[Harp-L] Questions about the Hohner Harmonetta.

Winslow Yerxa winslowyerxa@xxxxx
Sun Jun 4 15:29:18 EDT 2017

The Harmonetta is about six inches left to right, about seven inches front to back, and about two inches thick. (In another reply I wrote five by six inches, but I just got out the measuring tape.)

It has a mouthpiece along the front with two rows of holes, with half the notes in the top row and half the notes in the bottom row. Total of 36 holes, one for each note in the chromatic scale covering three octaves less a semitone. you get both top and bottom rows in your mouth at the same time, same as you would on a tremolo harmonica.

The top surface of the instrument has buttons you press to sound notes. Each button sounds all the notes with that letter designation. For instance, if you press any button for D, you can play any of the D notes, depending on which holes you breathe through.

All notes sound as both blow and draw notes, in the same hole for both blow and draw.
You hold the instrument in both hands, with the thumbs supporting the bottom of the instrument and the remaining fingers used to press the buttons. It weighs, I dunno, maybe five or six ounces.

They're arranged in left-to-right rows. Each row has three notes that are four semitones apart. 

The first row (the farthest away from your mouth) has six buttons: D, F#, A#, D, F#, A#. 

The second row has seven buttons that stick out farther to left and right from the first row. The notes are F, A, C#, F, A, C#, F

The third row has six buttons: C, E, G#, C, E, G#.

Th fourth row has seven buttons: D#, G, B, D#, G, B, D#.

At this point you have all the notes of the chromatic scale, but there's a fifth row that erepeats the notes of the first row but from a different starting point: A#, D, F#, A#, D, F#.

This may look like a crazy arrangement but it allows for some cool things.

You can play a major chord with one finger if you press the intersection between two buttons on one row and the button on the next row closer to you that comes between the other two. For instance, D and F# on the first row intersect with the A button on the next row in, One finger can grab corners from all three and give you a D major chord. 

You can play a minor chord the opposite way. Two neighboring buttons on the same row, and the button that comes between them on the next row outside. For instance, on the inside row, grab D and F#, with B comging between them on the row immediately outside, and you have a B minor chord.

There are several other symmetrical correspondences of intervals, chords, and scale fingerings that the button arrangement allows.
Winslow Yerxa
Producer, the Harmonica Collective
Author, Harmonica For Dummies, Second Edition: ISBN 978-1-118-88076-0
            Harmonica Basics For Dummies, ASIN B005KIYPFS
            Blues Harmonica For Dummies, ISBN 978-1-1182-5269-7
Resident Expert, bluesharmonica.com
Instructor, Jazzschool Community Music School
President emeritus, SPAH, the Society for the Preservation and Advancement of the Harmonica

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