If it’s your birthday today, you’re probably wondering how we knew. Well actually we didn’t. But since you’re here, many happy returns and we hope you have a lovely day! Go ahead and click the green button.
When other people know you have a harmonica, there’s a good chance that one day you’ll be asked to play the Happy Birthday song. But why wait to be asked? It also makes a lovely surprise! So let’s learn to play it on a 10 hole harp…
The sound clips are recorded on a C harmonica. But you can use the orange tab to play a 10 hole harp in any key. Remember that D means draw (breath in). B means blow (breath out).
6B 6B 6D 6B 7B 7D
6B 6B 6D 6B 8D 7B
This part is tricky at first. You have to jump from 6 blow up to 8 draw. Two different holes, and two different breath direction. If you don’t get it first time, that’s fine. Just keep practising until the pattern comes naturally. Let your ears guide you.
6B 6B 9B 8B 7B 7D 6D
This time you have to leap up from 6 blow to 9B! But once you get to hole 9, you can carry your blow across into holes 8 and 7 without stopping. After 7 blow, you just stay where you are and draw; then carry the draw into hole 6. Keep practising this pattern and let the harmonica chop up the notes for you, while you supply all the long blows and draws.
9D 9D 8B 7B 8D 7B
Well done! Now put the the whole thing together and play it next time somebody has a birthday. They’ll love it and you’ll feel special too!
Here’s a great trick for teasing your friends. Tell them you’re so good at the harmonica, you know a tune that has any name in it they choose. If they ask for a popular name like David or Sarah, tell them that’s too easy; you need something more unusual to really test your skills.
Let’s say they ask for Nebuchadnezzar or King Caractacus. Start by pretending to think really hard. Scratch your head and look puzzled. They’ll think they’ve stumped you. Then tell everyone you have thought of a tune with that name in it; but don’t let on! Just play Happy Birthday and watch the smiles appear!