Saturday, December 26, 2015

Chopin Nocturne Opus 9 No. 1 on Melodica (Demo)

First of all, I was sick hence I did not update the blog last week, sorry about that.

This time I would talk a bit about playing and arranging some classical pieces on melodica.
It is always a challenge to arrange classical pieces for melodica, since the melodica has not been invented when those classical composers wrote their pieces. Therefore, arranging classical pieces for melodica really takes a lot of musicianship, and understanding the "language" of the pieces from different composers is very important. If you arrange the pieces for melodica solo, you may even have to change the style of the original pieces, but not to the point that it would lose the original "melody line". So far I have arranged some parts of these classical pieces for melodica solo:

1. Toccata in D Minor; 2. Minuet in G.
1. Sonata Pathetique; 2. Fur Elise
1. Nocturne Opus 9 No. 1; 2. Nocturne Opus. 20 in C# Minor
Clair de Lune

Anyway, here I would post my demo of Chopin Nocturne Opus 9 No. 1 on melodica. I only arranged the first several bars, and I changed the key from Bb Minor to C Minor for easier playing. I would say my arrangement capture the color of this piece pretty well, even though I changed some part of it. And I definitely could arrange the whole piece if I really go for it :)

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Merry Christmas!!

Merry Christmas everyone!!!

This time I would talk about something other than melodica. As you may remember, baritone ukulele is also one of the other instruments that I play. Last week I went to an ukulele meetup group, we played the song "White Christmas" over there. I jammed with the other guy where I played the melody chords and he played the rhythm chords on low G ukulele and standard ukulele respectively. People commented the performance as "oh I felt like I wanna cry". You can imagine how beautiful the song came out :)

Hence I arranged another version for baritone ukulele solo. The lower register part is actually the same as the one I played in the meetup group, only this time I added another verse and made some twist on the upper register. Normally you rarely hear the very high notes of the baritone ukuelel, but this arrangement makes use almost the whole range of it. The only thing I think it can be better is that I probably should use less strumming on the upper register part, as the song itself does not fit that lousy arrangement that well. But yeah you never really know how it sounds before you actually record the whole song. Anyway enjoy and Merry Christmas!!

Saturday, December 5, 2015

PSY's newest song "DADDY" for Melodica -- How to play continuous, fast notes

FINALLY, I got Suzuki Hammond 44 melodica!!
This melodica is a very nice instrument. First of all, it has 44 keys instead of regular 37 keys melodica, which gives me more freedom of music arrangements. The sound of it is great, but very different from the Wood Mylodica, another great sounding melodica. The Hammond 44 sounds like some brass instrument, while the Wood Mylodica has a more mellow, gentle sound like woodwind.

As you may know, PSY, the original singer of the world famous song "Gangnam Style", has a new song released called "DADDY" about a week ago. This time I would use this song to test the Hammond 44. The result is very nice, and it's funny that this song sounds very much like horse racing tunes when it is played on this melodica. The whole arrangement to me sounds like it is played by a brass ensemble :)

This song is actually a very hard song for melodica. As you may notice, this song is very fast, a lot of continous notes, and almost no place to sneak in breath. In order to play fast continuous notes in melodica nicely, normally you DON'T keep repeating pressing the keys on the melody part like how you do on piano. If the continous notes are not too fast, you can use breath to blow several times to get the continous notes. If they are too fast, then you need to use your tongue to get the fast notes. I would say I am quite good with using breath, but I still need to work more on the tongue technique.

Anyway, enjoy and see you next week!!

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Japanese Opera

Well today I would talk about something other than melodica :)
As I mentioned before and you may know, my primary instrument is actually vocal, and I am a classically trained baritone singer.
You may also remember that I went to Japan for vacation in July. I noticed that the prices of the melodicas were surprisingly cheap that I wanted to buy one right the way. But one thing I did not mention was that, due to the fact that Japan IS such a nice place, I decided that I HAVE TO master their language, no matter how long it takes. This is also a promise to myself that nothing can stop me if I really want something.

Here is the first step of achieving my goal: to sing Japanese Opera.
The "Japanese Opera" I said is not something traditional thing like Chinese Opera, it is the European Opera singing but in the language of Japanese. Japanese is the 8th language I learn how to sing, of course I still made some mistakes in pronouciation, but I gotta say my progress is pretty good, especially in the case of self-learning.

Actually the song I am going to show you today is not really from an "Opera", but it is a song written in that kind of music style. The name of the song is called 美しき光の翼 (Beautiful Wings of Light). It is a song in the anime "GaoGaiGar", and it is a theme song of a character in the anime called "King J-Der". You can also hear the instrumental of this song in the video game "super robot wars". It is a REAL bad ass song. I remember I read a youtuber comment about this song:

"When the character is awesome, they bring rock music; when the character is beyond awesome, they bring opera singer."

Here is the audio of some parts of this song. Sorry I don't have a full track of this song, and my recording devices/audio mixing technique are not good, so the quality of the audio is not that great. But you probably can tell how BAD ASS this song is.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Thinking of getting Suzuki Hammond 44 :)

Today, we would talk a little bit about one of the top tier melodica -- Suzuki Hammond 44.

I remember when I first decided to upgrade my melodica, I was thinking about getting the Wood Mylodica, or Suzuki Hammond 44. I ended up choosing Wood Mylodica because I like the sound of the Wood Mylodica better. But in reality, Suzuki Hammond 44 has some advantages that you won't find in ANY melodicas out there:

1. It is the only melodica that has 44 keys (Mylodica has 37 keys).
2. It is the only melodica that has strap buttons.
3. It is the only melodica that has built-in pick up.

Plus the sound is the best out of all melodicas there besides Wood Mylodica.

I love my Wood Mylodica a lot, but right now it starts to get out of tune, I probably have to change the reed board to fix it because the problem is quite serious. But the reed board is only available in the US, and I am out of country right now. Hence I am thinking of getting a Suzuki Hammond 44 for substitution, and I would fix the Mylodica once I get back to the US. Then I would have TWO top tier melodicas HAHAHA :) Suzuki Hammond 44 also has one advantage over Wood Mylodica is that it has a much better moisture removal system (hence it is much harder to get out of tune).

Anyway, here attached a video of how the Suzuki Hammond 44 sounds. You can compare it to my video of playing the Wood Mylodica to hear the difference, then YOU will be the judge to decide which one sounds better for YOU!!

P.S. This is a famous Russian folk song called "Dark Eyes", and you probably can tell this player is BEYOND AWESOME!!!!

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Happy Birthday to Me (featuring Bass Melodica)

Hi all!!
As the title said, today is actually my birthday YEAH!! I hope you guys having a great time reading my articles and/or watching my videos. And more importantly, get a melodica NOW and start learn playing it :)
Anyway since I haven't recorded playing the "Saxophone Melodica" for a while, this time I would arrange and record the Happy Birthday song on the "Saxophone Melodica". This melodica is REALLY hard to play with melody and accopaniment together, it just takes way too much air to get the sound out. But good that I could actually play it. Hope you guys like it!!

Saturday, October 31, 2015

"From Beijing with Love" (國產凌凌漆) Melodica Solo and Ukulele Solo

Recently me and my friends talk about a classic Hong Kong movie "From Beijing with Love" (國產凌凌漆), it is actually a comedy by Stephen Chow that borrows the image of 007, but the music in that movie is actually quite serious and dark, as the movie itself is very full of black humor regarding to the mainland Chinese culture and civilization.

The name of the song I recorded is called 徘徊 (wandering). I personally think the song really portraits the situation in China. It is true that China's situation is getting much better and stronger compare to the past, but there are still a lot of critical problems going on, as if the country is still wandering around, not realizing what it needs to be done to make it a better place. As a Chinese myself, I really hope that there will be less and less problems as time goes by. Listening to this song always remind me that I have to always keep thinking and doing something that makes the world a better place as well. For my case, music education and performance are the things I can give my very best to make the world a better place, and this field needs me the most compare to other fields.

There are mainly two versions of it in the movie, one is for piano, one is for saxophone. I arranged two versions as well, one is for melodica solo, one is for ukulele solo, in one video. The melodica version sounds very close to the original saxophone version (as they are both wind instruments), except I put BOTH the melody and accompaniment in one instrument, which you can't do that by a saxophone. Ukulele is also one of the many instruments that I play, and I made some Chinese Pipa like technique on this ukulele version of the song, hence it sounds quite different from all the two original versions and my melodica version.

Anyway, enjoy and see you next week :)

Saturday, October 24, 2015

GREAT melodica player - Pianonymous

As I mentioned before, you can find EVERYTHING that you won't expect from melodica playing from this site, and that also means this site would feature some of the very best melodica players I have ever heard (and probably YOU have ever heard as well). This time I would introduce a young female melodica player - Pianonymous.

I remember I discovered her youtube channel by hearing her playing a song composed by a Japanese violinist Taro Hakase. For those who don't know who Taro Hakase is, he is the featured violinist in Celine Dion's song "To Love You More", you guys can go watch Celine Dion live video then you know who he is. Pianonymous' playing of his song is just SPLENDID. You could click the video I post this time and YOU will be the judge to decide if I am telling you the truth or bragging :) (P.S. Plus she is cute isn't she?)

She also has a website which talks about melodica techniques, music styles, maintenance, accessories, etc. What a pity is that I almost have no idea what she is talking about as I don't know Japanese except the 50 characters LOL (that's why I could sing in Japanese but not speak in Japanese). I saw one of her post talked about installing a strap on Suzuki M-37 melodica, as I really need to install one so I can play that melodica standing up and double-handed for better breath control. I once asked her more detail about that in facebook, but again what a pity is that there is no English version of that post available. So maybe in future I successfully learn Japanese then I could understand what she means haha. By the way, she is a member of Tokyo Melodica Orchestra.

Anyway this is her site:
And her facebook:

I "liked" her page already, if you don't do what I do, you are an idiot LOL.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

I got a "like" from the manufacturer of Wood "Mylodica"!!

Well this happens last week when I posted my video of playing a song from the anime "Naruto" on Wood "Mylodica" on my melodica facebook page:

You can see I got "16 people reached" within a really short time, and a "like" from somebody. That's the manufacturer of "Mylodica" - Mr. David Hegman!! I remembered when I first try out the melodica, I bought a $25 toy sounding one. At that moment I was like, "hmmm...yeah I could play it well, but the sound was just not good, if there is one melodica that uses wood as the resonator instead of plastic, it would sound MUCH better." Then I found out there is one wood melodica called "Mylodica" available. That was when I decided to get the wood melodica and I am glad I got one. The "Mylodica" is definitely hands down the BEST melodica I have ever heard. Anyway here is the video of playing the Naruto song, you can tell how good it sounds :)

Again BIG THANKS to the manufacturer of the "Mylodica" - Mr. David Hegman. Without your hard work and creativity, there is no way I would enjoy playing melodica so much.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

More about Suzuki M-37 Melodica

It is important to get a good quality instrument if you want to learn playing an instrument well. But you know, good quality can be really expensive. Today I would show you a decent quality melodica that costs very cheap (I got a used one for around $30 US), but you can actually do a lot of great stuff on this melodica, and it is good enough for long term usage.

First, this melodica is made in Japan, hence it sounds WAY better (a.k.a. the tone has way more richness and depth) than those cheaply made ones that are made in China. It also takes very little air to produce the sound, that makes the playing a lot easier (while those bad quality ones take significantly more air to play). And it has a moisture extraction button that helps protecting the reeds so that it does not get out of tune easily.

In fact I had a post talked about this melodica before. But this time I have a video that shows more songs featured on this melodica. As always, action speaks more the words :)

Song List:
1. Dragon Ball Z "Cha-La Head Cha-La".
2. Final Fantasy X Battle Theme Complete version.
3. Rockman 2 "Dr. Wily Theme".

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Tokyo Melodica Orchestra

Today I would introduce a music group - Tokyo Melodica Orchestra.
As you may know, the "piano keyboard" design of the melodica nowadays is actually from Japan. Hence quite a lot of the very best melodica players are from Japan.

Tokyo Melodica Orchestra is definitely one of the very best melodica group I have ever heard.
I would actually call this group as "Melodica Barbershop" rather than "Melodica Orchestra" though, as they are not a group that has like 30 to 50 members, they are actually 4 players, two playing the alto, one plays the bass and one plays the lead. So it is basically the same as "barbershop music".

Anyway here is a video of them playing Gershwin's "Rhapsody in Blue", enjoy!!

Saturday, September 26, 2015


Today let's talk about an instrument that I played oher than melodica: Harmonium.
What is an Harmonium? First of all, the word looks like "Harmonica" but it looks nothing like Harmonica. In fact, it looks more like an accordion.

Harmonium originally is a free-reed organ instrument, a substitute of the church pipe organ. (P.S. Melodica, Harmonica, and Accordion are also free-reed instruments, that's why they all sound a bit similar). When it was introduced into India, they change the design of it to make it portable, and fits the need of the Indian Classical Music. You play it by sitting on the ground, which fits the Indian culture.

The Indian Classical Music works a bit different than Western Classical Music. They don't have any chord progressions at all, most of the songs have a "drone" bass line goes forever, then you improvise the melody in different kinds of scales on top of the drone, and/or add some beats on it (mostly you use Tabla, an Indian drum). Hence playing harmonium well actually means you improvise music well. In other words, learning to play harmonium in fact does not require a lot of techincal skill like playing violin or trumpet, but you need to THINK and FEEL a lot in the learning process, and that could be a lot of fun and very rewarding.

Anyway the video above is my playing of it. I just got a new harmonium, trying to test it by improvising some Indian style melodies. Hope you guys like it.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Rockman 2 (Mega Man 2) Dr. Wily Theme!!

Well last week I mentioned that I made a piano arrangement for the song "Dr. Wily's Theme" from the classic NES game "Rockman 2" (also known as Mega Man 2). Now I also made a melodica arrangement for the song!! Here I post both versions in one video, hope you guys like it and see you guys next week :)

P.S. This time I used Suzuki M-37 instead of Mylodica to record this song.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

The art of melodica playing

Well actually today I am going to post three songs that I have recorded before, but I combine them into one video. Here is the song list:

1. Street Fighter 2 Vega's Theme variation.
2. Dragon Ball Z battle music (Japanese version of anime, and featuring Suzuki-24 Bass Melodica).
3. Dragon Ball GT theme song.

The recording quality of these three songs are better than my other videos as I used a condenser mic to record them instead of using computer mic. Here is the description I wrote in this video:

"I made this video because many people regard the melodica as merely a toy instrument, or don't even know what that is. Therefore, I post three songs here to show what a melodica can actually do.

First, the melodica I am using is a wood one called Mylodica, which is custom made by sound electra, hence it sounds WAY better than those plastic ones out there. Another thing is that the reason people think the sound of a melodica is not that great is because most people DO NOT know how to manage breath control. Melodica sounds flat, dull, boring without vibrato. You HAVE TO play it with vibrato to make it sound expressive and beautiful, just like how people play violin or sing. The strap I put on allows me to play it with two hands so that it is capable of playing in the style similar to accordion, and play it standing up in order to maximize the breath control. "

Anyway Enjoy and LISTEN what a melodica can do!!
P.S. Recently I made a piano arrangement of "Rockman 2 Dr. Wily Castle" theme, I am thinking of arranging a melodica version too. Maybe would record it within these several weeks :)

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Other than melodica

Well this time we would talk something other than melodica :)
As you guys may know, I actually play a lot of instruments, melodica is just one of them.
This time I would show you one of the other that I play, and you don't see this often -- Baritone Ukulele.

What is a baritone ukulele? It is actually a bigger size ukulele that has different tunings than standard ukulele. In fact the tuning of a baritone ukulele is the same as the top 4 strings of a guitar. So you can imagine it as a 4 string guitar. It sounds almost like a guitar, but its timbre is still "ukulele timbre" rather than "guitar timbre". Anyway here are some of my playings of the baritone ukulele, enjoy!!

P.S. The first video is a good quality solid mahagony uke made in Romania hence it has very rich and full tone even without amp; the second video is a made in China cheaply made plywood uke, but I put an amp on it to alternate the sound a bit.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

The best melodica/piano duet!!

Well today I would show you THE BEST melodica/piano duet I have ever heard. Here is the video:
The song is a variation of a Japanese folk song called "Tsuki no Sabaku" (Desert under the moon). The melodica player's name is Masa Matsuda, he is one of the biggest in melodica players circle in Japan. Just listen to this recording and you will know why!! The pianist is also one of the best I have heard. In fact, the main melody of this song is played on the piano in this recording, the melodica plays the chords and improvisation :) Anyway Enjoy. 

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Japanese youtube channel and 荒城の月

Well, I just created a new youtube channel which features Japanese songs arranged for melodica solo. All titles will be in Japanese as well:

Now there are four songs posted in that channel, three of them are published in my English youtube channel, the remaining one is a traditional Japanese song called "荒城の月" (The moon of the ruined castle). It has a very authentic "Japanese tune", the melody is very simple but it really captures the soul of Japanese traditional music. Here I arranged it for melodica solo and I hope I do it justice :)

P.S. In Japan, the melodica is called 鍵盤ハーモニカ (keyboard harmonica), I personally think this name describes the instrument very well. As the melodica really sounds quite similar to harmonica, except you play it like a keyboard.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Back from Japan Trip

Hey guys, sorry I did not update the blog last two weeks as I was in Japan.
The trip was SO MUCH fun, nice place, AWESOME food, etc.

But the main point today is what I found out about melodica in Japan :)
In fact, the trip was so packed that I did not have much time to look for musical instruments, but still, I found out that the price of melodicas are ridiculously cheap in Japan. Suzuki M37C and Hohner superforce 37 only cost like 7500 yen (around $472.5 HKD = $60.58 USD), Suzuki pro-37V2 cost ONLY 20800 yen (around $1310.4 HKD = $168 USD)!!! I could not find Suzuki Hammond 44 in store though, but I read from one of the official site from a Japanese instrument store that it costs around 40000 yen (around $2520 HKD = $323 USD). These prices are even cheaper than what you can see in amazon and ebay, and the most important thing is that these models I mentioned are all MADE IN JAPAN, not those made in China toy looking crappy melodicas.

When I saw the Suzuki pro-37V2, I really wanted to buy it right the way, as my wood mylodica starts to get out of tune, I may have to send it back to the US to tune it and it costs quite a lot of money, hence I am considering a good quality backup melodica and I would tune my melodica when I go to US for trip. But I ended up did not buy it, as I think more about it, I would get Hammond 44 once and for all if I finally decide I need one for backup. Hammond 44 has 44 keys and internal mic, which blows pro-37V2 out of the water right the way. I was thinking of whether I should get Mylodica or Hammond 44 when I first upgraded my melodica, I ended up choosing Mylodica as it has better sound than Hammond 44, even though Mylodica has only 37 keys and Hammond has 44 keys.

Anyway, this is my melodica adventure in Japan :)  I would also repost one of the most awesome melodica arrangement I have ever made -- Final Fantasy X battle music arranged for melodica solo.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Melodica Madness 2 -- Classical Pianist Suguru Ito

Here is another one of the best melodica players I have ever heard -- Suguru Ito.
He is in fact a classical pianist, hence the way he plays resembles a lot of classical music interpretation, and you can definitely tell by how his fingering of playing the melodica. Not only his fingering is out of the world, his breath control and vibrato also shows how well he expresses his music. You can definitely call this as "melodica madness" :) Anyway enjoy!!

P.S. He uses Yamaha Pianica, which is the same grade as Suzuki M-37 (about $100 US). This proves further how good he is as a musician.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Naruto "Sadness and Sorrow" for Melodica Solo

Here comes the WOOD mylodica again!!
Well, I have heard this theme song when I watched the anime "Naruto" long time ago. One day I heard this song again, I was like "hmmm maybe I can arrange this song for melodica solo, as this song has A LOT of expressive sustain notes". And here it is :)

This time I use a relatively simple arrangement compare to the songs that I arranged in the past. I personally really like how it comes up with. Wish I had time to install a better microphone for this computer though, it would sound so much better with a better microphone. Anyway how you like it?

Saturday, June 13, 2015

A decent level melodica - Suzuki M37

Well, speaking to that, I think the one that I use mostly -- Sound Electra Wood Mylodica, is the best melodica I have ever heard. But I think Mylodica is a bit too expensive for a beginner who wants to try out if melodica is something he/she wants to play (even though it is still only $300 US dollar, relatively still pretty cheap for an instrument). But you definitely don't want those that look like toys, they sound bad and it takes a lot of air to play them, and you probably don't want Hohner melodica which is made in China nowadays (in the past they were made in Germany and they sounded good). Hence I tried out one that is made in Japan, and you can get it under $100 US dollar, which is Suzuki M-37. I bid a used one for around $32 US dollar though :P

It comes out that the tone of course is no match compare to Mylodica, but it is good for the price, and a great one to try it out. I arranged the Dragon Ball Z main them "Cha-la Head Cha-la" on Suzuki M-37. This also proves that YOU can also play great music with such a cheap price, and it is YOU, not the instrument itself to make an instrument sounds good.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

The power of the bass melodica (a.k.a. saxophone melodica) -- filling a bass line

Well, I have posted two videos of me playing the bass melodica before. (If you don't remember, I played "stand by me" and an improvisation of "fur elise" on my bass melodica). But in fact, the bass melodica is capable of more than that.

Since the standard melodica does not really have low notes, the purpose of the bass melodica is to fill up the bass line of a song. Let me give you one example, here is a Dragon Ball Z song I played for standard melodica solo:
It sounds pretty nice isn't it? But wait till you hear the version WITH bass melodica:

Sounds like the song got more "balls" hence more powerful isn't it? Well the purpose of bass melodica is like the bass guitar in a band. It really boost up the power of the song with the bass line. So with a bass melodica, you can actually form a melodica band just like regular band :)

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Street Fighter "Vega's Theme" on melodica!!

Well this is one of my older recordings, but since I used a condenser mic, the recording quality is pretty good. I cut out quite some ornaments from the original melody in order to show the legato line of playing the melodica more, but you can definitely recognize the song if you have heard it before :)

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Melodica Madness

Well you guys have heard me playing the melodica already, let me introduce some of the really best melodica players I have heard so far.

I don't know if I have mentioned this before, I personally think almost all of the best melodica players I have heard are from Japan. The way I hold my melodica is also a Japanese way of playing it, I never saw anybody who is not Japanese use that posture.

Here is one of the really best I have heard. Ena Yoshida playing the Russian folk song "Dark Eyes". You will know why my title is "melodica madness" after you watch THIS :)

Friday, May 15, 2015

More about vibrato on melodica

Hi there :) Sorry I did not update the blog last week as my schedule was busier than I expected. But now things have been settled and it would be back to routine (update on every Saturday).

Last time we talked about the importance of vibrato on melodica, and how it changes the sound and expression of melodica playing. But you may think of one more thing, HOW do you perform vibrato on melodica?

First, I have to let you guys know that I am a classically trained baritone singer. The video on the right is how my singing voice sounds like:

You may wonder: why hearing my voice is relevant to how vibrato on melodica is created? The secret is by applying a breath control technique called appoggio. This is in fact an opera singing technique to control the breath flow through the vocal cord in order to maintain a "natural vibrato", and to maximize the volume of the vocal tract to get the deeper, darker, richer, bigger, yet ringing vocal sound. Appoggio can only be achieved through the control of the intercostal muscles, which control the movement of the diaphargm. As I apply appoggio both on my singing and my melodica playing, you may hear the tonal similarity on my schubert lied singing and my dragon ball GT song melodica playing (i.e. both have very rich, dynamic, expressive tone, and natural vibrato that makes the melodic lines flow smoothly). The melodica itself works just like a human vocal cord.

However, there is still a slight difference between the breath control on singing and melodica. On singing, you only have to control the air flow by appoggio and let the air goes like a stream. But on melodica, say if you note can sustain 10 vibrations, you actually have to blow 10 times BY USING appoggio to create a natural vibrato. Hence as I said, it could take years of training to sound great on playing melodica; and the same case as opera singing, the ideal is using appoggio to keep your larynx low when playing melodica as it gives the least tension for the throat and gives a more resonant sound. Most of the people who do vibrato on melodica are using their throat, which to me sounds quite unnatural and not very smooth/expressive.

Anyway hope my information helps and see you guys next Saturday :)

Monday, April 27, 2015

Vibrato on Melodica

Today we would talk about one of the most important on playing the melodica: Vibrato.

First of all, what is a vibrato? Well, imagine if you hear a person holds a note while singing, you noramlly don't hear that person just holds that note straight, you hear some "vibrations" in his/her voice while he/she sings. Those vibrations are what we called "vibrato".

For those who sings or plays instruments that sustain notes, you all know that vibrato makes the tone of the voice/instrument richer and more expressive. That's the same case for melodica as melodica is an instrument that sustain notes; plus since melodica mostly is cheaply made, the tone of melodica simply sounds like a toy without vibrato. BUT, one of the coolest thing is that melodica is the ONLY sustain & vibrato instrument in the world that can play more than two notes at the same time. Hence, melodica has an unfair advantage over all instruments as you can play one man band like piano, AND obtain the expressiveness like violins or saxophones AT THE SAME TIME. Next time we would talk more about how to apply vibrato on melodica, it can take years of training to get a nice vibrato on melodica.

Anyway, here is me playing a slow song using a melodica with vibrato, you can hear how expressive the tone can be when you apply vibrato. The song is the main theme song of "Dragon Ball GT". I don't know if you guys know it or not, this theme song is actually a very romantic love song if you know the lyrics.
P.S. This weekend I am going to be really busy hence I won't update this week. Start from next week it would be updated weekly on Saturday again :)

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Fur Elise

Sorry I did not update as I was really busy these days :)
Anyway, you know, everybody has heard the song "Fur Elise" before. It is one of the most well known classical piece composed by Beethoven for piano. This time I would do an experimental improvisation for this piece on the "saxophone melodica". Sure this improv does not sound like the original piece anymore, but you can hear how expressive and sexy the "saxophone melodica" can be from this recording. The vibrato really makes the instrument sing and take it to a different level in my opinion.
Hope you guys like this experimental improv and see you guys next time.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Saxophone Melodica

What is a saxophone melodica?

Well actually it is a nickname that I named for my bass melodica. A bass melodica is a melodica that has a range from F2 to E4, and the tone is a bit deeper than a standard melodica. It DOES sound like a baritone saxophone in my opinion. It is a very rare instrument, and as I know there are only two models available: suzuki B-24 and hammond BB. Here is my playing of "stand by me" using a bass melodica, and you would be the judge to see if it sounds like a baritone saxophone.
Interesting sound isn't it? It looks small but in fact it is REALLY HARD to play this melodica. It takes way more air than the standard melodica to get the sound. This arrangement is relatively simple compare to my final fantasy X and dragon ball song, but I would say I almost pushed this instrument to its limit in order to play melody and rhythm together. Melodica is not an instrument meant to play melody and rhythm together like a piano anyway.

Next time it would be an experimental improvisation for Beethoven's classic "Fur Elise" on the bass melodica :) See you next time. 

Saturday, April 4, 2015

FINAL FANTASY X battle theme arranged for melodica SOLO!!

I just wrote an arrangement for the battle theme song of the video game "Final Fantasy X" for melodica solo this week. This still needs some modification as I may have remembered some part of the melody wrong (and I would re-record it once I receive a better microphone), but one can definitely recognize the song if you have heard the original. This also shows that melodica is a REALLY BAD ASS instrument, who can imagine a 37-note wind instrument can handle THIS kind of song? Anyway ENJOY :)

Saturday, March 28, 2015

More info on melodicas!!

First of all, could you guys what melodica(s) I used for the youtube video song I posted last week? Here is the answer:

I used the wood melodica on the left for the upper voices, and the red bass melodica for the bass line.
If you got them right, congratulations!!! *BIG HUG*

I would now introduce these three melodicas, let me post the picture one more time here.

The wood one on the left is the standard melodica, or some people called "alto melodica". It has a superior sound that most of the melodicas out there because it is made by wood. The resonance you get from the wood is unrivalled. The red one is a bass melodica, the whole range of the instrument is the extension of the lowest note of the standard melodica. The green one is a keyboard recorder, basically it is a recorder but just in keyboard structure.

In fact, the mechanism of the green one is not the same as the other two. The other two I would call them a "free-reed" instrument, which means there are a bunch of reeds inside, you blow the air through the reed to get the sound (which is the same mechanism as harmonica and accordion). The green one has a bunch of pipes inside the instrument, you can simply imagine there are a bunch of recorders inside the instrument, and each note has different pipe length. So basically the green one is not really a "melodica" as the technique of playing it would be different too.

If you are interested in how it sounds, here it is:

I personally called these three instruments I have as: accordion melodica, saxophone melodica, recorder melodica. You would know why I called them that way later :)

P.S. My cousin says my dragon ball Z battle theme arrangement sounds very "French", I don't know if you guys agree or not LOL. Anyway here I post one of my favorite melodica players, listen to him then you may know why the melodica itself sounds very "French", or I should say it sounds very accordion style.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

What is a melodica?

First of all, many people don’t even know what a melodica is.

The melodica is a wind instrument that was invented in 1945 in Germany, it was first in button shape until the Japanese changed it into piano keyboard shape in 1960’s and made it famous.

Most of them are made by plastic hence very cheap in prices. Hence it is mainly used for music education for children in Japan and in some other Asian countries. Having such a short history for a musical instrument, this is why it is unknown in America, no classical music pieces were written for melodica, and the best melodica players in the world are all in Japan.

Here is one of my recordings playing a Dragon Ball Z battle theme using melodica. You can hear how it sounds like. To me, it sounds somewhere between an accordion and a harmonica.

And here are my collection of melodicas, they look awesome and SOUND awesome aren't they?
Here is your homework this time: which melodica(s) I used for my recording above? I would tell you guys next time :)