Good term for referencing melodicas, pianicas, and melodions collectively

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  • #2753
    AvatarLowboy
    Participant

    Hi Fellow TBD Players:

    See the problem in the salutation? I find myself always searching for a collective noun that represents melodicas, melodions, pianicas, and the other melodica-type instruments some of you play.

    I have seen the terms blow-organ and key-flute used, but I don’t care for these terms. Some people, including myself, tend to use the term “melodica” to refer to all types of these instruments.

    Has anyone heard of other terms, or can anyone suggest a new term that we might use to refer to melodicas/melodions/pianicas collectively?

    Lowboy

    #2754
    AvatarQuetscher
    Participant

    Hi Lowboy,

    that’s an interesting question – melodica, pianica, melodion, accordina, Vibrandoneon, Eolina, melodyhorn, there are so many names for the same kind of instruments!

    To me key-flute would be completely wrong (the Suzuki “A-25F Andes” is a key-flute because it is not a free-reed instrument but a 25-in-one flute played with keys).

    A blow organ would be played mainly with two hands, as well as a blow accordion (a term which I read on http://www.akkordeon-maurer.de) – it would be a “blow-the-right-side-of-an-accordion-instrument”, but that sounds a little awkward, doesn’t it?

    So, let me ask a simple question in return: where are we?

    We’re at (or better: IN!) MELODICAWORLD! So shouldn’t we pay tribute to this site and its founder? In my opinion it should be MELODICA, nothing else…

    Besides this, Hohner invented this instrument and gave it that name, the other names refer to “melodica” (piaNICA, MELOdion…) and the instruments themselves are based on the same principals of sound and construction.

    Greetings, Quetscher

    #2758
    AvatarAlan Brinton
    Participant

    I’m inclined to agree with Questscher. On the other hand, I see the problem that Lowboy is raising: we don’t want to say that all these instruments are melodicas, but it might be useful to have a general term that covers the “family” of instruments that are closely enough related to the melodica to be getting attention here. “Keyboard mouth organ”?

    But I think “melodica” is the right word for melodions and pianicas, which are clearly the same instrument.

    #2760
    AvatarQuetscher
    Participant

    I see what you mean, Alan. All these instruments are constructed in slightly different ways, some like “classical” melodicas (melodion, pianica, melodyhorn), some like accordions (Eolina, Vibrandoneon), some in still another way (accordina). Nevertheless there are three things that define them as belonging to the same instrument family: they have free reeds, they are mouth blown and the have keys or buttons. And that’s why I still would prefer to call them all melodicas (although I have to admit that your suggestion “keyboard mouth organ” hits the three definition items quite exactly)

    #2762
    AvatarLowboy
    Participant

    So it looks like melodica is the way to go for the collective noun. It has historical significance and it already has mainstream acceptance. We can always use the more detailed descriptors (pianica, melodyhorn, etc.) when it makes sense to provide more detail. Lowboy

    #2774
    AvatarDavid Hart
    Participant

    It was my understanding that the only reason all these terms exist is because Hohner still have a trademark over ‘melodica’. Much like in the world of those UFO-like, hand-played metal percussion instruments that were called ‘hang’ by the people who invented them, who were fiercely proprietorial about the term when other people developed similar instruments (and yet, from what I’ve read, also resentful when the community of people who play those things coalesced on ‘handpan’ as the generic term for the hang and its imitators – it strikes me that you can’t reasonably have it both ways).

    So I will keep on using ‘melodica’ as the generic term, unless and until something better comes along. Though I’m not quite sure where the borders lie. Does the 3-row chromatic Accordina count? I’d say probably. The Claviola? Maybe. The Harmonetta? Probably not. It’s a slippery slope 🙂

    #2775
    Daren BanarsëDaren Banarsë
    Keymaster

    I actually had a good think about this before naming the website. Went through everything before returning to ‘Melodica’!

    #2777
    AvatarAlan Brinton
    Participant

    Melodica, like Kleenex, has become a genericized term, which weakens the trademark, at least in the U.S. and UK. But just think how popular this site would be if it were called “keyboardmouthorganworld”!

    #2778
    AvatarMelodica-Me
    Participant

    Good point Alan, even worst being called a “Professional Mouth Organist”

    Enough said

    Melodica-me

    #2786
    AvatarSteven Morris
    Participant

    Lowboy,

    Incidentally, in Japan they are generally referred to as “Keyboard Harmonicas” (鍵盤ハーモニカ). Most people know that Yamaha makes “Pianicas” and that Suzuki makes “Melodions”. Few people know the term “Melodica (Piano)”, let alone that they’re made by Hohner.

    I agree though, although an obscure instrument, in the US at least they are generally known as “Melodicas”.

    #2787
    AvatarLowboy
    Participant

    Hi Steven,

    I really really really like the name “keyboard harmonica” given my musical direction. I can see myself using “keyboard harmonica” in a number of contexts for my own purposes, and using melodica for general discussions.

    For example, it sounds much cooler to tell a perspective blues band that I play Hammond organ and keyboard harmonica than to say I play organ and melodica.

    Most people that I speak with, including musicians, don’t know what a melodica is. Keyboard harmonica on the other hand creates an image of what the instrument could look like and sound like. It may also imply a more serious instrument (at least to blues players), given the unfortunate connotation that the word melodica has developed as an educational instrument.

    I won’t throw out melodica, but don’t be surprised if you see me write keyboard harmonica in some contents associated with my efforts.

    Thanks so much for this idea. Given the popularity of the melodica in Japan, there is probably much to learn from Japanese players.

    Regards,

    Lowboy

    #2788
    AvatarSteven Morris
    Participant

    Lowboy,

    I’m actually going to see a guitarist who might have a singer/melodica player accompanying him next week! I accidentally caught them rehearsing in the same building as the electronics group I participate in. The melodica player sounded fantastic. Hopefully I can ask some questions :D.

    However, in my experience most people in Japan don’t take them seriously either. Same thing goes with the recorder- they are both seen as educational tools rather than serious instruments. Just about everyone has one though!

    I agree though- “keyboard harmonica” does present an immediate image whereas melodica/pianica/melodion don’t.

    #2862
    AvatarAUREO MC
    Participant

    Hello, Lowboy,
    In Brazil it’s called escaleta (from musical scale and from Italian scaletta, in the past).

    It’s also called melodica sometimes.

    Greetings from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil!

    #2875
    AvatarLowboy
    Participant

    Hi Aureo,

    Then escaleta it is when I am Rio de Janeiro, a place I always was interested in visiting.

    It has a nice ring to it.

    Regards,

    Lowboy

    #2876
    AvatarAlan Brinton
    Participant

    I like this. Wait! I think we also may have a spokesperson.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dsPRRyj55sQ

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