mini organ from harmonica

I  had an idea other day concerning harmonica.  Why couldn't one take a harmonica, run air tubing from an air source, one tube to each hole of the harmonica, use some sort of valves that can be triggeered by a keyboard, Voila, mini organ.  I am not interested in doing this myself but I think it could be pretty cool.  For one thing I think it would make a harmonica capable of playing multi note chords.  Some that would be impossible to play by mouth.

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mazzmn4 years ago
Yeah cool!
I've thought this would be a fun project to control from an Arduino or something like that. Hack it onto a cheap toy keyboard. One minor issue is the different notes are made by either blowing or drawing on holes...maybe using 2 identical harmonicas would make this problem easier and again make note combinations that are otherwise not possible.
Another reason I hesitate is because what I was thinking of would basically be a Melodica (I think that's what they're called) that you just don't have to blow into. See Melodicas.com. for what those look like.
paqrat (author)  mazzmn4 years ago
I have seen those. Didn't know what they were called. I don't know if they would be capable of producing the range of notes one might could get from the two harmonicas. I didn't envision the one I was thinking about as being handheld. Just easily portable. I seriously doubt I will build one of these but I do wish someone would. I think it could produce an interesting instrument. Thanks for your comments.
paqrat (author) 4 years ago
I must admit the problem of draw notes seemed to make the project a lot more complicated but it occurrs to me that one might be much simpler to use two harmonicas. One hooked up for the draw notes the other hooked up for the blow notes. Seems wiring and connecting of air hoses would be much simpler.
paqrat (author) 6 years ago
I thought it would probably be better to use a tank of compressed air. I think I had heard about draw notes but I hadn't thought of using them . Seems that would be a problem unless each hole has only one reed, otherwise, unless one abandons the draw notes altogether, it would require something a lot more complex. I'm not planning on doing this myself. Thank you for the information.
AndyGadget6 years ago
Electrically, it's very simple - Just keyboard switches powering pneumatic solenoid valves. You'd need a small compressor such as the type you use for an airbrush to provide the 'blow'.  You could quite easily adapt this for PC control by using a simple I/O card.

The tricky bit would be connecting the individual pipes to the harmonica, and don't forget (something I only found out recently) that the upper and lower reeds of a harmonica are pointing in different directions so you have one reed for the blow note and the other for the draw (suck) note.

Something which has never ceased to amaze me are those enormous cathedral and church organs, with several manuals (keyboards) and dozens and dozens of pipes, and this is all controlled mechanically as some of these are hundreds of years old!