How to Play Major vs. Minor Keys on Harmonica

Learn how to play major versus minor keys on harmonica from music teacher Marcus Milius in this Howcast video.

Transcript

"Hi, my name is Marcus Milius. I play harmonica. I got a degree at the University of Southern California, a Bachelor's of Music, in Jazz Studies - Chromatic Harmonica. I play and teach harmonica here in New York City, and I'm happy to show you what I do.

Since the diatonic harmonica is a major diatonic harmonica, it's set up in a major scale. It's easiest to play in major keys, so songs that are major will work great for your harmonica, but songs that are in other scales or other qualities can sometimes be a little trickier. So, uh, there are several ways around that, the easiest way being that, um, you're gonna want to play in the relative minor. The easiest way we'll be playing in fourth position, that's by going down three notes in your scale. So, if you're in your major scale, you'd start at the very top, at the C on 7 blow, then 7 draw B, and then 6 draw, which is A. Going down three notes from any major key will bring you to the relative minor.

So I'm playing in the same harmonica, but I'm in minor.

So Bob Dylan and Neil Young tend to use that a lot Just making sure to resolve to a 6 draw or 3 draw with the whole step bend, um, the same harmonica sounds like this in major.

So make sure when you're playing in minor that you don't go ahead and grab an A major harmonica for an A minor song, use that C major harmonica."

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