What Is A Bent Note?
A bent note is one that is not true to the note the harmonica was designed to play. A draw 4 on a C harmonica
should be a true D note. A bent draw 4 is actually playing it in such a way as to produce a note that is just 1/2
step down or a D flat.
This is how some harmonica players are able to play songs that have sharps and flats that are out of their
natural position in their keys. It is how they use a diatonic scale harmonica to play notes that are not programmed
into their harmonica.
If you are learning to play the chromatic scale harmonica it is recommended that you do not try to bend notes.
It will cause the reeds on your expensive chromatic harmonica to wear out much too soon and these are not cheap to
It is also how you produce a wavy or bluesy sound on your harmonica. By bending a long drawn out note while
playing it you can produce a rather nice sounding emotional expression to your music. Many of the spirituals
included in these lessons sound really good if you bend those long drawn out notes. It gives the song a kind of
How To Bend A Note
1. Only attempt to bend draw notes, not blow notes. For starters stay down on the low end of your harmonica. It
is easier to bend a draw 3 than it is to bend a draw 8.
2. Make sure your lips are well moistened and the harmonica is placed well inside your lips.
3. Make sure you have an airtight connection around a single hole.
4. While drawing air through the hole (a good long draw at that) change the air pressure passing through your
a. An easy way to naturally increase the air flow is to drop your jaw while drawing air maintaining an airtight
fit around the single hole.
b. I suggest to my students in class that they say the word "Yawwww" while drawing air in, this naturally causes
them to drop their jaw.
5. Practice this for a while until you notice the pitch of your tone lowering. Then see if you can cause the
pitch to wave up and down.
6. Once you have learned to bend a note comfortably you are then ready to begin including it in your music
whenever you feel it is appropriate.
I hope these suggestions help.
3 4 -4 5 5 5 -4 5
You are my sun-shine, my on-ly sun-shine,
4 -4 5 -5 -6 -6 6 -5
You make me hap-py when skies are grey
4 -4 5 -5 -6 -6 6 -5
You'll nev-er know dear how much I love you
Play this song on your C Harmonica
Suzuki Promaster Harmonica
from Coast to Coast Music