What is it?
The melodica is a german instrument designed in the 1950s by the Hohner company that works as a combination of a harmonica (or most wind instruments) and a keyboard.
Not to be confused with
You may hear about it with other names like blow-organ or the key-flute. Pronounced /məˈlɒdɪkə/, from the greek μελόντικα meaning future and called Melódica in Spanish, Mélodica in french and Escaleta in Portuguese. A person that plays it it’s just called a melodica player.
The Keyboard family means that it has a row of keys, buttons, or levers that make the sound when you press them and in another way of classifying its aerophone meaning it makes sound with air vibration.
Different types of plastic (celluloid, delrin, styrene, PVC) and sometimes even wood.
The types are determined by range, soprano, alto, and tenor, they also have a different amount of keys, which means that models with more keys will be bigger, but will also allow you to play at a bigger range.
For the regular plastic melodica, around $16 – $ 300 USD, the cheapest we found was a Rise 32 keys melodica and the most expensive was a Suzuki 37 keys brass (the only brass melodica we know) melodica.
In the middle we have something like the Hohner 32-Key Melodica, Red for $ 81 USD.
|Variant||Lowest price*||Highest price*||Average*|
|Soprano melodica||$20 USD||$300USD||$120 USD|
|Tenor melodica||$16 USD||$110 USD||$62USD|
|Bass melodica||$21 USD||$185 USD||$61 USD|
Weights and sizes
The size of soprano melodica goes around 18 x 4 x 6 In – 20 x 7.5 x 3 In (45 x 9 x 16 Cm – 51x 19 x 8 Cm) and has a weight from 1.75 Lbs (1 Kgs) to 3 Lbs (1.3Kgs), that’s the size of a computer keyboard and the weight of a regular book.
|Rise by Sawtooth Piano Style Melodica with 32 Keys||18 x 4 x 6 In (45 x 9 x 16 Cm)||1.75 Lbs (1 Kgs)|
|Hohner 32F 32-Key Piano-Style Fire Melodica||20 x 7.5 x 3 In (51x 19 x 8 Cm)||3 Lbs (1.3 Kgs)|
|Suzuki Musical Instrument Melodica (PRO-37V3)||19 x 5 x 4 In (48 x 13 x 10 Cm)||3.56 Lbs (1.6 Kgs)|
Best brands and models
The best melodica for a beginner is 32 keys plastic melodica since it is the most common and accessible variant, there’s also the 25 Keys if the portability is especially important for you.
For kids, we also recommend the 25-Key melodica, but there are also 13 keys to toy melodicas, those look a little bit more like flutes but work and sound the same and are great if they don’t know music theory yet.
If we look at famous players Monty Alexander and Rick Davies they had 37 keys melodicas, some of them made of wood, so if you’re going professional, you don’t have any excuse with one of those.
Now that you know, you can check on eBay here.
Here’s a list of a lot of them, but for this one, you don’t need that much considering how few parts it has. A pipe / plastic tube for replacements, a plastic mouthpiece for the tube, and a cleaning kit, that’s a: brushes (short and extremely long), oil, microfiber, and germicide to clean both the mouthpiece and the pipe.
We recommend learning to read sheet music to get the basics. We review resources to help you choose how you want to learn. Now that you know how to read them, you need to get some.
Sheets come in different notations so we recommend checking various versions of the same sheets, searching for “scores” to get all instruments, and even the “song name for melodica/piano/ keyboard to save on translations.
Don’t forget all the details that combined make a big difference like the way you hold it, efficient warmups, positions, and techniques.