The harmonica is most commonly used in blues. There is another type of music, played all over the world, known as "fiddle tunes". Many people enjoy playing this music, which you can hear on my CD, "Black Mountain Harmonica". However, the harmonica is not often used for fiddle tunes, which are commonly are played on ... fiddles (violins), guitars, mandolins, banjos, flutes and other instruments as well. This next set of lessons will show how to play fiddle tunes on harmonica, so you can enjoy this music.
So far the music has been for a C harmonica. It is now time to play music in different keys. You will need three more harmonicas, one in the key of D, one in the key of G, and one in the key of A. If you cannot afford these new instruments, then do not worry. The lessons will also work with just a C harmonica.
From now on, each lesson will teach a tune, contained on a separate page from the lesson. The new tune for this lesson is called Big Sciota. You will need a harmonica in the key of G for this tune (or, as mentioned, a C harmonica can also be used).
The following lessons contain many new exercises. Some will be challenging. They are designed to help with the tunes, as well as developing other parts of your playing. All of the exercises are done on a C harmonica.
The exercise for this lesson is a "tag", often used as an ending. Listen to this
The notes are
8B 8D 7B 8B 8D 7B 7D 8D 7B
Now try the same exercise an octave lower, like this
The notes are
5B 4D 4B 5B 4D 4B 3D 4D 4B.
Now link these two exercises together. Play the first one, starting on the 8B, then play the notes
6D 6B 5D 5B 4D 4B 4D
then play the second exercise, beginning on the 5B, then play the notes
5B 6B 7D 7B 7D 7B 8D
Then begin the entire sequence again. It sounds like this
This sequence can be played over and over, without stopping, and is excellent practice for tune endings. Try it with this backing
The exercises in this new lesson series will help build harmonica "muscle memory", and increase your musical strength. You will need this extra strength for the tunes which follow.
Click here for the next lesson.