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memorizing sounds

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Mike H
Jan 29, 2010 9:18 AM GMT

i just started practicing puckering. but how do you guys remember which note plays what sound? i know it comes with experience... much like how a piano player remembers the keys, or how a guitar player could solo without looking at the frets while playing...i'm sure it's the same for harmonica as i get more practice in.

basically. each hole can produce 4 different sounds (due to the slider, and the blow/draw we perform)

but the scales ... like CEGC CEGC CEGC CEGC...

what are these scales for anyway? do they help you memorize teh sounds at all? is there a way to use them to better memorize the sounds that way? some sort of system?

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Jan 29, 2010 9:56 AM GMT
Boris Plotnikov Replied:

PRactice scales, take some ear training lessons it'll be very usefull.

I started playing harmonica from U-block (not the best way) then shortly play puckering and then I goes to all time tongue block. So when I start using overbends about 4 years ago it was hard for me to play with puckering. I practice scales and melody and now I can easily swith from puckering to tongue block. Anyway it's still easier for me to hit the wrong note with puckering than with tongue block.

Jan 29, 2010 2:59 PM GMT
BluEyes Replied:

Mike good luck in your journey. In my newbie knowledge, I believe and i may be wrong. But you can make a lot of different sounds on one hole depending on what comes out your diaphragm and how you use your tongue, and so on. If once in a while you play one note ( hole # 3 ) and just with the inhale and exhale see how many different sounds you can make.

To answer your other question in my opinion , it will take me time to remember the sound I make with each hole from harp key to harp key. I have seen a few Harmonica player and notice that at times they close their eyes when they play.

Scales, my wife keeps telling me this over and over, practice your scales. I don't hear you practicing your scales.

abner (BluEyes, going to Physical Therapy and the pain begins)

Jan 29, 2010 5:10 PM GMT
Boris Plotnikov Replied:

I just have to add. I feel better on diatonic as besides different notes on different holes each hole has different taste/feel/flavor. At chromatic holes much similar to each other and I have to look at hole numbers sometimes. On diatonic I have to slightly bend note to know is it 5-th, 6-th or 7-th draw.

Jan 30, 2010 4:51 PM GMT
BluEyes Replied:

Mike im wondering if any of this helps. Boris has been playing for some time and understands music. I on the other had just im closing in on one year. I am haveing a hard time with the blocking and other technics. Its also seems the more time passes and when I learn something that took a long time to get I expect the next thing to come in quicker. I get upset with my self with this learning process.

abner (BluEyes, its a very long and wonderful journey )

Jan 31, 2010 6:40 AM GMT
Boris Plotnikov Replied:


Learning process has some tricks. I talk to some good musician. I find that most of them had the period of hard practicing of 5-6 hours a day for some month. Even if they stop practicing they arestill remainsgood players anyway. So it's just a psychology of newacquirement. You have to master anyacquirement. If you master it you'll need only some rare practice aims not to forget thiscum-savvy. If youracquirement is not mastered and you try to master it 5 minutes a day you can spend years and still can't use it.

I have such lazy students which takes a lessons for 2-3 years and still hardly play any simple melody without mistakes and rhythm falls (it seems they play harmonica only at my lessons). And I have students which start playing in band after one year of my lessons.

So if it's possible find 1-3 month for the whole day practice and you'll be the much better player this year.

Feb 01, 2010 1:37 AM GMT
BluEyes Replied:

Thanks for the post, Boris. I appreciate you sharing your knowledge with me. I started playing after having discs removed from my neck. Playing the harp really helped me get over the recovery. This year, I just had a total knee replacement. It's been difficult getting over the painful recovery this time around and I haven't given as much time to the harp as I should. As for the learning process, I can't get my head wrapped around it. I get frustrated. I've been listening to lessons. I don't know how to read music. I think for me a one-on-one would work best. But I haven't found a teacher yet. &

Feb 01, 2010 1:39 AM GMT
BluEyes Replied:

Feb 01, 2010 1:40 AM GMT
BluEyes Replied:

I have a good friend who is a guitarist and tries to work with me. But I think I would benefit from a harp player who can teach. You spending time in South Florida in the near future?

abner (BluEyes, im no longer 100 % human )

sorry about this but this is what i have been going thru the last couple of months. my post or comments get lost or cut. If you guys can bare with me.

Feb 01, 2010 1:44 AM GMT
BluEyes Replied:

now the below comment makes no sense. once again I am sorry I do not want you guys to think i am pulling a fast one here. Brady has know about this problem and has been trying to work it out. I just have to enjoy it. Thank you guys for not jumping on me.

abner (BluEyes. its not my fault )

Feb 01, 2010 4:26 AM GMT
Boris Plotnikov Replied:


Try to play only with your hand, you have no wrap your head to play harmonica. Howard Levy wraps his head, me too, but it's not vitaly to wrap head, most players keep their heads unmoving while playing (look at John Popper, BTW hecontinueplaying gigswhile sitting in thewheelchair after some accident).

Maybe I'm not right, but is seems that there have to be at least one great harmonica player in every big city in America, as harmonica is true American instrument. Try to find teacher for you. You also can take a skype lesson from Chris Michalek, he is great teacher as people say. I give skype lessons too, but we speak different languages unfortunately.

Feb 02, 2010 9:18 PM GMT
BluEyes Replied:

I find when I play at open mic im more conservative. Im not ( only when it comes to money ) at home i will do all the hand movements, experiment I get down and nasty. At open mic, im a shy player. its stupid and something I have to get over. I need a person to person teacher and I think I have one I just have to ask.

abner ( BluEyes, low self esteem sucks )

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