Music Theory for Harmonica Players

Music Theory for Harmonica Players Part 1 – Introduction

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

Music Theory for Harmonica Players

Music Theory for Harmonica Players Part 2 – The Chromatic Scale

Okay then. First things first. Music, as you already know I’m sure, is made up of playing a series of notes. Notes organised together in a specific way are called a scale. Think Do-Re-Mi-Fi-So-La-Te-Do, that refers to a scale. In fact that’s a very important one that I’ll talk about in the next post. The… Continue reading Music Theory for Harmonica Players Part 2 – The Chromatic Scale

Music Theory for Harmonica Players

Music Theory For Harmonica Players Part 3 – The Major Scale

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 for Harmonica Players

Music Theory for Harmonica Players Part 4 – Scale Degrees

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

Music Theory for Harmonica Players

Music Theory for Harmonica Players Part 5 – Harmonica Note Layout: Major Scales

In previous posts we’ve looked at the major scale and how it’s built out of notes in the chromatic scale. We’ve also seen that we can refer to notes within scales using numbers called scale degrees. Now lets look at how all this relates to our harmonicas. Here’s the C Major scale again: Note name:    C… Continue reading Music Theory for Harmonica Players Part 5 – Harmonica Note Layout: Major Scales

Music Theory for Harmonica Players

Music Theory for Harmonica Players Part 6 – Position Playing

So far we’ve been looking at playing the major scale. We’ve been playing in the key of C on a C harmonica – exactly what a C harmonica was designed to do. (A quick aside. When discussing theory on this site or in my private lessons we always talk theory as if we’re playing a… Continue reading Music Theory for Harmonica Players Part 6 – Position Playing

Music Theory for Harmonica Players

Music Theory for Harmonica Players Part 7 – Position Playing, a Practical Demonstration

The last post in this series was an enormous information dump. This time we’re going to play a little and experience the difference between the positions in sound and feel. You’ll need harmonicas in G, C and Low F to play along. (Note: The exercise detailed here is stolen wholesale from David Barrett’s theory lessons… Continue reading Music Theory for Harmonica Players Part 7 – Position Playing, a Practical Demonstration

Music Theory for Harmonica Players · Playing Tips

Music Theory for Harmonica Players Part 8 – Position Playing, Finding the Right Position

In the last two posts on position playing we’ve looked at some of the positions we can play in. We examined the modes that are available in the first few positions and the effect this has on the sound and feel of a melody. This time we’re going to look at how to find the… Continue reading Music Theory for Harmonica Players Part 8 – Position Playing, Finding the Right Position

Music Theory for Harmonica Players

Music Theory for Harmonica Players Part 9 – Introduction to Chords

A chord is simply a certain number of notes played at the same time. Guitar players do this by strumming, piano players hold down several keys at the same time. On the harmonica we simply need to blow into a few holes. The chords played in a song represent it’s basic structure. Songs have a… Continue reading Music Theory for Harmonica Players Part 9 – Introduction to Chords

Music Theory for Harmonica Players

Music Theory for Harmonica Players Part 10 – 7th Chords

In the last post we looked at how to build a chord and how we can refer to them based on their scale degrees. We examined the G (I), C (IV) and D (V) chords. In this post we’re going to extend these chords and turn them into 7th chords. 7th chords are extremely important… Continue reading Music Theory for Harmonica Players Part 10 – 7th Chords