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How to play harmonica

How do I play harmonica?

5219 day(s) ago

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There are two types of harmonica: chromatic and diatonic. A chromatic harmonica has a hole for each whole note of the scale, and a button that changes the holes to half-tones (i.e. B becomes B flat.) A diatonic harmonica is chord-based, with six notes arranged in a chord, plus a seventh hole that plays the same note as the first.

When playing, your mouth should make a tight seal around the harmonica. Your lips should be touching the numbers on the instrument's case.

You will need to control the size of your airway to play individual notes. The preferred method is to control the space using your tongue as shown in the video. If you can't do this, don't worry: about 30% of the population can't move their tongues this way. You can also control the airway by puckering your lips. For a single note, the hole you create should be about the size of a pencil eraser.

Like guitars, harmonicas have their own tabulature. Below the notes in the musical staff are numbers indicating which hole you breath through; matching numbers are written above the holes on the harmonica. A different note is played in each hole depending on whether you blow (exhale) or draw (inhale.) Harmonica tabs use up arrows or plus signs to show when you need to blow, and down arrows or minus signs to show when you need to draw.

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