• WordNet 3.6
    • n harmonica a small rectangular free-reed instrument having a row of free reeds set back in air holes and played by blowing into the desired hole
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Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
  • Interesting fact: Scientists have discovered that the mating call of the Mediterranean fruit fly has exactly the same frequency as lower F# on a harmonica.
    • Harmonica A musical instrument, consisting of a series of hemispherical glasses which, by touching the edges with the dampened finger, give forth the tones; it is now called the glass harmonica, to distinguish it from the common harmonica, formerly called the harmonicon.
    • Harmonica A small wind musical instrument shaped like a flat bar with holes along the thin edges, held in the hand and producing notes from multiple vibrating reeds arranged inside along its length; it was formerly called the harmonicon. See harmonicon.
    • Harmonica A toy instrument of strips of glass or metal hung on two tapes, and struck with hammers.
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Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
  • Interesting fact: Before he catapulted to fame, Bob Dylan was paid $50 in 1960 for playing the harmonica on a Harry Belafonte album.
    • n harmonica Same as musical glasses (which see, under glass).
    • n harmonica A musical toy consisting of a set of small metallic reeds so mounted in a case that they may be played by the breath, certain tones being produced by expiration, others by inhalation. Also called harmonicon.
    • n harmonica In organ-building, a mixturestop.
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Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • ns Harmonica the musical glasses—an instrument invented by Franklin, the sounds of which were produced from bell-shaped glasses placed on a framework that revolved on its centre, while the rims were touched by the moistened finger: a musical instrument consisting of a series of glass or metal plates played by striking with a small mallet: a mouth-organ or harmonicon
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Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
Fem. fr. L. harmonicus, harmonic. See Harmonic (n.)


In literature:

Sometimes I play tunes on my harmonica.
"The Story of Wool" by Sara Ware Bassett
And then away, with an extra pair of socks and a harmonica for baggage.
"If You Don't Write Fiction" by Charles Phelps Cushing
And in the next instant, when the strains of the harmonica smote the still morning air, Nigger began to prance.
"'Firebrand' Trevison" by Charles Alden Seltzer
You and she will have to play duets, Sam, you on the three-decked harmonica I got for you.
"Rimrock Trail" by J. Allan Dunn
You had better lay in a stock of mouth harmonicas.
"Young Auctioneers" by Edward Stratemeyer
Zephyr, unruffled, drew from his shirt a well-worn harmonica.
"Blue Goose" by Frank Lewis Nason
The harmonica shake, which you wouldn't let her bring in, is a thing which I detest!
"The Serapion Brethren," by Ernst Theodor Wilhelm Hoffmann
This afternoon he seems brighter and asked for his harmonica, so his throat is probably more comfortable.
"American Red Cross Text-Book on Home Hygiene and Care of the Sick" by Jane A. Delano
It consisted of three gigantic harmonicas and a number of drums.
"The Witch Doctor and other Rhodesian Studies" by Frank Worthington
Winnie, in her best blue gingham, brought up the rear, her mouth full of harmonica.
"A Round Dozen" by Susan Coolidge

In news:

Terry McMillan, an A-list session harmonica player and percussionist, died Friday, Feb 2, in Pigeon Forge, Tenn. At 53 after a long illness.
It's all about the harmonica at Blues Vespers this Sunday.
Willie Nelson's harmonica player icon in his own right .
From 1927 through 1934, the Memphis Jug Band created an exceptional sound, combining harmonicas, violins, mandolins, banjos, guitars, washboards, kazoos, and, of course, jugs.
Veteran played harmonica with Jackson Center sis.
Men toting guitars, harmonicas and anything that "could make a noise" often filed into the building at the center of the Shafter labor camp where Glynda Campbell's family spent its first years in California.
Rigorous banjo plucking, powerful fiddling and melodic harmonica sounds filled the breezy air around Chevrolet Court today.
To get the attention of my students, I blow a harmonica.
When the students hear the harmonica, they know that they are to stop what they are doing, look at me and listen quietly.
While others held protest signs outside the Fullerton Police Department last summer, Julian Porte came with a guitar, a harmonica and a song.
Clay McClinton grew up in Fort Worth, where he learned to play guitar and harmonica from dad Delbert McClinton and Clay's older brother.
Sonny Boy Williamson, one of the great blues harmonica player, singer and songwriter's of the world died on this day in 1965.
Loss of harmonicas hinders bluesman's sound.
FREE Harmonica Lessons From Jerry Portnoy.

In science:

Some people may consider the accordion and harmonica as a wind instruments.
Music in Terms of Science
But both accordion and harmonica make all their sounds by means of reeds (which are thin brass, bronze, or steel tongue-like plates with one end fixed on a frame) that are driven to vibrate, much like a swinging door, by having air flow across them.
Music in Terms of Science
The body of the harmonica is a comb with prongs separating a row of ten or more chambers.
Music in Terms of Science
Reeds of the popular ten hole, diatonic harmonica are tuned in a ma jor key and arranged in such a way that one can produce the ma jor chord of the key by blowing on any three adjacent holes.
Music in Terms of Science
The harmonica is played by blowing air into it or drawing air out with lips placed over individual holes (reed chambers) or multiple holes.
Music in Terms of Science