Posted by . on May 27, 2002 at 19:12:50:
In Reply to: Re: I am Just beginning posted by sarah on May 20, 2002 at 02:59:54:
I can tell you a few things. For a start, there are three main sorts of harmonicas: tremolo, diatonic and chromatic. The most popular of these three is the diatonic. This one is used a lot in rock, folk and blues songs. People like Bob Dylan, Billy Joel, Steven Tyler... use this kind.
Another very important concept is that diatonic harmonicas, unlike guitars or pianos, come in different keys. You can have a key of C harmonica, a key of G harmonica, a key of D harmonica,...You can have a total of 12 major keys. Despite differences in keys, all these harmonicas play exactly the same, the only difference is that some will sound higher or lower. To learn to play, only one harmonica is necessary; but to play in a group it is a must for you to have harmonicas in different keys. It usually says the key of the harmonica on the its upper surface on the right.
Let's take some famous songs featuring the harmonica: the harmonica in ' Pianoman’ was a key of C harmonica; the harmonica in 'Love Me Do' was also a key of C harmonica; the harmonica used in 'Sara' was a key of G harmonica. If you want to copy these harmonica solos, the easiest and most accessible way of doing it is by knowing the key of harmonica they were originally done in and trying to work the notes out using the same harp key (harmonica players often refer to harmonicas as 'harps'). Really common keys are key of C, key of A, key of D and key of G.
So where are the notes? Follow these instructions in order: (btw, ‘draw’ is synonymous with 'suck'):
-blow into hole 4
-draw from hole 4
-blow into hole 5
-draw from hole 5
-blow into hole 6
-draw from hole 6
-draw from hole 7
-blow from hole 7
On a key of C harmonica, this will give you a complete C major scale. If you remember this scale it will be a good start.
The diatonic harmonica is also a very useful chordal instrument. Here are a few chords you can do:
-blow into holes 1, 2 and 3(at the same time): this will give you a C major chord.
-draw from holes 1, 2 and 3: this will give you a G major chord.
-draw from holes 2, 3, 4 and 5: this will give you a G7 chord.
-draw from holes 4, 5 and 6: this will give you an A minor chord.
Hold your harmonica in your left hand, between your thumb and forefinger. Your thumb goes on the bottom and your forefinger on top. Good luck.
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