Can I play this?

Hi everyone I’m pretty new with the harp and I don’t really know a lot about all the technical things yet, but I have been having fun. I came across a piece of music recently. I thought it was beautiful and at first I believed it was a harmonica but now I believe it’s actually a clarinet? Anyways if someone could check it out and tell me if the song could be played with the harmonica and what key I would need I would be beyond grateful.

The song starts at 33:53 (Sorry I haven’t found the song anywhere else but in that long video) but the part in question is the main part? Idk if it’s the Melody? Sorry idk if Im using the terms right. But any help would be appreciated

Hi, Gnmtl – and welcome to the forum!

I am fairly certain that the theme played (starting at 33:53) is being played on a chromatic harmonica. As to the key that it is being played in: I really did not analyze it very much, but the chromatic harp can play tunes in any key (similar to the way a piano or clarinet, etc can do this – assuming, of course, that the musician has some degree of mastery over the instrument :wink:).

Using a diatonic harp is somewhat more difficult and frequently will require skills such as bending and overblowing to achieve some of the notes that are not “built in” to the diatonic harp. And for musical pieces that have complex themes that change the key during playing or have complex chord changes that the theme needs to follow, it might even be necessary to use two diatonic harps tuned to different keys, and then to switch from one to the other at the appropriate moment! :astonished:

Gruß (greetings)
– Slim

Hey thank you for looking at it for me. I thought it was a harmonica but I double guess I second guessed myself. It’s cool to hear a harmonica in that type of music.

How different to play is the chromatic harmonica? I know they’re more expensive…

This question is not so easy to answer in a forum posting!! If you have some experience with a “normal” diatonic ten-hole harmonica, it might be best to visit a music store that sells chromatic harmonicas and at least take a good look at one.

I play chromatic harp – but cannot do so by reading musical notation (scores). I also only use it for playing “non-blues” music (e.g. brazilian, jazz, ethnic-folk).

You are correct about them being more expensive, but then you only need one of them in order to be able to play music in any key (at least after learning how to play it).

The chromatic harp has a “slider” at the end of it that can be pressed in while playing. When depressed, the resulting tone from the hole being played is raised. For example when drawing on hole 1 you normally hear the note D (on a C chromatic harp), but when the slider is depressed you get the note D# (= Eb).

Another consideration is that chromatic harps are not really designed for bending notes in the manner that one typically does with a diatonic harp. It is possible, but the range of bending is different and (perhaps more importantly) the sound is much different (most people would say that the diatonic bent notes sound more “blue” and “traditional” than when the same note is played bent on a chromatic harp). This may be unimportant to you, but to me and many others this is a vital difference.

That is enough for now. It might be best for you to try to get your hands on a chromatic harp to test before spending much money on buying one – and possibly being disappointed with the result. I also suggest listening closely to recordings of diatonic solo harp music and comparing it with recordings of solo chromatic harp music (keeping in mind that most of the musicians playing on the recordings are most likely real professionals and not amateurs). :thinking:

I hope that these few comments are helpful to you. Let us know if you have other questions as I am sure there others around here who are much better players than myself – for both diatonic and chromatic harps. :sunglasses:

Excellent reading for this novice. I have read some posts and seen some photos about the enigmatic chromatic harp but did not really understand what it was or how used.