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How To Play the Harmonica - playing by ear

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Playing by Ear

If you can't read music, you can play the harmonica by ear.
It is practically the same thing as whistling or humming a tune.
Tunes for the plain harmonica almost always start on the notes
C, G or E. Try out which note seems most logical, and if it
doesn't work out try one of the others. Just imagine you are
singing and the tune will almost play itself if you have become
good and familiar with the harmonica s notes.

Harmonicas of Different Pitch and Size

If you have a harmonica that is not pitched in C, you can
play it just the same, without any difficulty. Look at Fig. 97
and you will see the musical names of each note written under
it-Do, Re, Mi, and so forth. Play the fourth note from the left
on a ten-hole harmonica and it will always be Do, the first
note of the scale in which the harmonica is tuned. Play right
up the scale, as explained above, and you will have all the notes
that correspond to those of the C scale on a harmonica pitched
or tuned in C.

Some harmonicas have more than ten holes and can, there-
fore, make more notes. Some have two full octaves and some
even run as high as three octaves. Each octave is usually played
exactly as we have described above the playing of the octave
on a plain ten-hole harmonica. On some of the larger har-
monicas, however, each tone hole makes only one note instead
of two.

If you have a harmonica with more than ten holes, all you
have to learn about it before starting to play is where to start
the scale. In other words, you must locate "Do/' the first note
in the scale. On the larger harmonicas "Do" is usually found
oxl the fifth or seventh hole, depending on the make of the
instrument. After you have located "Do" you play up and
down the scale in the same way as on a ten-hole instrument.


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