Happy Birthday

Happy Birthday to you!

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…

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Harpsichords and Harmonicas

“My son would like to learn the Harpsichord”

From time to time we hear from parents who are eager for their children to learn the Harpsichord. Which is nice.

Here is a Harpsichord. It’s a keyboard instrument from the Renaissance and Baroque period of the 1700-1800’s. It was very fashionable in its day. As were powdered wigs and knee britches.

While there is a Harpsichord Society in the UK, we find that parents are normally confusing a Harpsichord with the short name for the harmonica – the harp or mouth harp. Here is a picture of our harp. It’s a member of the reed instrument family.

It wasn’t around when the Harpsichord was popular, but you could try wearing a wig and knee britches when you play it. Why not investigate inside the harmonica, how a harmonica is made, different types of harmonica, or the harmonica’s closest relatives?

 

Morning Has Broken

Morning Has Broken

Here’s a beautiful Springtime tune to play on the harmonica in C. It’s called Morning Has Broken and it’s been sung in schools for many years.

It became popular in 1972, when Cat Stevens took it to N0.6 in the pop charts. But the melody was originally a folk tune from Scotland. Let’s investigate some more, and then learn how to play along on the harmonica.

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UK Junior National Harmonica Champion 2011

Josh Cooper from Sussex, UK

Congratulations to Josh Cooper (9 years) for participating in the UK’s annual National Harmonica League (NHL) Championships 2011, where he was awarded 1st Prize in the Junior Section!

Josh attends regular HarpsCool group sessions at his Primary School in Sussex and was coached by HarpsCool Sussex Director, Richard Taylor. Here’s video footage of his performance.. 

How did the harmonica get its name?

How did the harmonica get its name?

The answer is, it was a name first used by US Founding Father, Inventor and Scientist Benjamin Franklin in 1762. He was an avid inventor – false teeth, lightning conductors, odometers and bifocal lenses to name but a few of his inventions. He also took the habit of rubbing a wine glass rim with a wet finger to make a ringing sound, and invented a new musical instrument. It was of a series of glass bowls in a shallow case of water, that could be turned by a handle… (more…)