What song are you working on?

Amazing! What a great combo. You obviously know where the notes are instinctively now. That’s so cool. I still get really lost without tabs. You did a great job on a tricky tune. It is the most glorious spring September day here. Thanks for the complimentary music.


Hello @HarpinBobbyMcB,
a good early morning surprise.
I like your combination! Windy is almost unknown to me, but I recognized the song from you. :grin: “September” too, of course, because of course I’m currently practicing it.
You’ve made rapid progress.
Today I’m on the road and take advantage of the good weather again. Luckily with little wind :leaves:.
My September song is coming…

Greetings from Astrid :woman_in_lotus_position:


@AstridHandbikebee63 and @toogdog, thanks so much for your comments!

I look forward to what you come up with for “September”, Astrid :wink:

It’s interesting for me what you say, Nita, about tabs and you getting lost without them because I actually get lost with them! After I have learned a song, my surest way to mess it up while playing is to look at the tabs. I’ve mentioned before here on the forum that I seem to have “tab dyslexia” which confuses me when I play and look at the tabs at the same time. The tabs do help, however, as I am learning the song to figure out where on the harmonica to start and then where to go.

I mentioned to @Luke when I first joined the forum that if I can whistle a tune, I can generally play it on the harp once I figure out where to start. He told me something I have never forgotten and which has held true. He said, “If you can whistle it, then you can probably play it.” This has proved to be the case; and the opposite is also true, if I can’t whistle the tune, generally I can’t play it on the harp either, without some practice.

I believe this is why practicing scales is touted as being so very important by so many people on virtually any instrument. Knowing the scales up and down, inside and out, trains our ears and our bodies to play the right sounds without having to think too much about it.

I started whistling when I was very young and have always enjoyed trying to whistle along to music. This can be disconcerting to others around me, because while I’m learning a tune whistling, as is the case with the harmonica, it takes time to figure out how to play it and in the meantime seldom sounds very good.

As I went through this process previously with whistling, humming, or singing, I had no idea about different keys, octaves, splits, harmonies, rhythm or other musical jargon which I have since begun to learn. Instead, I simply trusted my ear to tell me what was right and what was not. The process seems similar for me on the harmonica.

How can this help you, Nita, with your dilemma? :thinking:

I think in many ways. First of all, I believe there is no substitute for practice. When I whistle, I have no idea what note, key, or octave I am playing, I just trust what I hear to tell me if it sounds right. After that muscle memory seems to kick in, indicating to my mouth what to do in order to produce the different sounds I want to make. I really don’t know how I change my mouth, throat, and lips to create different notes, I just know that it seems to happen, sometimes magically, other times grudgingly.

The same process occurs with the harmonica as I practice. While I have learned some of the dynamics of how a harmonica works to produce music through excellent posts here on this forum and other places, it still amazes me that we can simply blow or draw on a specific hole, in a certain way, to create a particular sound.

It seems that this only comes with practice. Though I have only been playing harmonica for a bit more than a year, I believe I have been practicing almost my entire life, listening to music and trying to reproduce it through whistling, humming or singing, the latter of which I rarely do because even I can tell I don’t sing that well, yet :see_no_evil:.

Practice does indeed seem to be the mother of success. With it, we can go far; without it, we are bound to be lost in a sea of frustration.

As one last example for you, Nita, I have been learning to play the piano on an old keyboard I bought for my daughters years ago. I’ve been primarily learning the major scales. I go around the circle of fifths until I hit all 12 keys, adding transitions between each to make the process more interesting. At first, it took me more than half an hour to complete with many mistakes in the process. Now I can do all 12 scales in about 10 to 12 minutes, still with some mistakes here and there, but I can tell my fingers are slowly but surely learning what to do to make the right sounds.

I have heard that to become really good at anything we do, that we need to do it about 10,000 hours. I’m still a long way from that on the harmonica but am pretty sure I have gotten there whistling and humming over the years with no real intention, other than for the love of music.

I find it helps to play songs I know well. Perhaps as an thought, find a song you know really well, Nita, in terms of its overall melody and lyrics. Then just start to blow and draw on the harmonica until it begins to sounds right. Even if you aren’t in the same key as the original song, the overall melody will sound similar. When it doesn’t, move up or down the harmonica hitting different notes until it does.

Another idea might be to take a song you have already learned to play on the harmonica with tabs. Play it a few times with the them and then put them away, or close your eyes and play the song again. Likely your mouth and brain will connect getting many of the correct notes right from the get go. After that, experiment if you miss a note by going up or down a step until you eventually get it without having to read the tabs.

I’m not sure for a fact that this will work, but my intuition tells me it just might help, I hope it does.

Happy harping! :sunglasses:


Hello, you happy harp players!
Now the time has come, my creation and contribution to the song “September” by Earth, Wind and Fire.
I thank you for the challenge. For this I had to initiate my Seydel 1847 Classic Blues Harp in the key of Low F. The excitement was just too great! I listened to the original song about 30 times. I looked for the right tones of the song on my keyboard. The background music played on the keyboard and my harp.
The rest was my imagination with some changes over the past few days.

Have fun with best regards from Astrid



Fantastic. You really shined. The amount of work you put into that really paid off. Your harp selection sounds great. I’m blown away by what you are able to do and as always such an inspiration. You as usual demonstrate what can be accomplished with hard work and dedication.

Thanks for sharing.




Super @AstridHandbikebee63!

So glad you rose to the challenge to keep me company :wink:

In particular I like how you handled the high notes :notes:


Oh, thanks a lot @JamesP. That’s kudos to me!
My dad was a very good saxophonist and clarinet player in different genres. Unfortunately, when I was young I never had the opportunity to learn an instrument and sheet music.
When I try to learn a song, it sits with me in my mind. I always wonder if he would be happy with me and the small improvements. All in all, he would definitely be happy. In any case, my father is a great role model in music! If only I had known the harp many years earlier.:woman_shrugging:

I don’t know if you’ve already seen a low harp in the original. Yes, the sound is interesting. But it is higher compared to the normal harps. This is a certain change in the approach to the mouth. As you can easily hear in the song, I still have to break in the harp a bit in the lower notes. No, I have to adjust to it a little more :wink:. But in the high tones it can be easily elicited tones with little air.
I will definitely buy more Low Harp later.

Regards from Astrid :woman_in_lotus_position:


Thank you @HarpinBobbyMcB! It was an honor :bowing_woman:. I couldn’t leave you alone!
Yes, the high notes! It’s always the same and faster, but that’s where you stumble. It wasn’t easy to get the right notes out of the original. The keyboard was very helpful! You use it too! I can’t explain music theory, but I can use it on the keyboard and listen.
So that the high notes don’t get too high, I had the idea of ​​using my new low harp. But improvising was really fun! You did a great job too! Put your own stamp on the song! The different variations are interesting! I didn’t like the few posts with tabs on the internet. A few wrong notes or something else? I dont know! Now I could compare the tabs with mine, but why?

I don’t know how you are In the end you have played and changed a new song so many times. Then I only hear “wrong”, “wrong”, “wrong” :joy:. Really bad! Didn’t even want to introduce him!
In addition, my :nose: has a big obstacle when playing the harp. She runs! I always have to sniffle​:sneezing_face:, but this :microphone: is on… full :face_with_raised_eyebrow:. What will I learn now? Maybe something :woman_singer::metal: and groove? I still have a few harps that need to be played as well.:smiley: Would be a good time before Christmas comes.
No, no challenge, just my rough plan! :smiley: It just occurred to me, it’s probably going to be plan B. A :de: song that has already been played many times by great artists like Peter Maffay. The original is from the group “Karat” and the song is called “You have to go over seven bridges”. However, he is actually with vocals and German profound lyrics. I spent months looking for and writing down the tabs. I don’t know if the song is internationally known? In the current situation in Europe, the song and its content is more relevant than ever and has been very important to me since my youth.:relieved:
Regards Astrid :woman_in_lotus_position: and sorry for the long answer :pray:

Here are the tabs for my song:

I just remembered something. Like you, I’m reading the tabs less and less. Only at the beginning to learn. It’s interesting that the head is also making progress and everything meshes like gears :slightly_smiling_face:.
This is why you have to give the advances time to develop!


You must have musical talent running in your blood from your father @AstridHandbikebee63!

It is interesting to me how many people can play the exact same song and likely each will all play it a little differently. I suppose it is similar to when we talk. Two or more people can read the same words and yet give entirely different meanings to them.

In addition to the notes we play, there is the rhythm, depth and resonance we give to each note. Some will place emphasis in one place and others in another.

I know very few songs from beginning to end and yet know the main choruses and riffs for quite a few songs now. I am thinking of organizing the songs I have and perhaps making medleys from those I do know. A Christmas medley is on that list for sure, but that’s still a ways away.

I love it how certain songs remind me of others while I’m playing, so maybe next on my big list is putting some of them together.

For now the theme song to Hawaii Five O, caught my attention and has been buzzing in my head. I love the energy of thinking of the surf pounding in the background as I play, but the first line is giving me trouble in the lower octave with a 3 draw bent a full step. I’m resisting going to the higher octave to see if I can get that note to sound better than wounded duck :joy:.

Thanks again for participating in my challenge Astrid! :sunglasses:

Playing with myself can be a ton of fun, but playing with others is like basking on the beach on a gorgeous day under the bright, beautiful sun. :beach_umbrella:


What lovely words from you @HarpinBobbyMcB! I really wish I had inherited my musical talent from my father. Which is definitely an advantage for me, I’ve often been there live at performances by the band and my father.
Also, our generation has not been bombarded with distracting media. We always had the radio on during the day :radio:. We have the advantage that our ears are well trained to know numerous genres with rhythms, melodies and lyrics.

I really like the song Hawaii Five 0 and I even have it in my private playlist. I’ll have to try it out tomorrow because of the tabs.
Feel free to remind me if I don’t get back to you! Absolutely!
Is an interesting suggestion! But right now I’m working on another song to maybe really learn Hawaii Five 0. With him, the fast pace will be the problem! I think it’s still too early to play it clean.

A Christmas medley from you would be very nice! I would very much like to listen to it.

I also think it’s very nice to exchange our “works” here and to let everyone who wants to participate. The internet is great for that. :slightly_smiling_face:

Now I say goodbye for today! We read and or hear each other.

Until then, Astrid :woman_in_lotus_position:


Hello everybody,
Surprise surprise!
@HarpinBobbyMcB you brought up the song yesterday with the issue about the 3rd move.
I was thinking about it in the last night :sleeping:.
Tried this morning on regular harps. As a result, it’s not easy to play on them! You could start in the higher tabs, then it works. One has the feeling that the 10 small holes of the harp end at the top, but it works.

Since I have other harps to choose from, I tried them out. You can find more information, including the various tabs, in the YouTube video.
You won’t find the tabs on the internet. I looked for them today and wrote them down.

Enjoy listening and playing, greetings to Hawaii too @Luke and big thanks to you @HarpinBobbyMcB. Normally I wouldn’t have dared to do it.

Greetings from Astrid :woman_in_lotus_position:



Fun stuff. Brought a smile to my face.




That’s the way it should be @JamesP! One more smile in these not always easy times. The little happiness of life :slightly_smiling_face:.


Very good :+1: Astrid. I especially like how you get through the first part. At first I thought you were getting the bend on the 3 draw until I realized you were in the upper octave in a lower harp.

I’m still working on the low end with the bend. I’ve noticed that even if I don’t bend down a full step but bend a bit that the next note seems to come in and sound right.

Bending into and out of notes is still much easier than just hitting the note on the fly…

Practice, practice, practice…

Congrats :tada: :+1:

1 Like

Thank you @HarpinBobbyMcB! I’ve never learned a song so quickly and you can tell because there are still some potholes in the middle :wink:. The exception I did for you to have other tabs.
Bending on Draw 3 is not that easy to learn for beginners anyway. You can do it, sometimes more, sometimes less well. The whole thing several times in one song is an increase.
Hawaii Five 0 also has a fast pace. This makes it very difficult with Draw 3 Bending.
Why don’t you try the tabs that stand for the Low F in the video? It’s very high, but I’d try.
The song is just great. Glad I knew him too.

See you later, :crocodile:! Greetings Astrid :woman_in_lotus_position:


Thanks for the tabs. It is definitely much easier to play on the higher register. With my A harp it does pretty good up there.

I am cheating a little bit on the lower octave with my Db harp, since it is easier to bend the 3 with more consistency. Slowly but surely, it’s starting to sound a bit better.

Thanks Astrid


I’m curious @HarpinBobbyMcB, if you can keep the rhythm or beat in the middle after a short time?

This is exactly the point where I had my doubts about playing the song right now. It’s still too early for my ability.

But a little mutual pushing doesn’t hurt. :smiley:
You can do it! :+1: I believe in you!


@AstridHandbikebee63 when I am only looking at the tabs it seems almost impossible for me to keep the right beat of the song.

If I close my eyes and think of the rhythm of the song, I can usually get the right beat but not necessarily the right notes.

When the notes are are wrong, I look at the tabs to see where I am messing up and then try to see the general direction of the music. Is it going up, down, or just hanging around the same notes.

Then I rinse, repeat, and then do it again, and again, and again until I drive my family and my neighbors crazy :crazy_face: :joy:


Hello @HarpinBobbyMcB,
as long as your neighbors still greet you, everything is okay… :joy:.

You do it like me! In general, if I have spots where it keeps getting stuck, I take a break. Sometimes until the next day and then it mostly works.

I was able to play the Hawaii Five 0 song without constantly checking the tabs. Is it because I hear it so often at the moment? With it in my ear, I can go handbiking at super speed. Every note is stuck in the brain.
Now that the recording has been made, my harp goes along mentally and figuratively.
I think it’s very interesting!

At the moment I’m practicing on a German song that’s important to me personally. There’s a keyboard here. Here, too, I can see the right keys in front of me. But the keyboard is in another room.

Is it another development or something of mine, my “mind’s eye”?

Think about your neighborhood and :metal:onward :smiley::microphone::notes:.


I think you are right on the button @AstridHandbikebee63!

When I was learning to type, many years ago, I would go to sleep as I imagined my fingers hitting certain keys as I ran through sentences in my mind. Typing on a keyboard now comes without effort.

Now I am doing something similar as am learning to play the major scales on the piano. I imagine the notes on the piano and my fingers hitting each key. It’s funny, even in my imagination I know when we’ve made a mistake and hit the wrong key.

I don’t think I’ve learned a song yet on the harmonica that I didn’t first know in my mind. Similarly, there’s no doubt when we hit the wrong note. Our ears and our mind combine to tell us it doesn’t quite sound right.

As I play Hawaii 5ive O, I imagine the beginning of the television show with an expert surfer :surfing_man: coming down the face of a huge monster wave :ocean:

Hang ten :footprints: :palm_tree: