Indiara Fair "Queen of the Harmonica" Slays This Studio Session

Indiara Sfair playing the harmonica

Indiara Sfair absolutely kills it on harmonica throughout this session at a beautiful studio in Brazil with a group of first rate musicians and singers. What’s not to like? :+1:

I’ll highlight a few moments that I especially love.

:one: First, I love the funk tune. (You knows I like to keep it funky.)

She’s playing an A harmonica in 2nd position in the key of E starting with the riff:

-2 -2 4 -3’ -2 -2

Notice the ATTACK she gets on that 4 blow, that’s from a technique called a “tongue slap” which I teach in Module 6 of my Beginner to Bosscourse.

And then the riff gets even tastier at 8:18. Beginners can play the catchy 1st and 3rd lines (but the trickier 2nd and 4th lines aren’t for the faint of heart!)

-2 -2 -3 -3 -4 -4 -3 -3 14 (this last note is a Split, we’ll come back to this…)

(-3’ -2 -2” -1 1 -1 -2” -2)

-2 -2 -3 -3 -4 -4 6 6 -5

(-4 -4’ 4 -3 -4 -4’ -3 -2)

One more standout riff I wanna give you tabs for from this song is this cool descending run. The short version at 8:45:

6 -5 6 -5 5 -5 -4 4 -4 -5 -4 4 -4 4 -4

And the long version at 8:54. (Beginners, you can still play the bolded section, just ignore the bends on the -3 and play ‘em released)

6 -5 6 -5 -4 -5 -4 4 -4 4 -3’ 4 -3’ 3 -3’

-2 -2” -2 -2” -1 -123 -3’ -3” -2

:two: SPLITS! I wrote in my last newsletter about this technique for making BIG powerful accents. If you missed it, check it out here.

The second riff I tabbed out from 8:18 of the funk tune :point_up_2:t3: above ended with a 14, which I mentioned I’d come back to. Well that is called a split-4. And it plays the same note an octave apart. It’s beefier than if she’d just ended on a single blow 4.

Indiara is the QUEEN of splits; she uses ‘em all the time.

Seamlessly switching back and forth between splits, single notes, and double stops adds rich TEXTURE and emotional DYNAMICS to her playing, which you can hear in the following examples.

At 21:58, again on an A harmonica in 2nd position, combining splits with hand wah’s (which she almost always does) makes them extra tasty:

4 -4 -5 36 -25 -14 -3’ -2

Indiara uses splits a lot in 3rd position as well, as shown in her Cm Improvisation, played on a Bb.

What she’s doing at 39:00 is exceptionally difficult because she’s actually bending the lower note of the split:

-2”5 25 -14 25 -2”4 -14 -4’ -4 -2”5 25 -2”5 -14

If you’re advanced and you wanna tackle that technique, you may find it easier if you push the -2 very hard against the mouth and let the -5 be looser.

:bulb: But if you’re a beginner who can play single notes, then it’s worth considering learning how to play splits, because they can add a lot of power to your playing.

I also wanna give you the tabs to the fast riff that she plays in this song because it’s not as hard as it sounds. If you can do the -4’ bend, this is a whole lot of fun!

-4’ -4 -5 -4 5 4 (rinse and repeat!)

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