Re: bending

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Posted by jazzharp on November 09, 2001 at 07:59:42:

In Reply to: bending posted by Jimmy on October 03, 2001 at 02:59:45:

: I have been playing the harmonica for about a month,
: and have mastered the single note and hand tremlo etc.
: My problem is that I can't bend notes at all, I tried
: tilting the harp upwards as suggested just to get started,
: and still nothing. I just can't figure it out...please help.
: I figure I must be missing something fundemental.

Just a note, I have always played the harp in a "tilted" position, and have found it the best way to instruct a beginner on how to get a single hole. After 30 years of teaching, it's a proven method. Try to blow air on the tip of your nose, and you will see that your bottom lip is primary in directing the airstream.

For bending, your tongue is the tool that squeezes the air, that creates the torque, that bends the note. But where, and how? Say the word wrong, or young, or tongue. When pronouncing the "ng" you will notice that the back of your tongue, top side, is pressing against the roof of your mouth where the hard pallete meets the soft pallete. This is where you squeeze the air to bend the note. Since you are doing this far back in your mouth, you have a much larger tonal cavity, which means richer tone.
Do this without the harp, and try to have a battle between your tongue and your lungs. The more torque, the deeper the bend. Good luck.

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