Cross harp vs Straight harp

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Posted by Marc on May 31, 2001 at 21:29:20:

In Reply to: Playing by ear,music or tabs. Help posted by Rich on May 31, 2001 at 18:06:39:

: I have been trying to figure out for a long time just what level harmonica player I am. I've never played in public. I stated on this sight before that I play straight harp and mostly the melodies of songs - pretty much any song I hear, I can play myself and also play along with the music. I keep reading of folks on this site looking for music or tabs. I really want to know if most harmonica players use music and tabs or do most listen to a song and play it by ear? I guess it may be 50/50. I've had a couple people tell me that playing melodies in straight harp is difficult. Is this true? I find cross harp difficult. I am wondering if I am like the guitar player who learned to play the instrument upside down because that's the way he /she first picked it up. I am also now looking for a music festival - probably Bluegrass - where folks just sit and play. I want to see if I can play with others. I love this sight.... Input appreciated.

Cross harp and straight harp are just different styles of playing, and they each have a unique sound. Straight harp is good for playing melodies. Cross harp involves more bent notes, and thus has a more "bluesy" sound. It may not be as good for melodies, since a number of scale tones are "missing". If you're playing melodies, straight harp is fine. If you like that bluesy sound, you'll want to learn crossharp.

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