Will A Harmonica Work Underwater

Will A Harmonica Work Underwater? Playing A Harmonica Underwater

Will a harmonica work underwater? What could happen to a harmonica if used underwater? Will a harmonica produce a sound underwater? What are the musical instruments that work and produce sound underwater? If you are eager to try your harmonica underwater, read the article first, as we are going to discuss the effects that could happen to your harmonica if soaked underwater.

Can A Harmonica Produce A Sound Underwater

Will a harmonica work underwater and produce a sound? Underwater, a traditional harmonica cannot produce sound. The flow of air across the reeds and through the chambers creates vibrations that generate sound in harmonicas. 

When submerged in water, however, the air required to produce sound is displaced by the water, preventing the harmonica from functioning properly. Because of the density of the water and the lack of air, the reeds cannot vibrate, making it impossible for a harmonica to produce sound underwater.

What Happens To A Harmonica Underwater

Will a harmonica work underwater? Like most wind instruments, a harmonica is not designed to function underwater. Water can cause significant damage to the harmonica’s delicate internal components and materials. Here’s why:

Moisture Damage

Water can easily damage the harmonica’s reeds, which are the thin metal strips responsible for producing sound. When the reeds are exposed to water, they can become corroded, bent, or even break, rendering the harmonica unplayable.

Airflow Disruption

Water disrupts the airflow required for harmonica sound production. When submerged, the water prevents air from passing through the reeds, effectively muting the sound.

Rusting And Corrosion

When exposed to water, the metal components of the harmonica, such as the reeds and reed plates, rust and corrode. Rust can obstruct reed movement, resulting in reduced or no sound output.

Material Swelling

If the harmonica’s wooden comb (the main body) is made of wood, exposure to water can cause the wood to swell. This swelling can cause the comb’s shape to change, causing the reeds to become misaligned and ineffective.

Cover Plate Deterioration

If the harmonica has metal cover plates, water exposure can cause rust and tarnish, affecting the harmonica’s appearance and functionality.

Mold And Mildew

Prolonged exposure to moisture can promote the growth of mold and mildew, especially in the areas between reeds and inside the harmonica body.


Both wooden and plastic harmonicas can warp when soaked, which can lead to air leakage and an inconsistent or muted sound.

Difficulty In Drying

Even after removing a harmonica from water, drying can be difficult due to the instrument’s tight spaces, which make air circulation difficult. Water that remains in the reeds and other components can cause further damage.

Keeping the harmonica dry and away from water is critical to preserving its integrity and playability. If a harmonica comes into contact with water by accident, it should be removed immediately, carefully dried with a soft cloth, and allowed to air dry in a well-ventilated area. Players should also avoid playing the harmonica with wet or moist lips because moisture can enter the instrument.

A harmonica will not work underwater due to the damage that water can cause to its delicate components, such as reeds, reed plates, and wooden comb. It is critical to keep the harmonica dry and protected from water exposure in order to ensure its longevity and optimal performance.

What Are The Musical Instruments That Work Underwater

While most musical instruments are not meant to be played in water, there are some specialized instruments and adaptations that can produce sound and be played in water. Here are some examples of underwater musical instruments:


Hydraulophones are musical instruments that function underwater by utilizing the unique properties of water. They comprise a water-filled chamber with different openings and submerged resonators. Water flow changes when a musician presses or interacts with the openings, causing hydrodynamic pressure fluctuations. These pressure changes cause acoustic waves to form within the water, resulting in sound. 

The pitch and timbre of the sound are altered by changing the shape and size of the openings and resonators. When players touch the water’s surface, they effectively “play” the instrument, resulting in an immersive and ethereal musical experience underwater.

Aquatic Drums

Aquatic drums, specifically designed for underwater use, generate sound by utilizing the properties of water. They are made of waterproof materials and have sealed air-filled chambers. When a musician strikes the surface of the drum underwater, the impact changes the pressure within the chamber. These pressure variations displace water, resulting in underwater sound waves. 

The drum’s design and materials allow vibrations to pass through the water efficiently, producing audible tones. The player can control the pitch and timbre by varying strike techniques and drumhead tension. Aquatic drums provide a unique and immersive musical experience, adding an ethereal touch to underwater performances.

Water Harp

A water harp works underwater by utilizing fluid dynamics principles. It is made up of strings that are attached to a frame and submerged in water. Vibrations travel through the water when a musician plucks or brushes the strings. These vibrations travel as pressure waves, resulting in sound. 

The water’s density and the strings’ tension determine the pitch and tone of the generated notes. Musicians can control the instrument’s sound by changing the depth of the water, the temperature, or the tension on the strings. The enchanting and ambient sounds of the water harp make it a captivating musical choice for underwater performances.

Glass Armonica

Because of its unique design and the properties of water, a glass armonica can function underwater. It comprises various-sized glass bowls or goblets mounted on a spindle. When the musician rubs their fingers against the glass rims, friction creates vibrations, which result in sound. 

When the musician’s fingers touch the glass surfaces, the glass armonica’s bowls continue to vibrate, and the water transmits these vibrations as pressure waves, resulting in audible tones. The mesmerizing sounds of the armonica are preserved underwater, creating an ethereal and immersive musical experience that adds an enchanting dimension to aquatic performances.

Seashell Horns

Underwater seashell horns work by utilizing the acoustic properties of the seashell. The natural curvature and shape of the shell serve as a resonating chamber. When someone blows air into the shell’s opening underwater, pressure fluctuations occur within the chamber. These pressure changes are transmitted as sound waves through the water, producing audible tones. 

The seashell’s shape and size determine the sound’s pitch and timbre. The surrounding water enhances the resonance and amplification of the horn’s sound underwater, resulting in a unique and captivating musical experience that resonates throughout the aquatic environment.


Because of its design and the properties of water, a didgeridoo can function underwater. The instrument, traditionally made from hollowed-out tree trunks, generates sound using a technique known as “circular breathing.” When submerged, the musician creates a continuous stream of air by breathing in through the nose and exhaling into the water through the mouth. 

This airflow causes pressure variations in the didgeridoo, which, when combined with the density of the water, produce underwater sound waves. The distinct sound reverberates through the water, creating an immersive and hypnotic musical experience that blends in with the aquatic environment.

So, will a harmonica work underwater? No, as it won’t produce a sound underwater. Because of the density of the water and the lack of air, the reeds cannot vibrate, making it impossible for a harmonica to produce sound underwater. It can also damage your harmonica if it is soaked for a long time.