National Harmonica League

HarmonicaUK The National Harmonica League
The NHL is Britain's national harmonica association, with members world wide, supporting and encouraging the playing of all types of music on the chromatic, diatonic, tremolo, octave and chord harmonicas. Paul Jones is our President.

Music examples
for the tuition
articles in
Harmonica World

           

Music for the tuition examples in Harmonica World.

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Harmonica World is distributed six times a year at the beginning of February, April, June, August, October and December. It is delivered free to all NHL members.

The magazine usually has between 36 to 40 pages and provides tuition, interviews with harmonica players, information about all NHL events and contests, some world wide events, blues and jazz jams, people of interest, CD and book reviews, technical and repair information, news and material about anything related to the harmonica. You can help write it and we print it. It also includes advertisements and can put you in touch with suppliers of goods and services who are hard to discover. The material submitted is filtered for relevance, the availability of space, and editorial policy.

Copy deadlines are the end of February, April, June, August, October and December. Contact Roger Trobridge for queries about the magazine, and Tony Cresci about advertising in it.

Here are the music files & internet links referenced from Harmonica World magazine:

Dec/Jan 2018

George Current

Lochanside. I’m using a Hohner Big Valley in 'D' for the sound file of this three part, very melodic, 3/4 pipe march Lochanside, and as you should hear the notes move above and below the 'D' tonic. The music is on Page 7 of the magazine. Click to hear it

Oct/Nov 2017

George Current

Jimmy Morgan. Click the audio below for a tune mentioned in the poem called ’Ye Banks and Braes’. It is played on a Hohner Echo Harp in the key of ’C’, which would have been the most common key back then. The music is on Page 11 of the magazine.

Richard Sleigh

How to Assess a Custom Diatonic Harmonica, Part 1, Draw Bends. Click the audio below for the recording Richard made of an assessment of a diatonic harmonica as set out in his article on P15.


Aug/Sept 2017

George Current

Caller Herrin. I’m using a Hohner Big Valley in the key of ’D’ and playing in first position. However, from the ’G#’ in bar 28 to the ’A’ in bar 32 I switch to a Tombo 21 in the key of ’A’ and continue to play in first position. Here is the the sound file. The music is on Page 27 of the magazine.

June/July 2017

George Current

The Drunken Piper. This is the name of the tune associated with The Reel of the 51st Division. It was written by A. McLeod in the 1800s and is found in David Glen’s Collection of Bagpipe Music. The tune is in ’A Dorian mode’ so I’m using a ’G’ tremolo on the sound file. The music is on Page 7 of the magazine.

April/May 2017

George Current

Vamping. In the sound file this month I’m going to use a little American tune called ’The Country Waltz’ that I learnt from a fiddler a while back. Waltzes are ideal for using this vamping technique with their 1-2-3 rhythm. The first time through the tune I’ll play it without tongue blocking, then the second time through with the full works. If I get my sums right you should be able to hear how much fuller the tune sounds when using the tongue. You can listen to it here, The Country Waltz.

February/March 2017

George Current

Celtic Music. Here’s a wee tune - Highland Laddie - that dates back to at least the early 1700s. See Page 7 for the music. It’s about as close as I can get to the ancient ’Celts’! It’s still played regularly today and there’s also a Scottish Country Dance by that name. It’s slightly unusual in that although it’s in the key of ’D’ it finishes each part on the note ’B’ and not ’D’. Could that be ’Celtic’?
You can listen to it here, Highland Laddie.

December/January 2017

George Current

Playing Tremolo in Dorian mode, one of the first pipe tunes I ever learned was called The Hills of Glenorchy, a 6/8 march.

This tune is in ’A Dorian’ mode and fits nicely on the ‘G‘ moothie in third position. I’ve written out the music more or less as I remember playing it as a march but recently I’ve taken to playing it more as a waltz, which makes it a good example of how traditional music changes over time and how we should never take the dots too seriously.
You can listen to it here, The Hills of Glenorchy.

October/November 2016

George Current

Playing in second position. A good example of this scale is the tune Campbell’s Farewell to Redcastle on Page 20 of the magazine. The instrument I’m using to play this tune on this month's sound file is the Hohner Big Valley in the key of ’D’. Of course I’m not playing in ’D’ I’m playing in ’A’, a fifth up. The tune can be found in Ross’s Collection of Pipe Music which dates back to around 1870. William Ross was then piper to Queen Victoria. As far as I know there’s only one Redcastle in Scotland which is north of Inverness. You can listen to it here, Campbell‘s Farewell to Redcastle.

David Barrett - Introduction to Blues Chromatic - Part 19 - The Dip.

Now that you’ve had some time to work on your dip bends, let’s place them into a musical context. Reminder ­ if your dip bends stall, use more of the front of your tongue. Also don’t forget to use slaps, you want the big sound they have to offer. Follow the musical notation in the magazine as you listen to the audio file.

August/September 2016

George Current

French Musette is this month’s tune on Page 31. It is a French type of bagpipe that has a tremolo effect and was popular in the French courts at one time. Unfortunately I don’t have a name for this tune, which is not unusual in the traditional music scene. It’s a fairly straightforward tune to play and I’m using a Hohner Big Valley in the key of ’D’ for the sound file. You can listen to it here, French Musette.

David Barrett - Introduction to Blues Chromatic - Part 18 - The Dip

The Dip presents a note flat (bent)and then raises it quickly in pitch to the reed’s natural vibrating pitch. Listen to my recorded examples of the sound you’re trying to create - an example of The Dip.

June/July 2016

George Current

The Battle of the Somme is this month's tune. It’s a typical pipe march in 9/8 time and definitely not a slip jig. The music for The Battle of the Somme is on Page 7 of the magazine. It’s played on a key ’D’ Hohner Big Valley - you can listen to it here, Battle of the Somme.

David Barrett - Introduction to Blues Chromatic - Part 17

David recorded a backing track for the example on Page 8 of the magazine - Chromatic Blues recording.

Richard Sleigh - Pentatonic Scale Examples

Here are the audio examples mentioned by Richard in his article. Pentatonic 1st & 4th, Pentatonic 2nd & 5th, Pentatonic 3rd & 12th positions, and Pentatonic 4.

Kenny Gilmore - Liferiver - Journey of a song

Here is a link to the video of Kenny's video of Life River on Page 12 of the magazine.

Eva Hurt introduced a Polish Traditional Tune - We are going Hunting

You can see her playing the music on Page 29 of the magazine on this YouTube video.

April/May 2016

George Current

Loch Leven Castle is on an Island in Loch Leven in Perth and Kinross and can be visited by boat. Mary Queen of Scots was imprisoned in the castle for around a year in the 1500s before she escaped dressed as a servant. She was recaptured and eventually executed.
The music for Loch Leven Castle is on Page 7 of the magazine. It’s played on a key ’G’ Tombo Harmonica 21 and the tune is in ’A’ minor - you can listen to it here, Loch Leven Castle.

Philip Achille

Philip will be heading up our festival concert in Bristol in October. Here is a link to Philip's YouTube channel where you can watch and hear him play a wide range of jazz, popular and classical music.

February/March 2016

George Current

The sound from the Hohner Johnny is in some ways like a Melodeon, quite strong and punchy. The Hochlandsklange by contrast is just slightly lighter in tone. There also seems to be so many notes in the mix that it is often difficult to find the melody notes when you’re playing it. However I’ve given it a go here for this month's sound file. The tune, which is played in ’G’, is Kenmure’s on and awa Willie.

David Barrett - Introduction to Blues Chromatic - Part 15

Here are links to the sound files for David's tuition article on Page 12. Chorus of Octaves.

David Bowie

Here is a link to a video of David Bowie performing Jean Genie on Top of the Pops.

December/January 2016

George Current

When Scottish Regiments were abroad over New Year it was not uncommon for the pipers to come through the barracks playing at midnight. One of the many tunes that would have been played was ’Happy We’ve Been All Together’. This tune goes back to at least the eighteen hundreds and it’s the tune I’ve picked for this month since the New Year is not that far away now. For this sound file I’m using a ’Hohner Big Valley’ tremolo in the key of ’D’ for this fairly simple tune. Click here to hear it.

David Barrett - Introduction to Blues Chromatic - Part 14

Here are links to the sound files for David's tuition article on Page 18. Example 1 presents an octave exercise. Example 2 is the same song example as last month, with the addition of real octaves.

Dror Adler

Dror Adler's innovations with chord harmonicas and microphones.

Images from the H2015 International Harmonica Festival, Bristol

Click to see the images. Saturday Concert, Festival Weekend #1, Festival Weekend #2.

October/November 2015

George Current

Any way, back to just one tremolo, a Tombo 21 Deluxe in the key of ’A’ for this month’s tune. The tune is a good old Scottish Reel called Roxburgh Castle. Roxburgh Castle near Kelso in the Scottish Borders, now a ruin, has a long and interesting history going back to King David I. The tune has many variants throughout the British Isles and you may just be familiar with it. Give it a go!

David Barrett - Introduction to Blues Chromatic - Part 13

Here are links to the sound files for David's tuition article on Page 8. Example 1 presents a fake octave exercise. Example 2 is the same song example as last month, with the addition of fake octaves.

August/September 2015

George Current


Here is George playing the Para Handy theme. This three part tune written by Ian Gourlay, a Concertina player, is in the key of ’G’ but the third part is in ’C’. While the whole tune could be played on a ’G’ mouth organ, as there’s no ’F#’ in the last part, it makes sense to stack a ’G’ and a ’C’ together, using the ’C’ for the last part. The notes harmonise better, but it’s also much easier!

David Barrett - Introduction to Blues Chromatic - Part 12


Here are links to the sound files for David's tuition article on Page 8. Example 1 has you practicing draw pulls for the first measure and blow pulls for the second. Use draw pulls when between downbeat draw slaps and blow pulls when between downbeat blow slaps. When you move from a downbeat blow slap to a downbeat draw slap, or vice-versa, it’s up to you which pull you use. Example 2 shows the pull in the 12 Bar Blues context. In both examples there is slap notation above each note head (open circle) to remind you to slap most single notes.

June/July 2015

George Current

Here is George playing an old Scottish dance called Angus Polka No1, which is written out on Page 6 of the magazine. It is played on a Big Valley tremolo in D. The tune is one George learned from an old mouth-organ-playing friend a few of years ago.

David Barrett - Introduction to Blues Chromatic - Part 11

Here is a link to the music file, Flutters written out in David's tuition article on Page 14.

Roger Trobridge - Norman Ives

You can hear some very varied harmonica recordings from Sampler tape cassettes produced by Norman in the 1990s on the The Archivist web site - Blues, Rock, Country, International, Standards, famous and less well known artists.

Here is a link to a video of Tom Ball being interviewed by Ross Garren - see page 18.

April/May 2015

George Current

Here is the audio file to an old Scottish song called Dainty Davie played on a Tombo Band Deluxe 21 in G, on Page 6. This song, collected and reworked by Robert Burns, has many variants but the tune George plays here is the most popular.

David Barrett - Introduction to Blues Chromatic - Part 10

Here is a link to the music file referred to on on Page 12.

Roger Trobridge - John Bryan

Some old harmonica recordings from the Cyril Davies, BBC, John Bryan, Joe Filisko, and harmonica groups can be found on my new web page. The Archivist.

Here is a link to a video of Tom Ball being interviewed by Ross Garren - see page 18.

February/March 2015

George Current

Here is the audio file to the traditional French Canadian Reel called La Grande Chaine illustrated in his article A Wee Drop of Scotch on Page 6.

David Barrett - Introduction to Blues Chromatic - Part 9

Here is a link to the example I laid out on Page 12. It uses the light sound of the 4 draw, B (6th scale degree in D), and bluesy sound of the 4+(blow) C (flat-7th).

Tony Eyers

Here is a video of Tony busking at the Tamworth Country Music Festival, where the cover page photograph was taken.

December/January 2015

George Current

Here is the audio file to the music The Harmonica in his article A Wee Drop of Scotch on Page 6.

David Barrett - Introduction to Blues Chromatic - Part 9

Here is a link to the example I discuss on Page 16 .It uses the light sound of the 4 draw, B (6th scale degree in D), and bluesy sound of the 4+(blow) C (flat-7th).

October/November 2015

August/September 2014

Steve Shaw

This music file contains both tunes "Proudlock's Hornpipe/Hesleyside Reel" from Steve's article. Steve recorded the track using a Lee Oskar G harp in Paddy Richter tuning. The other instruments on the track were played by Martin Cole.

David Barrett - Introduction to Blues Chromatic - Part 7

Here is a link to Scale of D major and a short example of a bluesy chorus in D Major.

April/May 2014

David Barrett - Introduction to Blues Chromatic - Part 5


Here are links to music files in the article. Example One, Example Two, and Example Three, plus a short 12 bar jamming track for these examples. If you would like to have a full-length version of this track to play with, it comes from David Barrett's Blues Harmonica Jam Tracks & Soloing Concepts #2.

Steve Shaw

This music file contains both tunes - Keefe's and The Clog - from Steve's magazine article, each played through once. He used Tombo Band tremolo harmonicas in D and G, switching over for the second tune.

February/March 2014

Larry Adler

Here is a link to the the Larry Adler Page, and to the Fishko's Files about Larry with Robert Bonfiglio and Humphrey Burton.

Steve Shaw

Here are links to the two tunes in his column in the February magazine, Tommy Bhetty's Waltz by Noel Battle from his CD, Up And About In The Morning, with Noel on tremolo and Roisin Broderick on concertina. The second tune is Morgan Magan, played by Steve Shaw playing a G tremolo harp and Martin Frith on fiddle. It was recorded in the St Kew Inn, in Cornwall, playing in a pub session. There was little rehearsal involved, but they were obviously having fun!

Cham-ber Huang and his CBH Harmonica

Here's a link to Cham-ber Huang in his workshop in 1972, talking about the design production of the CBH.

October/November 2013

Steve Shaw

Here is a link to the two tunes in his column in the October magazine,
Ger the Rigger and Bill Sullivan's Polkas, played by Steve Shaw on harmonica with Martin Cole on guitar. This is from their CD, Blowing through the Reeds.

Magazine News Section

Here are links to the articles linked with Joe Filsko in the News Section of the magazine.

Joe Filisko: Lessons From an American Harper by Boris Hardl.

How a gang of harmonica geeks saved the soul of the blues harp by Ben Marks.

April/May 2013

Steve Shaw


Here is a link to the two tunes in his column in the April magazine,
Planxty Irwin and Si Bheag Si Mhor, played by Steve Shaw, unaccompanied. Brendan power has done a version of Si Bheag Si Mhor, on his CD, New Irish Harmonica.

Cheng Jang Ming

Here are three short audio clips from the radio interview between Michael Oliver and Tommy Reilly on the BBC in 1979. Transcribed by Jang Ming in the February and April issue.

  • The first illustrates colour, tone and vibrato.
  • The second looks at well written works for harmonica
    including James Moody, Malcolm Arnold and Villa Lobos.
  • The third shows harmonica does have an affinity with
    the voice - illustrated by Stravinsky.

August/September 2012

Steve Shaw

Here are two tunes to use with Steve's column in the the August magazine about playing by ear. The first one Planxty Fanny Power, written by O'Carolan in the 18th century is simple, unadorned and unaccompanied. The second Brendan McMahon's Reel is more of a challenge at first sight, with a bit of ornamentation and variation thrown in by Steve and with a "distracting" guitar backing. Both tunes have a simple structure with similar-length A and B sections which are repeated. The first is played through once and the second one twice. Read the magazine article on learning by ear and try to learn the tunes without looking at notation. It's perfectly permissible, desirable even, to put in your own ornamentation and variations, within the spirit of the tunes. Fanny Power requires a Paddy Richter G harp if a 10-hole harp is used and Brendan McMahon's requires a D harp (Steve used a low D).

June/July 2012

Steve Shaw

Here's a link to the two tunes in his article in the June magazine,
"Out on the Ocean" and "Boys of the Town", played by Steve Shaw
using his ancient G Suzuki Bluesmaster, Paddy Richter tuning!

April/May 2012

Jang Ming

Jang Ming recorded a recent concert in Singapore. You can view the video here

Steve Shaw

Here's a link to the two tunes in his article in the April magazine,
"Stack of Barley" and "Little Stack of Wheat", played by Steve Shaw himself using his new Tombo Band tremolo harmonica in G.

December/January 2012

Brendan Power

Brendan wrote in his column in this issue about his growing interest in Chinese music. Click to hear his version of Mo Li Hua (Jasmine Flower), played on a modified Suzuki Promaster.

Steve Shaw

Here's a link to one of the two tunes in the article, The Trip To Cullenstown, played by Noel Battle, who is just brilliant. It is the second in his set of two.

June/July 2011

Steve Shaw - Two hornpipes

The written music for these examples is included in the magazine article. Click to hear the music for The Home Ruler followed by Kitty's Wedding.

The music is played by Steve Shaw (harmonica) with Gwyn Lloyd (mandolin) and Dave Perrett (fiddle) at the St Kew Inn. Steve's harmonica is a low D diatonic in paddy Richter tuning.

February/March 2011

Steve Shaw - Two hornpipes

The written music for these examples is included in the magazine article. Click to hear the music for The Rights of Man followed by Off to California. The music is played by Steve Shaw (harmonica)using a G Suzuki Bluesmaster tuned to Paddy Richter.

December/January 2011

Steve Shaw - Two tunes by Turlough O'Carolan

The written music for these examples is included in the magazine article.

The music is played by Steve Shaw (harmonica) and Martin Cole (all other instruments).

August/September 2010

Cheng Jang Ming - Sound of Harmonicas - HAS

Here is a YouTube video of Jang Ming playing a Chinese violin classic Sunshine In Tashkurgan in the concert programme performed at The Esplanade in Singapore, 8 June, 2010.

Here is score of the piece in Sibelius and harmonica/piano music and the harmonica solo music in Acrobat format, as discussed in his article in this issue of Harmonica World

February/March 2009

Irish Tunes

Steve Shaw's tuition audio Three Reels - 1.4MB.

This track has the three reels mentioned in his article in Feb 2009 issue of Harmonica World - Mary Staunton's, Brendan McMahon's, and Flax In Bloom.

August/September 2008

Irish Tunes

Steve Shaw's tuition audio Over the Moor to Maggie - 4MB.

The first rendering of the tune is unaccompanied and slower than usual to show the ornaments. It is followed by a version with his son Tim on guitar. They play the tune through twice, at the speed they'd perform it in a session and they include the variations mentioned in his article in Aug issue of Harmonica World.

February/March 2007

Meditation

To accompany Cheng Jang Ming's article(February/March '07 magazine) on 'Meditation': All material copyright Cheng Jang Ming or Douglas Tate.

Here is a digitally compressed video of Steve Dooley's successful submission for his Grade 3 exam at NUS. Click here to watch it. It is 5MB in size. You can save it and play it when you want.

October/November 2006

Article

Chang Jang Ming's full article on 'How to Assess A Chromatic Harmonica': Download

August/September 2005

Music Clips

Listen to Johnny Stafford's playing of this well known tune from the BBC series, "Dixon of Dock Green", from his LP "Twenty Harmonica Greats", MFP 4156601. Click here

Listen to Tommy Morgan play on the Hollies 1969 hit "He ain't heavy, he's my brother". Click here.

The music for both these pieces is written out in the tuition section of the August/September magazine, pages 28-29.

Check out the Sam Hinton website. Sam's fantastic CD was reviewed in this month's magazine, page 26.

Click the links below to hear some examples of this great folk diatonic player:

June/July 2005

Tuition

  • Phillip Achille plays Ashokan Farewell. Key of G. (Right-click on the link & select 'Save Target As..')
  • Visit the composer's website, where you will also find his midi file in the key of D, with piano accompaniment.

Music Clips

  • Mickey Raphael (page 26) playing on Georgia On My Mind (Right-click on the link & select 'Save Target As..'). Played on a F harp in the key of C.
  • Listen & watch Julian Jackson playing on Strictly Dance Fever (page 9).

Internet Links

  • Orientango (page 9) by Roland van Straaten can be downloaded from this website: Orientango. Played on a Lee Oscar harmonic minor harmonica in the key of Ab.
  • The article on Charles Leighton (page 6) can be found here.

June/July 2004

Pat Missin plays Exercise 2 on Page 27.

April/May 2004

Pat Missin plays Exercise 1 on Page 26.

February/March 2004

Here is the moothie music on Page 27 for scale in C - click here.

  • Fairy Lullaby - Basic - click here
  • Fairy Lullaby - Full - click here

April/May 2003

Sam Hall music on Page 27

Sam Hall - performed by Mat Walkate and Seamus Curley

email Mat Walklate for info on this CD (£6)

Request

In order to make the magazine interesting for readers, the harmonica community, including the club members, is invited to submit tuition or music examples with sound files where possible. All material should be in the public domain or accompanied by the appropriate legal permission to allow publication without copyright infringement of any sort. Space is often limited, so material might not always be used, but the editor likes to have a choice. Text should be PC machine readable, and images should use proprietary formats. Text can be cut and pasted into an email, or sent as an attachment.

The magazine is printed in black and white, on gloss paper.

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