© 2005 P. Missin

German Patent 841257

This patent, granted in 1952 to Friedrich Löchel, shows an intriguing variation on the chromatic harmonica. Instead of having a single button that operates a slide to raise the pitch of all the notes simultaneously, there is one button for each hole of the instrument's repeated tuning pattern, changing the pitches of the notes independently of the others, by means of small sliding parts that move vertically:

The inventor gives a particular tuning for this instrument. With no buttons depressed, the scale is the same as on a standard solo tuned chromatic, with the tuning pattern repeating every four holes. Pushing the first button for the first hole changes all the blow Cs to C#s and the draw Ds to D#s, much the same as on a typical chromatic. Pushing the second button changes all the blow Es to E#s and the draw Fs to an F#s, also similar to a standard chromatic. Pushing the third button changes all the blow Gs to G#s, but changes the draw As to G naturals. Pushing the fourth button changes the blow Cs to Bbs and the draw Bs to Cs. The instrument is capable of a fully chromatic scale, but its chordal possibilities are actually quite limited. However, for playing in the key of C major, there are quite a few useful chords available, for example C, C7, F, F7, Fm, Dm, D7, G7 and others.


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