Basic Harmonica Definitions

Learn the basic terminology used by harmonica players.

How Does The Harmonica Work?

How does the harmonica work? You inhale through it or exhale through it and it makes notes. You change the shape of your mouth, move your tongue around, open and close your throat, breathe with different pressures and attacks, and the notes it makes changes. You do it enough and you figure out what makes what happen.

Parts of a Harmonica

We breakdown the parts of a harmonica and what purposes they are used. Reeds, cover plates, windsavers, and mouthpieces. Find out how your harmonica works here.

How to Hold Your Harmonica

Open cup or closed cup? Find out how to hold your harmonica.

How To Breathe When Playing Harmonica

To play like a pro, it’s essential that you learn how to breathe correctly. It’s the only way to produce notes that sound full and pleasing to the ear without running out of breath.

Bending Notes With The Harmonica

If you play the main blow and draw notes available on a diatonic harmonica, you’ll be able to sound seven different notes (or 19 different pitches, if you count the notes that repeat). The complete chromatic scale contains 12 different notes, which means that the standard diatonic harmonica is “missing” five notes. A special technique called bending makes it possible to play some of the missing notes of the chromatic scale on any ordinary diatonic harmonica.

Playing Notes With Your Harmonica

Most diatonic harmonicas contain 10 holes, each of which can produce two notes through ordinary blowing or drawing. The holes are referred to primarily by number (1–10), rather than by the notes they produce.

Harmonica Embouchures

While a player can always widen his or her mouth over several holes (usually at the physical limit of five) and play chords and intervals all the time, the music usually sounds better when the melody is played one note at a time.

Playing Chords With Your Harmonica

A chord is a set of three or more notes sounded simultaneously. Chords are most often played as accompaniment to other instruments. For instance, a piano player might play a series of chords, called a chord progression, while a guitar player plays a solo over those chords.

Harmonicas for Beginners

Hohner 560 'Special 20' Diatonic Harmonica C Hohner Inc, USA Harmonica for sale canada
Sale priceC$69.99 Regular priceC$89.00
Hohner 560 'Special 20' Diatonic Harmonica
Hohner Inc, USA
In stock, 23 units
Lee Oskar Harmonica "Major Diatonic" - Orange C Lee Oskar Harmonica for sale canada
Sale priceC$59.99 Regular priceC$87.95
Lee Oskar Harmonica "Major Diatonic" - Orange
Lee Oskar
In stock, 44 units
Hohner 1896 Marine Band Classic Diatonic Harmonica C Hohner Inc, USA Harmonica for sale canada
Sale priceC$66.99 Regular priceC$85.00
Hohner 1896 Marine Band Classic Diatonic Harmonica
Hohner Inc, USA
In stock, 33 units