Re: Help with bending...


I usually tongue block when I play (shown in the instruction sheet that
came with your harp), and I recommend that you learn about tongue blocking,
but you'll bend more easily at first if you just purse your lips and pucker
right over the note you're trying to bend. Most beginners find that the
1 hole draw note is the easiest to bend because it's easier to isolate.

You may get your first bend by drawing in forcefully, but force is nott
the key. Once you get bending down, you'll find out that you can bend notes
playing very softly. 

First play a normal draw note on the 1 hole. Your tongue should be laying
flat in the bottom of your mouth. Draw in a more forcefully. Concentrate
on centering your air flow down the middle of the hole. (If you're finding
it hard to get a clean, single note or to keep air from leaking out the
corners of your mouth, you're going to find bending notes more difficult.
than it should be.) You'll find that as you draw air more forcefully your
lips will purse more firmly around the hole--you'll feel more contact with
the harp as you draw it into your pursed lips. Then 

Start trying to work the note down in pitch. The best analogy I've come up
with for the sensation when you bend a note is to think about how you
suck through a straw when you get to the thickest part of a milkshake.
Your tongue really doesn't have anything to do with bending. When you're
bending puckered, it might arch up and draw back slightly, but it's still
basically laying flat and out of the way. You'll probably find that your
jaw will drop slightly as you bend.

If it's still not happening, trying it without the harp. Sing a series
of descending notes, going lower and lower, and think about what happens
to your throat and jaw when you do this.

It's not the tongue, it's how you draw the air through the hole. Suck in
a little harder and keep thinking about the lower note you're trying to
get. Trying bending the 1 hole draw on different harps if it doesn't
happen for you soon. If you have a lower pitched harp, like an A or a Bb,
and find bending difficult, get a higher pitched harp, like a D or an F,
and try it on that. Sooner or later it will drop in for you and you'll
be able to relate to the sensation.and start achieving it up and

--Kim Field

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