Tuesday, October 27, 2009



The melodica, also known as the 'blow-organ' is a free-reed instrument similar to the accordion and harmonica. It has a musical keyboard on top, and is played by blowing air through a mouthpiece that fits into a hole in the side of the instrument. Pressing a key opens a hole, allowing air to flow through a reed. The keyboard is usually two or three octaves long. Melodicas are small and light enough to be carried around.

Types of melodicas

Melodicas are classified primarily by the range of the instrument. Melodicas with different ranges have slightly different shapes.

  • Soprano and alto melodicas are higher-pitched and thinner sounding than tenors. Some are designed to be played with both hands at once; the left hand plays the black keys, and the right hand plays the white keys. Others are played like the tenor melodica.
  • Tenor melodicas are a lower-pitched type of melodica. The left hand holds a handle on the bottom, and the right hand plays the keyboard. Tenor melodicas can be played with two hands by inserting a tube into the mouthpiece hole and placing the melodica on a flat surface.
  • Bass melodicas also exist, but are less common than other types.
  • The accordina uses the same mechanism, but with accordion-like buttons instead of keys.

Alternate names

The melodica is known by various names, often at the whim of the manufacturer. Melodion ,Melodika, Melodia, Pianica, Melodihorn and Clavietta are just some of the variants.