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Harmonica Lessons: Advanced Tongue Blocking: "Beethoven Violin Concerto"

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So welcome
to advanced tongue
blocking techniques.
What I just did was,
I started on one hole.
Spread out to two holes.
And then I tongue blocked the second hole
and blew into one and three.
And then
I expanded my mouth to tongue
block two and three
and blew out of one and four.
Expanded my mouth to blow from one to
five and blocked out two three and four.
Now, I'm playing into one and
six blocking two, three, four and five.
My tongue is blocking out each one,
each time.
And, as you can see from the side,
my mouth is going, the harmonica is
going more and more into my mouth
to be able to do this.
And eventually,
I can tongue block from one to ten.
Excuse me, [LAUGH] from one to seven.
I can also do this coming down from seven.
The reason I'm showing you this is that in
some of the advanced
tongue blocking techniques
that I'm gonna show you that I
actually use this expansion and
contraction of my embouchure
to play accompaniments and
counter points to myself.
Some of them I don't use such
a dramatic expansion and contraction,
but some of them I do.
The thing that most of you know,
might have heard is my
little rendition of the melody from
the Beethoven Violin Concerto.
It's very similar to the cadenza that
is played in that piece quite often,
written by Fritz Kreisler.
And so the main theme, I'm using a G
harmonica by the way, the reason I'm using
a G harmonica here is that it is a richer,
fuller sound for this kind of stuff.
The main
theme goes
and then
what I did is
Now, I do it more quickly so
I'll play it the actual way I do it.
So what
I'm doing now is,
I'm playing
from one to five.
And then, two to five.
So I'm changing the overall
size of my embouchure from five
holes to four holes
and I'm blocking everything in between
the two sides.
And it's triplets,
so it's
just the notes that
the harmonica gives me.
And on the right side
so together it's
So while I'm holding
I'm changing the left
side of my mouth
And you can see that some of
the changing is done by tilting my hand.
Some of it's done by putting the harmonica
further into my mouth, it's a feel thing.
And the way I'm visualizing
this as I visualize most things
is the two hands on the piano so
I see the right hand
notes going like this.
And I see the left hand
notes going like this.
Because, now that i'm accompanying
the melody with a arpeggiated
pattern of a G chord and
a D chord which is all that the bottom
of the harmonica gives me
That's how i'm seeing it in my mind,
as the two hands on the piano.
the middle of
the piece.
that time,
what I am doing is I am
using the D as a drone,
the same way that a violinist would
use the open D string on his violin.
So I am switching back and forth between
the D that's the second hole draw and
the D that's the third hole blow.
The same way that I would go
except that the left side of my mouth
in this case, is moving back and
forth between two different holes.
But you're not aware
of it if I do it well enough.
So you can
practice going.
D and F sharp, in other words,
two, three draw.
[SOUND] Three, four blow.
[SOUND] Two, four draw.
[SOUND] Three, five blow.
>> Two, five draw.
if you do them all smoothly and
move the left hand side
of your mouth smoothly.
It just sounds very
natural and normal.
And then
three and five blow, and then I just move,
get my tongue out of the way and
just play three and four.
And that is
I'm playing one draw,
and expanding my embechore
outward from one and
two, to one and three,
to one and four,
to one and five
and then
which is one and six,
two and four, three and
You can end it all sorts of ways.
So when I do this kind of
thing people say, Man,
it sounds like you have two tongues.
Or, it sounds like you're blowing out and
in at the same time, it's impossible.
Well, there are very few things
that you can do like this.
But if you find things that you can do
like this, it sure is a wonderful sound,
and it really makes people's jaws drop.
Because it's not that hard to do, so
much as it's just takes some knowledge
of harmony that I have from the piano.
And it takes a tremendous
amount of concentration.
And working on very precisely
playing these different
intervals on the harmonica.
Blocking, one hole, two holes.
Switching from one side of your
mouth to the other for the melody.
It just takes a lot of work.