HARMONICA LESSON ON BENDING: LEARN TO PLAY 'NEW HORIZONS'

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Harmonica bending lesson: Practise bent notes with this tune

Welcome to this upper intermediate level harmonica lesson on bending. Today I will teach you a small song, in which you’ll practise draw and blow bends, working on the harp holes 1 to 9. As you know, we can play draw bends on holes 1, 2, 3, 4 and 6, whereas on holes 8, 9 and 10 we should blow to get the extra notes. In following this exercise you will also practise some split notes playing and octaves, typical of tongue blocking.

In case you need, here you can find a good harmonica.


The tune is in the key of A major and we are going to use an A harmonica, playing in first position. In this exercise we’ll use the notes of the major scale, as well as some chromatic tones, those that actually permits us to practise the bending.

If you don’t have an A harp, you can still follow the lesson using your harmonica and reading the tabs. In the video below on this page, I’m teaching using a Seydel 1847 classic.

The bent notes you’ll play today are:

Half-step bend on holes 1, 4 and 6 draw.

Half-step and whole-tone bend on holes 2 and 3 draw.

Half-step bend on holes 8 and 9 blow.

Song analysis:

Playing difficulty level: Upper Intermediate level harmonica players.

Note bending skills: Holes 1, 2, 3, 4 and 6 draw, as well as 8 and 9 blow bending.

Lesson focus: Playing bent notes in the context of the musical phrases, split notes and octaves.

How to read the video lesson tab:

How to read the video lesson tabs:

One plus symbol means to blow the harmonica hole.

An apostrophe means to bend the note of a half-tone.

A double apostrophe means to bend the note of a whole-tone.

A triple apostrophe means to bend the note of three steps.

A dot before the notes means to use tongue blocking articulations.

^ means playing the note with a ‘dip’ bending.

R before a note means reaching that note with a glissando effect.

Sh means ‘shake playing’ or ‘warlbe’.

Ft means ’Flutter tungue’ techinque.

P means ‘Pull technique’.

V means ‘Vibrato effect’

Tr means ‘Tremolo effect’.

Following the song tabs:

2+ 2’’ 2+ 2 5+ 4 4+ 2

2+ 2’’ 2’ 2 5+ 4 4’ 4+

2 3’’ 3 4+ 4 5+ 5 6+ 5+

6 6’ 6+ 5+ 5 4’ 4


4 4’ 4 5 4 4+ 4 3

3 3’ 3 2 2+ 2’’ 1’ 1

1 2+ 2’ 2 3’’ 3 14+

14 25+ 25 36+ 25+, 25 25+


8+ 8+’ 8+ 7+ 9+ 9+’ 9+ 8+ 

7+ 7 6 6+ 5+ 6 6’

6+, 4+ 4 5+ 4+ 4 5+ 5 4

6+ 5+ 5 4 4’ 5+ 14


1 2+ 2’’ 2 3’’ 3 14+ 14

1+ 1 2+ 2’ '2 3’’ 3 4+

1’ 1 2’’ 1 2 2’’ 2+ 1

1+ 14+ 1+

If you followed this lesson, you should now have a better control over the way you play bends on harmonica. I hope you enjoyed working with my school free material, and I invite you to have a look to the list of my online school harmonica courses here.

See you soon and enjoy music!

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