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Harmonica Lessons: "Irish Washer Woman"

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Okay, I'm going to play for
you a very simple, a very famous Irish
melody called the Irish Washer Woman.
It's a lot of [SOUND] in there.
And it goes like this, it's in.
It's a, a jig.
This tune involves sorta
like a blues shuffle rhythm.
It's in first position.
And there's a few things about
it that I want to impart to you.
So, the way this works it's triplets,
[SOUND] how to play this kind of stuff.
You have to re-attack with your throat.
and then you have a choice
when you're going down.
from D to G, to do it either through
the second hole draw or
the third hole blow.
I like third hole blow because otherwise
it's too much inhaling, and this way
it gives you an articulate attack.
So you don't have to hold your
breath while you slide over three
it's one case where changing the breath
direction and jumping over a hole
actually works in your favor.
And also,
you can articulate some of
that stuff with your tongue.
[SOUND] It's kind of like tonguing
on a flute,
except that we are doing it on the inhale.
That's the first
These tunes, almost all Irish tunes and
a lot of fiddle tunes repeat each section.
You do it twice,
cuz they go along with dance steps.
And then the second part goes into.
The minor key.
So it's in E
minor for a second.
We can't play an E minor cord on
the harmonica, but we are arpeggio.
A, C, E.
And that part of the tune
is really good because you have
to go different distances.
Six draw to seven blow.
Six blow to seven blow.
Five draw to seven blow.
And five blow.
To seven blow.
And this is a good accuracy exercise.
Just to go.
And now with the rhythm of triplets.
you notice I sometimes
slide the harmonica.
Sometimes I move my head.
Whatever works for you.
I do a combination of the both.
And to make it sound more Irish,
I will let
I will play a little ornament.
I'll just Do that little warble.
But instead of doing a full
fledged blues warble,
just a little just one little flip.
I can do those little flips.
And as you get better at changing your
breath direction quickly, you can can do,
that one was five draw to six blow.
And this one is.
Five blow to five draw.
that real fast thing that I did.
I actually supported
that from my diaphragm.
But if you wanna do a repeated,
real quick in and out thing,
just as a digression,
you can use what's called mouth breathing.
That's a really easy way to play
fast on one note alternating blow and
I'm just going [SOUND].
I'm not letting any air go in and
out of my throat.
It's just what's in my mouth.
You don't need a lot of air to get those
reeds to vibrate.
They're, they're, they're very sensitive.
[SOUND] Now you can also play this.
can experiment
with that.
And on these.
[SOUND] I was playing the thirds.
Two adjacent holes, five and six.
[SOUND] Five and six.
[SOUND] Draw and blow, and then four and
five draw, then four and five blow.
There's a lot you can do with these
types of simple tunes to make you sound
like a whole band just by yourself.
Irish music has a few special triplets,
that are triplets on one note,
that are derived
from the way the bagpipe fingerings work.
And, I'm gonna play it for you right here.
This is just on the second
part of the tune.
Where it goes
if it goes
I'm doing a [SOUND]
[SOUND], just like I showed you with
but it's on one note
And, if you want to practice that,
you can actually practice playing
a scale with hiddla huddlas.
That's sounds very impressive,
but I'm not moving my mouth fast, or
changing my breath direction fast.
I'm just going.
And, you see, you could apply that triple
tounging technique to single notes,
in any style that you want.
And, I just thought I'd show it to
you here in the Irish Washer Woman,
in the context of Irish music,
where it really is an expression,
a part of an idiomatic phrasing that
they use when they play their tunes.