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  1. 1. by Winslow Yerxa Harmonica FOR DUMmIES
  2. 2. by Winslow Yerxa Harmonica FOR DUMmIES
  3. 3. Harmonica For Dummies Published by Wiley Publishing, Inc. 111 River St. Hoboken, NJ 07030-5774 www.wiley.com Copyright 2008 by Wiley Publishing, Inc., Indianapolis, Indiana Published by Wiley Publishing, Inc., Indianapolis, Indiana Published simultaneously in Canada No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, scanning, or otherwise, except as permitted under Sections 107 or 108 of the 1976 United States Copyright Act, without either the prior written permission of the Publisher, or authorization through payment of the appropriate per-copy fee to the Copyright Clearance Center, 222 Rosewood Drive, Danvers, MA 01923, 978-750-8400, fax 978-646-8600. Requests to the Publisher for permission should be addressed to the Legal Department, Wiley Publishing, Inc., 10475 Crosspoint Blvd., Indianapolis, IN 46256, 317-572-3447, fax 317-572-4355, or online at http:// www.wiley.com/go/permissions. Trademarks: Wiley, the Wiley Publishing logo, For Dummies, the Dummies Man logo, A Reference for the Rest of Us!, The Dummies Way, Dummies Daily, The Fun and Easy Way, Dummies.com and related trade dress are trademarks or registered trademarks of John Wiley & Sons, Inc. and/or its affiliates in the United States and other countries, and may not be used without written permission. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners. Wiley Publishing, Inc., is not associated with any product or vendor mentioned in this book. LIMIT OF LIABILITY/DISCLAIMER OF WARRANTY: THE PUBLISHER AND THE AUTHOR MAKE NO REPRESENTATIONS OR WARRANTIES WITH RESPECT TO THE ACCURACY OR COMPLETENESS OF THE CONTENTS OF THIS WORK AND SPECIFICALLY DISCLAIM ALL WARRANTIES, INCLUDING WITH- OUT LIMITATION WARRANTIES OF FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. NO WARRANTY MAY BE CREATED OR EXTENDED BY SALES OR PROMOTIONAL MATERIALS. THE ADVICE AND STRATEGIES CONTAINED HEREIN MAY NOT BE SUITABLE FOR EVERY SITUATION. THIS WORK IS SOLD WITH THE UNDERSTANDING THAT THE PUBLISHER IS NOT ENGAGED IN RENDERING LEGAL, ACCOUNTING, OR OTHER PROFESSIONAL SERVICES. IF PROFESSIONAL ASSISTANCE IS REQUIRED, THE SERVICES OF A COMPETENT PROFESSIONAL PERSON SHOULD BE SOUGHT. NEITHER THE PUBLISHER NOR THE AUTHOR SHALL BE LIABLE FOR DAMAGES ARISING HEREFROM. THE FACT THAT AN ORGANIZA- TION OR WEBSITE IS REFERRED TO IN THIS WORK AS A CITATION AND/OR A POTENTIAL SOURCE OF FURTHER INFORMATION DOES NOT MEAN THAT THE AUTHOR OR THE PUBLISHER ENDORSES THE INFORMATION THE ORGANIZATION OR WEBSITE MAY PROVIDE OR RECOMMENDATIONS IT MAY MAKE. FURTHER, READERS SHOULD BE AWARE THAT INTERNET WEBSITES LISTED IN THIS WORK MAY HAVE CHANGED OR DISAPPEARED BETWEEN WHEN THIS WORK WAS WRITTEN AND WHEN IT IS READ. For general information on our other products and services, please contact our Customer Care Department within the U.S. at 800-762-2974, outside the U.S. at 317-572-3993, or fax 317-572-4002. For technical support, please visit www.wiley.com/techsupport. Wiley also publishes its books in a variety of electronic formats. Some content that appears in print may not be available in electronic books. Library of Congress Control Number: 2008932079 ISBN: 978-0-470-33729-5 Manufactured in the United States of America 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
  4. 4. About the Author Winslow Yerxa is a harmonica player, performer, author, inventor, and teacher. His lifelong quest to understand the harmonica (and help others do the same) began early on, when he couldnt find a teacher and none of the available harmonica books taught anything about blues, country, Celtic, or jazz styles of harmonica he heard on records and wanted to emulate. His youthful experiences playing in waterfront bars in his native Vancouver, British Columbia, and with Cree guitarists and singers in the Canadian Rockies taught him how versatile the harmonica can be in playing blues, jazz, country music, popular music, and fiddle tunes. Composition, music theory, and jazz arranging studies at Vancouver Community College, at McGill University, and later, writing musical arrangements for Afro-Caribbean bands in San Francisco gave him the technical expertise to integrate harmonica into a wide variety of musical settings. Nowadays he spends a lot of time playing with the San Francisco Scottish Fiddlers. From 1992 to 1997 Winslow wrote, edited, and published the magazine HIP the Harmonica Information Publication, the most widely read harmonica periodical of its time. During that period, he transcribed John Poppers harmonica solos to musical notation and tab for the songbook to the Blues Traveler CD, four. He also authored the book and CD combination Learn Blues Harp Effects in 60 minutes and invented and marketed the Discrete Comb, a harmonica upgrade that unlocks all the note bending capa- bilities of a diatonic harmonica. Recently, in collaboration with Dix Bruce, he authored Backup Trax: Basic Blues for Harmonica, and he also recently worked with jazz harmonica virtuoso Howard Levy on his Out of the Box series of instructional DVDs. In addition to teaching privately, Winslow teaches at harmonica seminars, such as Jon Gindicks Harmonica Jam Camp and David Barretts Harmonica Masterclass. He also teaches at harmonica festivals, such as SPAH and the Buckeye festival. He is a regular contributor to the online harmonica maga- zine HarmonicaSessions.com, and he has contributed articles to Harmonica World, Harmonica Happenings, American Harmonica Newsletter, and Echos France Harmonica. He continues to contribute to the understanding and appreciation of the harmonica through such online forums as Harp-L.
  5. 5. Dedication To my wife, Pat, who keeps my feet on the ground, and to our wee spirit guide, Alberto Duque. Id also like to dedicate this book to the memory of my dear friend, classical harmonicist Douglas Tate, and to the memory of that invaluable Qubcois folklorist and peerless joueur de la musique bouche, Gabriel Labb. Authors Acknowledgments Id like to thank Rob Paparozzi for recommending me for this project, along with acquisitions editor Michael Lewis and my agent, Carole Jelen McLendon of Waterside Productions. Thanks also goes to fellow For Dummies author Bill Evans for early orientation and advice. The writing and editing processes ran smoothly thanks to the tact, organiza- tion, and sage advice of project editor Alissa Schwipps. The text was immea- surably improved by the advice of copy editor Jessica Smith and of technical editor and harmonica player extraordinaire Glenn Weiser. A big thanks to photographer Anne Hamersky for capturing the tiny, hidden details of harmonica workings, and to Steve Malerbi, master harmonica tech- nician, for the loan of the chord harmonica for the photo shoot. Im grateful to my colleagues Damien Masterson and Chris Michalek for the loan of micro- phones and mixers for recording the CD, and Os Leguizamo of Suzuki for his responsiveness and dedication. Id also like to thank Jason Ricci and Ben Breyer for helpful suggestions, advice, and moral support. Finally, Id like to thank my students, from whom I am always learning.
  6. 6. Publishers Acknowledgments Were proud of this book; please send us your comments through our Dummies online registration form located at www.dummies.com/register/. Some of the people who helped bring this book to market include the following: Acquisitions, Editorial, and Media Development Senior Project Editor: Alissa Schwipps Acquisitions Editor: Michael Lewis Copy Editors: Jessica Smith, Elizabeth Kuball Editorial Program Coordinator: Erin Calligan Mooney Technical Editor: Glenn Weiser Senior Editorial Manager: Jennifer Ehrlich Assistant Project Manager: Jenny Swisher Assistant Producer: Angie Denny Quality Assurance: Kit Malone Editorial Assistants: Joe Niesen, Jennette ElNaggar, David Lutton Cover Photo: Stockbyte/Alamy Cartoons: Rich Tennant (www.the5thwave.com) Composition Services Project Coordinator: Patrick Redmond Layout and Graphics: Carl Byers, Reuben W. Davis, Melissa K. Jester Special Art: Kathryn Born Proofreaders: Melissa Bronnenberg, Shannon Ramsey Indexer: Slivoskey Indexing Services Special Help: Todd Lothery, Christy Pingleton, Alicia B. South Publishing and Editorial for Consumer Dummies Diane Graves Steele, Vice President and Publisher, Consumer Dummies Joyce Pepple, Acquisitions Director, Consumer Dummies Kristin A. Cocks, Product Development Director, Consumer Dummies Michael Spring, Vice President and Publisher, Travel Kelly Regan, Editorial Director, Travel Publishing for Technology Dummies Andy Cummings, Vice President and Publisher, Dummies Technology/General User Composition Services Gerry Fahey, Vice President of Production Services Debbie Stailey, Director of Composition Services
  7. 7. Contents at a Glance Introduction ................................................................ 1 Part I: Getting Started................................................. 9 Chapter 1: What Is This Thing Called Harp? ................................................................11 Chapter 2: Your First Harmonica...................................................................................17 Chapter 3: The Language of Music: Surveying a Bit of Theory..................................29 Part II: Starting to Make Some Music ......................... 47 Chapter 4: Relaxation, Breathing, and Rhythm............................................................49 Chapter 5: I Hear a Melody: Playing Single Notes........................................................63 Chapter 6: Shaping Your Sound.....................................................................................81 Chapter 7: Enhancing Your Sound with Your Tongue on the Harp ..........................93 Chapter 8: Unlocking a H