Mouth Organ Harmonica
Mouth Organ Harmonica
No doubt about it the mouth organ harmonica is a musical instrument that produces a unique and special sound. By most accounts it was invented in Europe, either in Austria or Germany, in the early 19th century. Originally, the mouth organ harmonica was used to play simple folk tunes around the house or at impromptu gatherings. Over the last couple of centuries music has evolved from simple folksy tunes to encompass a wide variety of styles and genres. The harmonica has been used in blues, country, rock, and pop music.
It was the early pioneers in the blues genre that begin to put the mouth organ harmonica through its paces and see what it could do. They noticed that the notes sounded different on the inhale and the exhale. They also discovered how to bend notes. Bending notes is simply playing a note that is not found on the scale of the harmonica. Thanks to these pioneers, we have all the great harmonica music we have today.
Some people wish to learn the mouth organ so they can play more bluesy tunes. Unless you are musically gifted, you will not be able to pick up a harmonica and crank out tunes like Little Walter did. You will need a lot of practice. Some lessons to get you started would not be a bad idea either. Now you might be able to find an actual teacher in your city that can teach you. Most of you will not be so lucky. Fortunately, there are many free and paid lessons online.
Mouth Organ Harmonica Lessons
You can find mouth organ lessons using a quick Google search. There are a few things you should be careful of. Any set of lessons that promises you will be playing the blues like Big Walter Horton in less than 10 hours is not telling you the truth. It will take you some time and effort to learn to play the mouth organ harmonica. A good thing to remember is that it is far easier to learn to play the harmonica than the piano or guitar.
One of the best online harmonica lesson I believe are George Goodman Harp ‘N’ Guitar. he gets you playing right from the start and he teaches in a relaxed and stress free way so you actually enjoy each lesson immensely.
As you progress and begin to learn how to play the mouth organ harmonica, you can study cross harp. This is when you learn to make music by inhaling through the holes. This will instantly double the number of notes you can play and greatly increase your ability to play more complicated songs. Once this is mastered comes the hardest task of all. You will need to learn to bend notes.
Mouth Organ Harmonica Bending Notes
Bending notes is making the harmonica play notes that are not included in the scale. For example, a harmonica in a “C” key does not include a “C” sharp. Hole 4 plays a “C” on the inhale and a “D” on the exhale. In order to play a “C” sharp, you have to adjust the size of your mouth, usually by moving your tongue down, to make it larger. This will alter the sound produced by the harmonica and done correctly will make a “C” sharp. Each hole can be bent the same way.
Once you have a firm grasp on each of these techniques you will be ready to crank out the blues or any other genre you like. Just like any other instrument it will take some time and a lot of practice to get this right. One advantage of learning to play a harmonica is that it is small. Wherever you go, you can take your mouth organ. Harmonica learners can haul around their instrument. Piano players cannot take their instrument with them.
If you are ready to learn how to play a one, harmonicas are cheap to buy and last a long time. It also doesn’t take a long time to learn. With a few online lessons and some time spent practicing you can learn to play like the greats and the mouth organ harmonica will quickly become your best friend.