What song are you working on?

What you write makes sense @HarpinBobbyMcB. I do it similar.
Since I also have a keyboard, I use it when I’m looking for the right notes. You have your own favorite songs that you can’t find anywhere on the internet.


Here goes my version of Hello by Lionel Richie.

The lyrics are in the description.

This was a fun song to learn, particularly with the frequent 6 / 7 draws which are always challenging.

I have a question for the group. As I mention in video, I am playing a C harp. When I look at the original key of the song, it says A minor. As I’m working on the song, to my surprise I see the notes of the scale are the same as the C major. Wonder of wonders, I just discovered what a relative minor scale is… Duh… :wink:

My question is this… What position and what key am I playing?

Is it fourth position in the Key of A minor or just first position key of C major? :thinking:

I start on 5 blow and the 6 draw (A) seems to be the tonic and the landing point.

I would love to play this song in the lower octave starting on the 2 blow, but there is no way I can consistently hit the 3 draw bent a full step for the A down there.

Any of our seasoned players game to play this song in the lower octave?

:thinking: :thought_balloon: :memo:


Hello @HarpinBobbyMcB,
wouldn’t you then have to play the C harp in 3rd position and - 3" (A)? I don’t think it works without bending.
But you’re right to ask about experienced players, which I’m definitely not :smiley:.
@Slim won’t be back here until the end of the week, but maybe someone else will know.
Would love to help you :woman_shrugging:.


Hi @HarpinBobbyMcB and also Astrid @AstridHandbikebee63

If you are finding the tonic or “landing point” to be A then (since you are playing your C harp) you are indeed playing A minor, the relative minor scale to C Major. This is the 4th position on a C blues harp.

And yes, you are correct: that low A at -3" is quite the challenge! But other than that, A minor played in 4th position on the C harp is really easy and has a great feeling to it.

I will correct Astrid here by saying that 3rd position on the C harp is what you use to play songs in D minor on a C harp. In 3rd position on a C harp, the tonic or “landing point” is D (-1 or -4 or -8). On a C harp that low A is -3" no matter what position you are playing: 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, etc. The position you use does not change the tone produced with -3" on your C harp: it will always remain an A !! What does change is the note number in the scale being played:

1st position: the A is the 6th note of the C major scale.

2nd position: the A is the 2nd note of the G scale (major and minor).

3rd position: the A is the 5th note (aka dominant) of the D scale.

4th position: the A is the 1st note (aka tonic or root) of the A scale.

5th position: the A is 4th note of the E scale.

I will stop there but you can use the Circle of 5ths to see which scale corresponds to each of the 12 positions on your blues harp. Then for each scale count up from that scale’s tonic/root until you get to the note A to get its number/place in that scale (if it normally occurs in that scale: e.g. A does not occur in the Ab scale played in 9th position on a C harp, but Ab does occur).

– Slim :sunglasses:


Super explained @Slim, as always! Thanks very much!
I never think about the circle of fifths! Maybe I should make a mural for it. :face_with_raised_eyebrow:

Regards Astrid


First of all - thank you @HarpinBobbyMcB for your courage to video yourself and share it with the group. Hopefully, it inspires others to do the same.

Congrats on your ability to isolate single notes, and your hand wah is sounding really nice! I’m proud of you. :facepunch:t3:

I love Elton John, but not familiar with that song. I am familiar with Lionel Ritchie’s “Hello” though. The original song is in Am, and your are right that’s 4th position on a C harmonica.

By the way, my daughter told me you can tell what generation someone is from by asking them who “Hello” is by. Boomers will say “Lionel Ritchie.” Millenials and Get Z will say “Adele.” :rofl:

It’s a beautiful, haunting melody, I’ll give you that! But sheesh you couldn’t have picked a much more difficult song to try and play!
Here’s harmonica tabs for the chorus of Lionel Richie’s Hello - C Harmonica, 4th position, key of Am - not for the faint of heart!
-4 5. -4 4 5 -4 -4 4 5
-4 5 -5 5 5 -4 -4
4 -4 5 -4 -4 4 4 -3" (that’s hard)
-3" 4 -4 4 4 -3" -3" -3’‘’ (that’s really hard!)
-3’‘’ -3’‘’ -3" -3" -3 -3 -4’ (also really hard. :joy:)
-4 5 -5 5 5 -4 -4
-4 4 -4 5 -5 5 4-4 4 -3"
-3" 4 -4 4 4 -3" -3" -2" -3’‘’ -3" (that’s super duper hard!)

Here’s my quick feeble attempt at it:

Sorry there’s a couple extra notes. I need to get on to other stuff, but wanted to share this as my way of saying thank you to Blazing Bobby McG for your courage and initiative to start this thread.

And hopefully this might further help @vibe get up the courage to share his rendition “Stand By Your Man” with us. :wink:

Also, apologies to @Dave_Dunn for confusion about Country Roads. Original is in key of G, but I did my version on a C harmonica so that more people would be able to benefit form the video.

I’m doing it in 1st position in the middle octave, which works really well for the chorus, but would require many difficult bends to play the verse. If you’re wanting to play the whole song, and have the chorus be higher than the verse as it is in the recording, you’ve gotta play it up the octave as it’s written here:

All right. Hope that helps clear things up. Rock n Roll harmonica fam! :metal:t3::notes::sunglasses:



I’m glad I wasn’t just imagining it would be tough to play Hello By LR, down in the lower octave. Those are some tough notes to hit consistently.

I’m sure anything I could put out would sound like a wounded cat :smirk:

Thank you @Luke for giving us this forum to test ourselves and to learn from each other :sunglasses:

Chaka Bra :call_me_hand:


Thanks for that @Luke!
Most of the verse is as I worked it out, only I tried avoid staying up in the 8s for too long!
I think I’ll keep your chorus though, and just make some changes to the verse tabs.
I’ll see what works best for me, working songs out is half the fun!
Thanks for the heads up about the site too, I’m sure it’ll come in useful! :slightly_smiling_face::+1:


Oh @Luke,
Your performance was beautiful and different from the BTB lessons.
I’m also currently working on Hello by Lionel Richie. Of course I also like Adele, but he was my youth and then my memories and emotions come into play when I play (explanation for today’s youth :wink:).
I use simpler tabs, yours probably in 5 - XX years…:rofl:
May you and your family be well. :grin:


Do you imagine people asking you to play something for them on your harmonica?

I often imagine myself playing in front of a huge crowd in stage and then quickly remember that in my short time playing not one person has asked: Hey, I see you have a harmonica, could you belt out a few tunes?

Fact of the matter is that many run when they see us pull out our harp, and likely with good reason!

Listening to someone trying to work out a song on a harmonica is painful at best. As we play, we are intrigued by trying to get it just right, but to others it must just sound plain bad, until we finally get it.

I loved @Luke 's advice to learn the Happy Birthday song to have something to play in front of people and his advice has led me to play Happy Birthday to a few people on their bdays and they’ve been very appreciative, even if it’s not perfect.

I thought about this also a few weeks ago when I was in a supermarket. An older guy, who looked like he had served in the Civil War walked up to a baby in a carriage, put his harp to his lips and blew a few lines of something akin to When the Saint’s Go Marching in.

Since I had my harmonica with me, I replicated his little ditty as best I could, we had a laugh and were on our way. The best part of the story though was the baby in the carriage, who seemed to be the most entertained of all.

So I started thinking about it and am convinced that of all the songs in my repertoire, those I can get the most use out of are simple nursery rhymes. My grandguys confirm that they like them :sunglasses:

By are by in large nursery rhymes are easy to play, easily recognizable to sing to and generally a good choice for even the toughest crowds.

Baby Shark may help a distressed parent calm her baby, Old McDonald has a Farm gives others a good opportunity to practice their animal sounds, and Rock a Bye Baby can put a baby to sleep in a heartbeat, or keep 'em up all night :joy:

So here’s my version of Itsy Bitsy Spider. I do it twice, once with clear single notes and then again adding a little flavor with some Wah Wah and some “dirty notes” on my Special 20 in Db… I love it when she gets a bit dirty :sunglasses:

For those who want to sing along, here are the words:

The itsy bitsy spider crawled up the water spout.

Down came the rain, and washed the spider out.

Out came the sun, and dried up all the rain,

and the itsy bitsy spider went up the spout again

I am convinced that as important as what we play is how we play it!

I love the thread on @Corky_music and the way he spices up his playing.

What’s your favorite nursery rhyme?

Care to share? :thinking: :thought_balloon:


Wonderful, I just have to smile, your choice of music, your game to match, light and carefree and your mystical background. Here I expect this little spider :spider: to come out of the :spider_web: corner in the next moment. :grin:
Your song seems to be international as it is well known to me.
I also like and know many :baby::child: :notes: through my previous :guitar: game.
To warm up on the harp, I like to play the song: All the birds are already here, all the birds are all… Is it because I like listening to the journeymen outside in the summer mornings or because my budgerigars can chirp so nicely? I don’t know if it’s also an international song.


I don’t recognize the song you mention by the words @AstridHandbikebee63 but maybe I would recognize the melody.

And yes, I believe many nursery rhymes are international. The words may change from one language to another, but the melody remains the same :wink::musical_keyboard:


:uk: : All the birds are already here,
All the birds, all!
What singing, music-playing,
Whistling, chirping, trilling!
Spring wants to come now,
It comes with songs and sounds.

How cheerful they all are,
They move, nimble and gay!
Blackbirds, thrushes, finches and starlings,
And the whole flock of birds
Wishes you a happy new year,
Greater well-being and abundance.

What they declare to us now,
Goes straight to our hearts:
We want to be happy too,
Happy like the little birds,
Here and there, in the fields and out,
Singing, jumping, joking around.

The song is originally in German. Really easy to play on the harp @HarpinBobbyMcB.

Here’s the :es: translation: Let’s see if it’s displayed correctly here.

Ya están todos los pájaros,
¡Todos los pájaros, todos!
Que cantar, hacer musica,

¡Silbidos, gorjeos, cansancio!
la primavera quiere invadir
Ven con canción y sonido.

que divertidos son todos
¡Rápido y feliz de llover!
mirlo, zorzal, pinzón y estornino
Y toda la bandada de pájaros
te deseo un feliz año
Mucha salvación y bendiciones.

lo que nos dicen ahora
Vamos a tomarlo en serio:
Nosotros también queremos ser divertidos.
Alegre como los pajaritos
Aquí y allá, campo afuera, campo adentro,
Cantar, saltar, bromear.

Ahora puedes cantárselo a tus nietos. :wink:


@Dave_Dunn @AstridHandbikebee63 Sorry I couldn’t play with this earlier, Haven’t had a good learning/practice session for a couple weeks - events don’t understand I just wanna play and learn harp! You have already received so much great feedback I can’t add much other than practicing both has helped me develop more of an ear for notes and where to find them. Thanks for posting and all the great feedback from everyone else. A simple tune helping me get in tune. Hoping to catch up to you guys soon!


I gave up on local hero. Too many bends and just beyond me. Then i thought about what you said about songs you know really well being the easiest. I remembered a lulaby my great grandmother used to sing in scots. It might be called THERE WAS A LASS A BAIRNIE. I dont actually know the name. Anyway I nailed it after a lot of trying.
Its about a little girl who really wants a baby of her own so she wraps he father sheep dog in a blanket and sings to him about the fact that if he didn’t have such a hairy face she’d kiss him.
Its a pretty tune with funny words in the half Gaelic form called Scots.


Super @toogdog glad to hear the suggestion helped. It’s amazing to hear how a bunch of squeaking can turn into something that sounds like music :notes: after some practice :wink::+1:


Hey Bobby - Great story! Nothing like being out in the world and hearing someone play harmonica, and answering with harmonica. What magical moments!

Good stuff here :100:

So great to see you growing. Yep, twinkle twinkle is a great one in 1st position. So much value in learning simple songs for ear training. And Baby Shark is a great one in 2nd position ending on the difficult -2’

-1 2 -2 -12 -12 -12 -12 -12 -12
-1 2 -2 23 23 23 23 23 23 23
-1 -2 -2’

Those -12’s you can open up to -123 and 23 to 234. It’s a fun one! Makes my 3-year old dance.

Great rendition of It’s Bitsy Spider. I love the big finish! :facepunch:t3:


Thanks for the tabs on Baby Shark, definitely a crwd pleaser! :blush::+1:

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Here is another blast from the past, this time a very famous song in Spanish by the incredibly talented Juan Luis Guerra. The name of the song is Burbujas de Amor (Bubbles of Love) :

This is my rendition of the first part :point_up_2: and for those unfamiliar with the song, the original by the master himself :point_down:

I’ve been working on the song for about a week. As usual when I got stuck I looked to some harp tabs I found for help. Even though the tabs were correct, it took me a while to get the rhythm and the timing right on the part where he sings:

Quisiera ser un pez para tocar mi nariz en tu pecera y hacer burbujas de amor por donde quiera.

(I’d like to be a fish so that I could touch your fishbowl with my nose and make bubbles of love wherever)

As I now reflect over learning the song, I see a common element with other songs which have given me difficulty, the dreaded -6 and -7 draws.

As our fearless leader @Luke pointed out to me when I was learning the Boxer by Simon and Garfunkel, the harmonica is pretty forgiving across the harp except for hitting those two notes together which sounds a bit like a squealing cat.

It’s amazing to me how the harmonica can replicate the human voice on so many levels and yet also create other subtleties as well.

One question for the group. My Auto-Key tuning app tells me the song is in the Key of G Major and on my C harp, the 6 blow (G) is definitely the tonic. My question is that when the song reaches the upper end of the scale, the last note on scale I believe should be an F#, but on the tabs and when I play the song, the F seems to work best, particularly since hitting the F# on an over blown 9 is beyond my capabilities.

Can other notes typically be used that are outside in the scale we are playing? :thinking:

I always thought that for whatever key we are playing that we should use only the notes in that scale. By the way, I also confirmed on the piano what my ears told me and the correct high note on the song seems to be and F (-9).

Happy September to all and happy harping!

Maybe my next song should be September by Earth, Wind and Fire?

Any takers in a challenge?


Hello @HarpinBobbyMcB,
this is a very beautiful song. Thanks to you, now I know him too. :smiley:
First I listened to the original and then your version. For me you hit all the notes, well and played them well, with the appropriate feeling.
Keep going, I really enjoy it :relaxed:.
Greetings from Astrid :woman_in_lotus_position: