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The Harp Reference: Note Layout

Harmonica notes layout – Many beginning players are confused about harmonica notes, particularly since some of them are missing. This articles shows the notes on a harmonica, and the reasoning behind their layout. Harmonica notes layout Chromatic Harmonica Note Layout NOTE POSITIONS The purpose of this article is to cover one and only one topic: […]

harmonica tone
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The Diatonic Harp Reference: Getting Good Tone

Tone is a frequent topic among harp players, but it is not a simple concept that is well defined.  Tone is the Holy Grail of harmonica.  It is related to the musical timbre of the instrument, but most often encompasses other playing elements as well. Tone is about Notes That sound: good. Notes That sound: Clean and full and […]

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The Harp Reference: Definitions

In order to learn about the harp, you have to know the language–harp specific terms and their meanings.  The following pictures show a disassembled diatonic harmonica with various parts indicated.  The bottom picture shows a reedplate with the reed side up. Diatonic Harmonica Parts  The following table presents some basic definitions used when discussing the harmonica […]

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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 […]

The Harp Reference: Jamming Over Chords
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The Harp Reference: Jamming Over Chords

Improvising Over Chords Improvising Over Chords I think of the notes of resolution, and emphasis, and relationships changing with the chord progression.  What I mean is, when soloing during a I chord, I’ll emphasize notes that are in the (e.g. blues) scale of the I chord–and more than that, I’ll lean a bit harder on the notes […]

Notation Convention for Tablature
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Notation Convention for Tablature

Tab is short for tablature and is the term you’ll usually see. Tab is a shortcut notation that indicates how to play which hole on the harmonica.  This is different from standard musical notation, which indicates what note to play, including its relative duration.  The difference is between how to play a hole and whatnote to play.  How to play a note on the harmonica is specified by several […]