Learning to Play the Harmonica

For musicians who may be interested in learning to play this instrument, getting started with the harmonica is relatively simple. The first thing a new harmonica player needs is a basic harmonica. These instruments are fairly inexpensive for a beginner. However, the costs of harmonica will vary based on the quality of the construction and material used to create the instrument.

A beginning harmonica player will benefit from learning a few simple rules involving rhythm and melody to ensure quality playing. One of the most important aspects of learning to play this instrument involves holding it properly. Most players hold the harmonica with the left hand and place the instrument directly touching the lips in a sealed fashion. Practicing the breathing techniques while maintaining the proper lip position on the harmonica will ensure clear sounding chords when played. Over time, learning a few of the basic chords and recognizing their individual sounds will make it easier to play through an entire song. The beautiful sound of the harmonica comes directly through practice and dedication to this wonderful instrument.

Harmonica Tuning

The harmonica is tuned to during its fabrication to a set key. Musical chords are produced by blowing into the harmonica, as well as drawing away from the instrument. One of the main skills a novice player must learn are breathing techniques. The way in which the harmonica player blows into the instrument will dictate the tone and sound that emerges from it. Better control over breathing will lead to higher quality sound when playing chords and single notes.

Types of Harmonica

Specific types and styles of harmonicas will produce different sounds and tones. Size, shape, and material used in the construction contribute to the overall quality of sound. For a beginner just getting familiar with the harmonica, knowing a few of the basic types of harmonicas will be helpful in choosing the right one for the individual player.

Diatonic Harmonica

One of the most basic types of this instrument is the diatonic harmonica. The diatonic harmonica is probably the most versatile of all available harmonicas. The chromatic harmonica is designed to produce sharp and flat notes and chords by combining natural single notes with those of the chromatic scale. Jazz and funk genres of music seem to utilize this type of harmonica. Echo harmonicas, as well as tremolo harmonicas are used to give an effect of vibration to the sound of the instrument.