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The Boston Globe



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.

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