- April 2021

Harmonica Notes

Harmonicas come in a variety of keys. The most common harmonica key is C. Bellow is the is chart of all Diatonic and Chromatic Harmonicas Notes.

Layout of a Diatonic and Chromatic Harmonica

In the diagram blow means the note when blowing into a hole, draw means the note when breathing in. This note layout is called the “Richter tuning”, is used for most harmonicas and is shown below.

The layout of the tones of a harmonica differs slightly depending on the model of the instrument. In some models, the notes are arranged in order: C, D, E, F, G, A, B, C. However, this is not the case for many models. These layouts follow a simple rule.

Usually, the principle is that C, E, and G are blow notes, and D, F, A, and B are draw notes. First, the positions of C, E, and G are determined, and then D, F, A, and B-the draw notes-are added between them. If the draw notes are added between the blow notes, then the order is C, D, E, F, G, A, C, B, meaning that only the C and B notes at the end have switched.

At we carry a great variety of Diatonic and Chromatic Harmonicas. Please visit our site for a large selection of Hohner Harmonicas in all Keys and Tunings.

As outlined above, arranging the harmonica to provide chords means that some notes are “missing”, particularly in the bottom holes. However a common harmonica technique called “bending” allows these missing notes to be played.

Bending harmonica notes involves changing tongue position, mouth shape and breath pressure, and is often very challenging for harmonica students.

 Bending a note lowers its pitch. Bending is done mostly on the draw holes 1, 2, 3, 4 and 6, and blow holes 8, 9 and 10. 

There are unlimited ways to tune a diatonic harmonica. The standard is Richter tuning. Most harmonica instructions and compositions are based on the assumption that this tuning is in use. While Richter tuning is the most popularly used tuning, it isn’t necessarily the most practical layout for playing all types of music.

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