I’m not an expert on Indian music, but I’m familiar with some of the
scales of traditional Indian music. Please tell us if these scale spellings
are not correct.
Hindustan scale, Key of C:
Scale formula: C D E F G Ab Bb C
Harmony: Play a C major chord.
Pelog Scale, Key of C:
Scale formula: C Db Eb G Ab C
Harmony: play a C minor chord.
The best choice for playing Indian music would be the chromatic
(12-note scale) harmonica. All music world-wide, that is based on
a chromatic scale or it’s derivations, is playable on a chromatic
harmonica. Chromatic harmonicas are playable in all keys on one
The other types of harmonicas that you’ve listed (tremolo, diatonic)
are both diatonic (one major scale) harmonicas. It’s difficult to play
an Hindustan (7-note) scale or Pelog (5-note) scale on a diatonic
harmonica, unless you use the advanced techniques of bending
There are 3 types of chromatic harmonicas:
Slide Chromatic (recommended for your Indian music)
Your Tower chromatic is a slide chromatic harmonica.
The slide chromatic has natural notes (white keys of a piano)
with the slide out; and sharp/flat notes(piano’s black keys)
with the slide button pressed in. All music based on the
12-note scale is playable on a chromatic harmonica.
It’s a harmonica designed to play melodies, and has very
few chords available. The slide chromatic is an exhale & inhale
Most major harmonica manufacturers sell excellent slide
chromatics: Hohner, Suzuki, Tombo, Hering, Seydel, Huang.
If those brands are too expensive for you, try a Swan brand
slide chromatic. The best harmonica to start your
slide chromatic studies would be one with 12 mouthpiece holes
(3 chromatic scales’ range).
Select a harmonica brand that is sold in a music instrument
retail store near you. If none are available near you, buy from
a respectable internet retail or discount harmonica seller. Buy
only a harmonica that has a manufacturer’s warranty.
These are chromatic harmonicas, but without a slider button.
There are two types. They are usually exhale-only harmonicas.
The piano-style chromatic
has 2 horizontal reed plates. The bottom row is the natural notes,
the top row is the sharp/flat notes. Both Suzuki & Tombo
sell no-slide, piano-style chromatics.
The glissando-style chromatic
has the notes placed in half steps next to each other,in one horizontal row: G G# A A# B C C# D D# E F F#. It may be sold in keys other than G, with a range of 35 chromatic notes (almost 3 chromatic octaves’ range). Most glissando harmonicas have 2 horizontal rows with the same reed placement as listed above. Hohner makes a glissando harp, and possibly other manufacturers do, also. They are usually classified as “orchestral” harmonicas, because they are used mainly in harmonica orchestras or harmonica bands.