A melodica is a wind instrument with a keyboard body (normally plastic) and it's in the free reed family of musical instruments (the reed vibrates without touching other reeds or the body of the wind passage). It was developed and put on the market by Hohner, a well established German harmonica maker, in 1959. Hohner owns the name melodica so all the other melodica type instruments that other companies put out have different names such as wind piano, keyboard harmonica, or Yamahas pianica. Since its introduction many companies have come out with there own versions with different ranges and different types of mouthpiece. It is held vertically, is polyphonic, and it has metal reeds like a harmonica. It has a very similiar sound to an accordion (also a free reed instrument) or harmonica but it is far easier to play. It was originally meant to be an instrument for children.

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