Re: [Harp-L] amazin' grace on harp

That is a beautiful melody and perfect for harmonica.

You didn't say anything about accompaniment but it would help greatly. The following assumes a guitarist but if it is piano, organ, or be it.

I would play it through four times:

1. Play the melody against the I chord all the way through. You could have the guitarist or vocalist just blow legato chords on a diatonic of the appropriate key. No ability to play harmonica is required. It suggests the spare, mournful sound of the bagpipe and creates harmonic tension.

2. Change key (up a wholetone sounds good). Play against the full set of chords of the guitar: I, I7, IV, I, V7 etc. This relieves the harmonic tension and makes the music seem to expand and become grander.

3. Have the guitarist play the melody and strum chords on the off-beats. On the harp, play a harmony part in thirds and sixths above the melody. This makes it really take off and soar. If you wish to do this, I can send you the harmony part.

4. Change key again and play the melody against the full guitar chord set. This time, gently and tastefully jazz up the melody. This ends in a more joyful mood.

Because every verse sounds different and progresses to a slightly different mood, (mounful, grandiose, soaring, and joyful) the piece won't be boring. I think that it would move the audience.

Visit my harmonica website

----- Original Message ----- From: "Ken Hildebrand" <airmojoken@xxxxxxxxx>
To: "hazcon" <hazcon@xxxxxxxxxx>; "harp-l" <harp-l@xxxxxxxxxx>
Sent: Monday, January 14, 2008 5:41 AM
Subject: Re: [Harp-L] amazin' grace on harp

Hi Rick,

So sorry to hear about your friend passing.

Amazing Grace can be a very emotional song at such
a time, and your emotions will come out in your
harp playing.

I would definitely stick with 2nd position...
Amazing Grace is one of those songs 'made' for 2nd
position harp.

Personnally, 1st position would be great on a
chromatic, but for me, not on diatonic, compared to
what can be done in 2nd position.

The song isn't 'minor' enough (or at all) for 3rd.

In 2nd utilize all 3 octaves, or at least the low and
middle (I may use the upper to do a downward stepping
pattern lick all the way down to the low octave (and
possibly back up from the low octave for a finish).

Check out the late great Terry McMillan on YouTube
for inspiration:

Ken H in OH

--- hazcon <hazcon@xxxxxxxxxx> wrote:

Guys i need a hand
                            A very good friend has
died an i am up for
playing it at his memorial concert:
                           I am Ok with positions 1
& 2 & 3 and i realize
that it isn't a 'hard' tune to play on the Harmonica
but as of now i can't
play in that I have never learnt it.
 If you had a week or so to learn it what position
would you choose and/or
which position has the max effect?
                         I am toying with the idea
of starting in A
,solo,( crossed D Harp)) then segueing into E
(crossed A harp)whereupon our
mate the slide player,(and vocalist) will join in to
do the song in E to the
                         Given the emotion this song
can generate i would
love to hear any other Harpers opinion/variation on
this theme
in NZ

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