Re: [Harp-L] How to play nice and clean upper notes ?

You bring up a common problem.

The high notes are sensitive to your embouchure and to how you breathe.

What you do with your lips is less important that what goes on inside your mouth.

Try these actions:

1) Yawn. Feel you your throat opens wide and your tongue gets out of the way to let ai pass without impediment? This is how you need to breathe all the time when you play the harmonica.

2) Breathe gently. Hold the palm of your hand about 2cm from your open mouth and breathe gently so that you can feel the heat from your breath, but you cannot feel the breath blowing on your skin. You can make notes sound with this gentle breath. Now try it inhaling as well.

3) Say Ha! Ha! Ha! Notice that the area just below your ribs bounces. This is your diaphragm moving. The diaphragm starts the airflow from the deepest posible place, both inhaing and exhaling. Always start the breath here.

Now, try playing the high notes with:

1) open mouth and throat

2) breathing from the deepest possible place

3) breathing as gently as possible.

Work on this and the high notes should come out cleanly.

Winslow Yerxa
Author, Harmonica For Dummies, ISBN 978-0-470-33729-5
            Harmonica Basics For Dummies, ASIN B005KIYPFS
            Blues Harmonica For Dummies, ISBN 978-1-1182-5269-7
Resident Harmonica Expert,
Instructor, Jazzschool for Music Study and Performance

 From: Sébastien Frémal <sebastien.fremal@xxxxxxxxx>
To: Harp-l <harp-l@xxxxxxxxxx> 
Sent: Monday, December 2, 2013 1:03 PM
Subject: [Harp-L] How to play nice and clean upper notes ?


I'm a young pucker player and since the beginning, I've got problems to
play clean upper notes (particularly the draw notes). There often are
noises similar to gratings (like if the harmonica was dying). Recently, I
discovered than this noise disappears if I play these notes with the tip of
my tongue on my second molar. It's not an easy way to play ...

I was wondering if other harmonicists got the same problem, knew what
causes the distortion (I guess there is a slight bending which distorts the
note) and, please, got some advises to avoid this annoying problem.



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