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Harmonicas that are suitable for Eastern music are usually tuned to the harmonic minor. The harmonic minor differs from the more ubiquitous (at least in Western music) natural minor in only one way - the 7th scale degree is raised by one semitone. So, if we were to consider the scale of A natural minor, it would contain all of the white keys on a piano between, say A4 and A5 - A, B, C, D, E, F, G. In contrast, the harmonic minor would include all of those same white keys, apart from the G, which would be raised by a semitone to G# (the black key in the middle of the trio of black keys), giving the following range of notes: A, B, C, D, E, F, G#.
32 Keys availableThe Hohner Marine Band 1896 Classic harmonica is the original blues harmonica. Today it is still manufactured in much the same way as when it was first introduced in 1896. Its uniquely authentic sound has defined the role of the harmonica in the blues tradition and made it the benchmark by which all others are judged. The archetypal blues harmonica with the traditional HOHNER tuning. The Marine Band Classic is one of the few Hohner diatonics that is available in a full range of natural and harmonic minor tunings. For low tunings, we recommend the Hohner Thunderbird, which has been designed from the ground up as a low tuned harmonica, but still has similar tone and feel to the classic Marine Band. Should you wish to replace reed plates on the Marine Band Classic, we recommend upgrading to the Andrew Zajac Marine Band Conversion Kit, which replaces the stock nails with a bolted setup, and makes the process of changing reed plates significantly easier. Original cover design from 1896 ensures the classic blues sound Greatly reduced swelling behaviour through double-coated pear wood comb Reeds: 20 Brass Reed Plates: 0.9mm brass Comb: Pearwood, brown Mouthpiece: pearwood lacquered Cover surface: Stainless steel Made in Germany Check the Key for additional tuning options: Natural Minor & Harmonic Minor ... Read more
12 Keys availableThe Lee Oskar Harmonic Minor tuning has a very soulful, Eastern European sound and was used for one entire side of Lee Oskar's highly acclaimed first solo album. This multi-cultural harmonica is designed to play Traditional Ethnic Music that is important to the heritage of many cultures. MINOR Eastern European, Gypsy, Yiddish, Mediterranean, Middle Eastern, Asian and European/American folk music, as well as various selections of jazz and classic show tunes, can be played easily with this harmonica. Model: 1910H - Yellow Label Available in 12 Keys (Listed low to high): Gm, Abm, Am, Bbm, Bm, Cm, Dbm, Dm, Ebm, Em, Fm, F#m Manufactured by Tombo in Japan About Lee Oskar Lee Oskar is widely regarded as one of the world's finest harmonica players, and since the 1980s has been collaborating with Tombo of Japan to produce a range of modular harmonicas, of which this model is one. Lee Oskar harmonicas are unique in that their modular design enables any set of reed plates to be used in any of the harps. Although this approach has been imitated by other manufacturers, such as Hohner, with its MS Series, none offer the range of tunings that Lee Oskar does.... Read more
11 Keys availableThe Seydel Session Steel harmonic minor tuning harmonica is the upgrade to Seydel's successful Session model, and it comes presented with a bold new look and superior technical reliability, excellent playability and a fantastic sound. This is a blues harmonica with corrosion-free stainless steel reeds, ergonomic covers and plastic comb. Seydel's stainless steel reeds provide a bright and powerful sound, and also allow easy bending of notes. Their main advantage, though, is durability - some players have found that the lifespan of these reeds can be up to 5 times that of harps with traditional brass reeds. This is particularly relevant if you're a powerful player who likes to perform frequent overblows. As with all Seydels, air tightness is high, and the cover plate design ensures that the Seydel Session Steel Harmonic Minor harmonica is friendly to both lips and beards (not something you can say about all harmonicas!). Build quality is also exceptionally high - a legacy both of Seydel's long history and its investment in new technology in the last decade or so. This is the harmonic minor tuned Session Steel, however you can also get it in Paddy Richter, PowerDraw, PowerBender, Melodic Maker, Circular/Melody King, Country and Natural Minor. If you would like any of the other tunings please contact us. We also offer custom tuning such as equal temperament on special order. Ergonomic cover plates made of stainless steel, completely rounded at the mouthpiece ABS comb with recessed German Silver reed plates Rivets and screws made of stainless steel Lips and beard-friendly design Minimal air consumption achieved by fine-cut reed plates, optimised flatness and extremely Small tolerances between reed and reed plate Stainless steel reeds provide the best clear and full sound and response of the 1847 models Up to 5 times longer playing life compared to models with brass reeds Comes with a genuine leather pouch Tuning: harmonic minor Keys: G to F ... Read more
Why Does the Harmonic Minor Sound Eastern?A significant amount of Middle Eastern music uses quarter-tones (ie half semitones) which aren't available on many traditional Western instruments (although it is possible to achieve them using partial bends on diatonic harmonicas). However, there is some use of particular modes in traditional Middle Eastern music that map to the harmonic minor, which means that an approximation of some aspects of this music can be made using this tuning. Traditional Eastern European music makes more specific use of the harmonic minor in its folk tunes, making a harmonic minor tuned harmonica a necessary purchase for anyone who wants to play this style of music.
What Brands Offer Harmonic Minor Harmonicas?
The harmonic minor is a relatively rare tuning for harmonicas. Lee Oskar produces a specialist harmonic minor model, and Seydel offers an off the peg Session Steel in harmonic minor, and the option to specify this tuning on any of its configurable diatonics. Hohner provides a limited number of keys of its Marine Band 1896 in harmonic minor.
What Does 'Moll' Mean on Hohner Harmonicas?
Confusingly, Hohner uses the label 'Moll' on its harmonic minor harmonicas. This translates from German to English as 'minor key', but is not used on its natural minor harmonicas, which are instead listed as Nat. Min.
What is the Best Harmonica for Playing Eastern Music?
The Lee Oskar Harmonic Minor harmonica is an excellent starting point for playing Eastern style tunes. For those wishing to invest a bit more money, Seydel offers all of its 1847 range in harmonic minor tunings, although these do incur an additional cost over the standard models.
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