the harmonica still worth it? Yes, it is worth learning because you can learn to play music for yourself and others without having to break your account. It is relatively cheap and easy to learn.
Moreover, they say learning to play music is self-rewarding. So, it is a way to just reward and enjoy yourself. A way to try out your creativity level and get more dynamic. Adding a new skill like playing the harmonica to yourself is definitely worth it.
Why Should I Learn to Play the Harmonica?
In case you need more reasons on why you should learn to play the harmonica, here are some benefits you can gain from learning to play the harmonica:
- Playing the harmonica enhances your memory: It helps to keep an active and sharp mind that invariably enhances your memory.
- It improves your thinking capacity: Playing the harmonica requires lots of calculations and musical abilities like reading of notes and rhythm. Such types of engagements help to improve your mind.
- It enhances your coordination: Harmonica involves lots of activities reoccurring simultaneously. For instance, breathing, blowing air and coordinating your mouth to the right note.
- It is good for your well-being: Harmonicas are good for the total well-being of your mind. It is often used as a therapy against tension, stress and depression.
- Harmonica is good for good respiration: Harmonica involves breathing air. If you are having difficulties with breathing or you desire to learn how to breathe properly without getting bored, learning the harmonica is a perfect way.
Other Best-Selling Musical Instruments
Is harmonica the only world best-selling musical instrument? The answer is a definite No, it is not. There are other world best-selling musical instruments that come right after the harmonica.
For instance, we have the guitar coming up as the second best-selling musical instrument across the globe. Next to it is the piano, which is the third world best-selling musical instrument.
According to reports, millions of guitars and pianos are also being sold, just that they are not as much as the Harmonicas are sold.
What is the world’s best-selling musical instrument? The harmonica, while guitar and piano, comes in the second and third position respectively. This leaves guitar and piano in the position of most played instruments, the most demanded and also best-selling musical instruments. You can check out our article on the 10 most popular instruments to play.