Harmonica/Advanced Chords

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While the true chords provided by harmonica is very limited, a player can play any chords as an arpeggio; that is to play the notes of the chord one after another. That being said, combined with the fact that some of the notes are close together and at the same direction already, allow one to play chords and rhytmn easily.

For example, On a C chromatic, in addition to the native C major chord and D-minor-7th chord:

  • G Major chord: blowing the hole 3, then draw on 4 and 5.
  • F major chord: drawing on hole 2 and 3, then blow on 4. F major-7th chord can thus be construct with the addition of blowing hole 5 too.

However, some musicians, especially blues musicians, merely "suggest" the chord. For example, even in second position on a blues harp, there's no dominant-major (V) chords available (in the case of a C harp, the D major chord). So what they did are the following:

  • An octave on 1-4 draw to suggest V-chord
  • A 4-5 draw (D-F) to suggest a maj7 chord rooted on the V.

Some will also do that for other chords even if it's available... For example, for G major chord on C diatonic, play only B-D (draw hole 3 and 4)

In terms of playing as a rhythm section, one approximate the chord by playing the notes of the chord in succession: for example, on a chromatic, when playing a G maj7th, one can go like this:

 /   /-----/    /   /-----/
3+ (4-5) (5-6) 3+ (4-5) (5-6)

Also, even with arpeggio, and have access to all the notes of the chords, a blues/jazz musician may not even play all notes of the rhytmn. For example, a standrad 12-Bar blues have the following:

I7  / I7  / I7 / I7   /
IV7 / IV7 / I7 / I7   /
V7  / IV7 / I7 / I7-V7/

May be played like this:

2  3  4  3  / 2  3  4  3  /  2  3  4  3  / 2  3  4  3  /
1+ 2+ 3+ 2+ / 1+ 2+ 3+ 2+ /  2  3  4  3  / 2  3  4  3  /
1  2' 3" 2' / 1+ 2+ 3+ 2+ /  2  3  4  3  / 2  3  2' 1  /

Note that this use a normal major chord to simulate a seventh chord.

Harmonica
Getting started: Why should I Play Harmonica? | Types of harmonica | Anatomy of a Harmonica | Harmonica Purchasing guide
Playing the harmonica: Basic Holding and Playing a Harmonica | Tablature | Basic Chords | Bending
Additional techniques: Advance Chords | Advance techniques | Self accompaniment
General harmonica theory: Chromatic Harmonica | Positions | Tremelo | Ensemble Playing | Music Style | Learning Songs | Improvising | Recording | Playing with Amp
Cleaning and maintainence: Basic Maintainence and Care | Advance Maintainence |Harmonica Modifications |Tuning
Appendices: Harmonica Layouts and Alternate Tunings| Harmonica Positions Chart | Blues | Writing Songs