The school star is also a relative of the harmonica
Inside, it's just like a harmonica
The key harmonica (known as a "Pianica" by Yamaha) has a completely different shape and method of playing than the harmonica, and yet it can still be called the instrument's cousin. Why is that so?
The answer is apparent when you look inside.
As the photograph shows, beneath the keyboard, a reed plate with numerous reeds attached is hidden, and the air that enters through the blowing entrance enters an air chamber that continues from the left to the right of the key harmonica. When a key is pressed, a spring is elongated, opening a valve, releasing the air accumulated in the air chamber through the airway of the pressed key. When this happens, the reed is vibrated, producing a noise. Although the method by which the instrument is played differs, the structure is just like a harmonica.
However, with a key harmonica, there is only blowing, no drawing. Because the flow of air is one-way, the reeds are all aligned in the same direction; they do not alternate, as in a harmonica.
Maintenance of a key harmonica
Tilt to remove saliva
Moisture in the breath inside the air chamber sometimes condenses into water and starts to collect. If the production of the notes seems to have deteriorated, tilt the entire instrument with the spit-release button to the bottom and blow in while pressing the button to remove the water build-up. This gets more out than if the action were performed with the instrument laid out flat.
If foreign material gets in through the opening used for blowing
A key harmonica has an air chamber with reeds lined up within it and produces tones with them. If marbles, erasers, or other objects enter through the opening for blowing into, they will hit the interior and make the reeds misshapen, ruining the pitch. When this happens, the only thing to do is to rely on a pro.