How Do I Know I’m Bending In Tune?

If I catch you bending, I’ll saw your legs right off..

It’s a fair question often posed by newcomers to the harp, regardless of any previous musical experience. Basically, we all want to know we’re doing something right the first time we try it. Folks often arrive at our workshops under the assumption they’ve nailed their bends, when they actually haven’t completed their journey.

The process starts by quantifying the task. There are twelve regular draw/blow bends on a 10 hole diatonic.  1D’, 2D’, 2D”, 3D’, 3D”, 3D”‘, 4D’, 6D’, 8B’, 9B’, 10B’ and 10B”.

Next we need to learn the skills necessary to achieve each bend. On first encounter each reed has its own distinct response. In time you will grow used to, and learn to accommodate, these idiosyncrasies. You can find comprehensive instructions for playing draw bends and blow bends in our Harp Skills section (top menu). (more…)