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The mouth organ

During the 1st millennium BC the Chinese invent a small portable musical instrument, the sheng, on which the player blows or sucks to make a thin metal reed vibrate. Each of the separate holes along the edge directs the air to a reed playing a different note.

A sheng brought to Europe in the 1770s creates considerable interest, but there is a long gap before C.F.L. Buschmann produces a similar instrument in Berlin in 1821 under the name of Mundäoline. It catches on, as a cheap and enjoyable way of making music, and eventually settles down under the more harmonious names of harmonica or mouth organ.

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