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Orchestral harmonicas are designed for use in ensembles and generally cover a pitch range outside that of standard harmonicas, especially at the low and high end. They also tend to be larger than even the biggest chromatics, and some are designed specifically for playing chords.
What are the Types of Orchestral Harmonicas?
Orchestral harmonicas can be broadly categorised under the following headings:
These, as the name suggest, are designed to play chords, rather than melodies.
Bass and Double Bass Harmonicas
These produce notes that are significantly lower than a standard diatonic or chromatic is able to offer, occupying the place typically reserved for the double bass in a classical orchestra.
These are generally tuned around an octave lower than a similar sized tremolo harmonica, and occupy a pitch range similar to cellos.
Alto and Soprano Harmonicas
These occupy the higher end of the pitch range, with alto harps being tuned an octave lower than sopranos, which are used for the very highest notes in an ensemble.
Orchestral Harmonicas at The Harmonica Company
The Harmonica Company stocks a range of orchestral harmonicas from Tombo and Hohner. Suzuki orchestral harmonicas are also available on request.