[Harp-L] Stones-you can always get- harmonica??

Doug Schroer dougharps@xxxxx
Fri Jun 9 10:14:11 EDT 2017

I resisted posting on this topic as long as I could.

One of my primary pleasures in playing harmonica is to figure out my own
part for a song that originally had no harmonica part, or to create my own
part that is different or altered from what others have previously played.
I will usually use an important hook or melody from an original recording,
whether it was played with a harp, or keyboard, or a horn or a guitar, but
I will not try to imitate a recording in all aspects. I may study an
original harmonica part to develop a technique, but I don't study it to
perform a copy of someone's interpretation.

I encourage people to not seek an external authority to tell you what to
play. Sure, it is OK to listen to other players' interpretations. However,
when it comes to preparing to play harp on a song, I don't search the
internet for what others have done so I can copy their creativity. I don't
go on forums asking for tab or sheet music. I listen, over and over, and
imagine what I might play with the music.

Listen, imagine, perform, revise, repeat the process...

I try to create that imagined part by playing along. Sometimes a fortunate
error will lead me to create a different part than I originally imagined,
sometimes a part evolves through playing it with a group on repeated
occasions. It is part of making the interpretation and arrangement of the
song mine, and not regurgitating the work of others verbatim. People can
listen to the original recording if they want to hear it performed exactly
that way.

How many versions of Juke did Little Walter play? If he had tabbed it out
from the start and stuck to the first version, we would never have heard
the recorded version! He set his musical imagination free to create what is
now a classic.

Set your musical imagination free to explore so that you can realize the
music in you.

Trust the music in you!

Doug S.

More information about the Harp-L mailing list