You can now read 10 articles in a month for free on BostonGlobe.com. Read as much as you want anywhere and anytime for just 99¢.

The Boston Globe

Ideas

Brainiac

The bad harmonica years are over!

And other recent highlights from the Ideas blog

Last week in St. Louis, the Society for the Preservation & Advancement of the Harmonica held its 50th anniversary conference—and a fun, detailed article on the website Collectors Weekly explains that milestone took place as the instrument is entering a new golden era.

For most of the 20th century, the harmonica—known alternately as the “tin sandwich,” “blues harp,” or “Mississippi saxophone”—was a vital instrument, featured in everything from German folk songs to John Lennon’s melody in “Love Me Do.” But beginning in the mid-1970s, the harmonica declined in popularity. The article suggests it wasn’t just shifting tastes, but something far more specific: a design flaw introduced into the most popular model made by the largest harmonica maker in the world.

Loading comments...

You have reached the limit of 10 free articles in a month

Stay informed with unlimited access to Boston’s trusted news source.

  • High-quality journalism from the region’s largest newsroom
  • Convenient access across all of your devices
  • Today’s Headlines daily newsletter
  • Subscriber-only access to exclusive offers, events, contests, eBooks, and more
  • Less than 25¢ a week