The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #46882   Message #696635
Posted By: Stephen L. Rich
23-Apr-02 - 01:42 PM
Thread Name: A Harmonica History Question
Subject: A Harminica History Question
My friend, Bill, is a harmonica player and has been doing some research into the history and origins of the instrument. He has managed to trace it all the way back to about 3,000 B.C. (or B.C.E., if you prefer).

The earliest ancestor of the Harmonica would appear to be a device called a Sheng which resembles nothing as much as a great, bamboo pipe organ with a mouthpiece rather than a keyboard (I have a couple of pictures of Sheng-like instuments. If you're interested PM me and I'll send them along). It was invented by order of the, then, Emperor of China, Nyn Kwya. I say "by order" because emperors always have people to do these things FOR them (a lesson well learned centuries later by Thomas Edison). The order was given to help Nyn Kwya to impress a woman (evidently, being the Emperor of China wasn't enough).

Much of the material that Bill has been able to find online has been written in either Chinese or German. So, he has hit something of a stone wall. Does anyone know enough about Chinese history or folklore to answer Bill's last, remaining question?

Was the woman IMPRESSED?

Not knowing the end of the story is making him crazy and, as a result he's making me crazy(er) with it.

HELP!! Jane! Stop this crazy thing!