Q: What kinds of music have harmonica in them?

A: Harmonicas have been used in almost all styles of music. Of course pop, country, blues, folk music and jazz are the most obvious styles, but harmonicas are also heard in reggae and hip-hop settings. Also in classical music harmonicas are used, but unfortunately here the harmonica is often considered an inferior instrument. Also in classical music harmonica is a bit of an overloaded term. It can refer to lots of exotic instruments that can sound more notes at the same time, and that are not regularly found in a symphonic orchestra (glass harmonica). There used to be a special music style for harmonica bands based upon the trio of bass, chord and chromatic, but unfortunately it is not played a lot anymore -- BB

Q: What kind of harmonica is used in the different styles?

A: In the following music styles diatonic is mainly used: Blues, Country, Folk, Rock and Roll. In the following music styles chromatic is mainly used: Classical, Jazz, although nowadays in Jazz diatonic harmonicas are also used. However, these are played fully chromatically, using overblows/overdraws or special valves. Bass and Chord harmonicas are rarely found in modern music, however sometimes they are used. An example is the Bass harmonica used in the Beatles' song "Mother Nature's Son". Tremolo and octave tuned harmonicas are used mostly in "traditional" or folk music.


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Playing "Help-Me" In the Style of Sonny Boy Williamson II: A step by step, note for note analysis of some of Sonny Boy's Signature Riffs

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The JT30 Page Popular links

I began collecting data about the microphones used by blue harp players before there was an internet. I began organizing it into JT30.com in the late 1990s. I accumulated more stuff than I remember. This is some of it.

Street Theory

A Harp Player’s Guide to Music Theory

Learning Harp

Picking Up Blues Harp

A guide to learning to play Blues Harp

Microphone Information

Usenet Articles

Harp Amps

I've been collecting Harp Amps for a while. This is the old Harpamps.com website. There is lots of information here. Here a coupld of links.

Harp Tab

A collection of songs and riffs that I’ve worked out over the years, plus some libraries of stuff I’ve converted to tablature. I’ve included most of the notes and instructions that helped me when I was learning to play blues harmonica.

Basic Riffs Simple harp tabs for songs Blues riffs and phrases.

Harp-L Archives 1992 to 2002


Harp Frequently Asked Questions