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The Harp Reference: Throat Vibrato

Vibrato Vibrato and Tremolo Vibrato and tremolo and two terms that are often used, misused, and interchanged, and different people have different ideas about the distinctions and similarities between the two terms, techniques, and effects.  I have decided to take the essence of my definitions from the “Schaum Dictionary of Musical Terms”.  These are my definitions: Tremolo is pulsations […]

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The Harp Reference: Overblows

Overbends: Overblows and Overdraws A so-called overbend is a type of bend where the pitch that results is higher in pitch than the natural note of either reed in the hole, rather than lowering the pitch as with ordinary bends.  This is because the overbend technique actually causes the normally-sounding reed to choke while you’re playing so it doesn’t […]

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The Harp Reference: Embouchure

Embouchures The embouchure (ahm’ ba sure) is the method of applying the lips and tongue to the mouthpiece of a wind instrument, like the harmonica! If you are just learning to play I recommend you start with the Lip Block. 1) Lip Block – A variant of the pucker (see below), it’s also called lipping. Tilt the harp up at the back about […]

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The Harp Reference: Bending Tips

Bending Tips Bending is a basic diatonic harmonica playing technique used to produce notes not otherwise available in the basic tuning of the harp, and they are also used to provide various sliding-note effects.  Bends are, in large part, what give the diatonic harp its unique character, and are intimately related to the blues tradition. […]

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The Diatonic Harp Reference: Speed

SpeeD Speed, in music, means playing fast in a musical context.  Not just playing fast.  Playing in a musical context means staying coherent with the rhythmic, harmonic, and melodic content of the piece.  If you play fast but ignore the musical elements, then you are just playing fast, but not using speed.  Speed implies control.  A child can pick up the […]