The chromatic harmonica was invented by HOHNER more than 100 years ago. As the name suggests, it contains all natural notes plus all sharps and flats, thus enabling chromatic melodies. Basically the chromatic harmonica consists of two harmonicas, one in C and one in C#, separated from one another by the slide, which is operated by the button at the side.
When the slide is not used, the instrument is in C major and only the white notes on the piano keyboard are available.
Pressing the slide button brings the 2nd harmonica into play and every note is raised in pitch by one semitone, giving a C# major scale, which contains all notes found on the black keys of the piano as well as a couple of duplications. It‘s thus possible to play in all keys on one instrument.
The chromatic harmonica is used mainly in jazz and classical music, but can also be heard in pop, rock and folk as well as in the blues. It was popularized by artists such as Larry Adler, Toots Thielemans and Stevie Wonder, all of  whom play or played HOHNER instruments throughout their careers.

The word „chromatic“ refers to a scale containing all of the 12 tones found in each octave, corresponding to both the white and the black notes on the piano keyboard. The chromatic harmonica contains all of these notes, thus enabling music to be played in all 12 keys on one instrument.

Actually the „chrom“ consists of two diatonic harmonicas joined together, tuned a semitone apart, for example in C-major and C#-major. By pressing in the slide button, the player can switch from one to the other, raising the pitch of each note by one semitone. The tonal layout is the same as in the central octave of the Richter system and is simply repeated in each register, so anyone familiar with the major scale found in holes 4 - 7 on any Richter harp model will have no problems getting started on the chromatic. Note bending is not possible in the same way on the chrom however, as the individual reeds are fitted with windsaver valves. The valves close off the draw reed while exhaling and the blow reed while inhaling, thus preventing air loss, but also preventing the two reeds from operating in tandem as on the Richter harp.

The chromatic harmonica is sometimes used to great effect in blues, but its musical versatility also makes it suitable for countless other styles and it‘s more commonly heard playing jazz, classical music, pop, soul or standards. Accomplished players are able to play virtually any kind of music on this instrument.

The following pages offer a comprehensive survey of the HOHNER chromatic harmonica range, from starter models to professional concert instruments for the classical virtuoso.