(Note: The purpose of this post is not to teach about five hole octaves. It’s simply a tip for those already starting to use them in their playing.) Learning to switch between four five hole octaves can be a pain. Something I found useful is learning major scale folk melodies in the upper register and… Continue reading 5 Hole Octaves – Practice Tip
We’ve been working this traditional gospel tune up as a High Hollers number but I think it works quite well as a solo harmonica piece too. I was inspired to record this after watching TJ and the Suitcase perform a rousing version last night at Al’s Dime Bar in Bradford.
This morning I’ve rebuilt an old Special 20 of mine for a student. A multitude of issues can be solved by simply disassembling, cleaning and screwing back together. Gunk on the reeds or in the tight gap between the side of the reed and the reed slot is common. The method I use is to… Continue reading Reviving Old Harmonicas
Grant Dermody is absolutely one of my favourite living harmonica players and – by all accounts – fine gentleman.
I’ve watched this clip with Frank Fotusky on guitar more times than I care to remember and it never fails to impress. Grant’s skill with texture, rhythm, space and sensitive accompaniment is admirable.
Last time we defined the major scale and discussed how it’s built. Now we’re going to add another way of thinking about and referring to notes in the scale. Take for example the G major scale. Remember that the major scale is built using notes from the chromatic scale in this sequence: whole-tone, whole-tone, semi-tone,… Continue reading Music Theory for Harmonica Players Part 4 – Scale Degrees
There’s a great article form Richard Sleigh in the latest issue of Harmonica World magazine on the music notation used by David Barrett in his teaching material at bluesharmonica.com. I completely agree with the sentiment. At first I was reluctant too. The whole thing appears arcane and unappealing but a little bit of effort pays… Continue reading The Musical Cartography of David Barrett
Last time we looked at the chromatic scale and learned that this scale contains all the notes available. Here’s the piano keyboard again for reference. Remember the distance between one note and the next (or one piano key and the next) is called a semi-tone, and that a distance of two semi-tones is called a… Continue reading Music Theory For Harmonica Players Part 3 – The Major Scale
Music theory is intimidating for a lot of new players but that’s usually down to misconceptions. Although it can appear arcane, stuffy and overly formalised that needn’t be the case. In this series of posts I’ll attempt to present the essential information in a clear and straightforward way and demonstrate how the application of even… Continue reading Music Theory for Harmonica Players Part 1 – Introduction