Never-ending enterprise

Learning to play the harmonica is a never-ending enterprise. Maybe that’s true of other instruments, too. But any time we try to play something with our oral cavity, the plot thickens. There’s so much “in there” which can affect how we play. There are the lips, the teeth, the tongue, our cheeks, and all the different contortions we can do with each of them. There is no limit. There is no one technique, no one style. The only boundaries are the ones we impose on ourselves.

I don’t think it would be incorrect to say that the harmonica is one of the hardest instruments to play. Here on the internet, most experts will say differently, but I disagree. And I’m surely no expert, not on the harmonica or anything else. But, let me try to defend my position.

I’ve mentioned the “oral cavity” defense. It’s very complicated deep inside there. It is next to our brains, and therefore, next to our hearts. In musicians, those two organs are co-joined. They have to be if music is ever to be produced. It comes come from a “joint venture” of the mind and soul.

Yes, other musical instruments are wind driven. Therefore, they, too, use the oral cavity. But most, if any, cannot be tucked into their back pocket and carried off into war or any other unsavory place. There, they remind us of our humanity as only the harmonica can do. Because it’s really not what goes into the harmonica, but what comes out of it which is key. This is where it stands alone. There is no other musical instrument which sounds quite like it.

This helps to make the harmonica the hardest to play. It has to be able to make us forget whatever terrible situation that we’re currently in and enable us to continue to go forward. It cries, grieves, suffers for us, in a way which empowers us to never give up. Oh, the responsibility we have as a player of the harp!

Therefore, we should not be limited by trying to sound like some famous harmonica soloist. Let them play whatever they want. We are not limited by their art. We have our own to produce. Whatever talent we bring to the table, it is like no other. Granted, we may not make money with it or gain fame and following. But we will make this world a better place. Someone, somewhere, somehow, will hear our creation one day (be sure to record) and their world will be better than it was. That’s the power of this very hard-to-play little instrument. It transcends notoriety and fortune. It connects the totally unique to the completely despaired and opens up a door to a brighter new day. All of this happens from the wailing, lonesome sound of a crying tin voice, somewhere in the wilderness, which brings us all back home again.


Hello Mountain Recluse. I feel that this post really captures the spirit of those who play harmonica. I’ve been playing harmonica on and off for years and only now am getting into it seriously. I play harp and keyboard but have a slight preference for harp owing to it’s ability to be brought everywhere. When you mentioned soldiers bringing it to war it evoked Civil War soldiers and World War 2 soldiers playing it. The harp can be really underappreciated by people.


Hello @MountainRecluse, wow,
what a declaration of love for this wonderful little musical instrument. There is no better way to describe and feel it. Thank you very much! Greetings from Astrid :woman_in_lotus_position:


I appreciate your thoughts! Thank you!


Thank you! I’m glad that my affection for the harmonica came through. That was the main thought in my post. Thanks again! Your reply is very gracious!


Right on! Yes indeed. It’s been said many times of the harmonica: it’s the easiest instrument to play, and the hardest instrument to master!

I love your passion. Here’s to the harmonica! It truly is the people’s instrument!

Rock on,


"the easiest instrument to play, and the hardest instrument to master!’ - BRILLIANT