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Harmonica Lessons: "Stormy Monday"

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This is kind of a transition
between blues and jazz
because you got the 12 bar blues, the one,
the four.
Then the one, but
then it goes up to the A flat.
And the G and the D7.
These are sort of shadings of this chord.
They're called the flat fifth
because they're a flatted fifth away
from the more mainstream chords.
G7 to D7 to G7.
To G7 again.
So, A flat 7 is a flatted
fifth away from D7, and
D flat 7 is a flatted 5th away from G7.
These are very rich colorations and
shadings, and as a harmonica player,
when you play all the chords like this
It's good to just know the roots.
That's the first thing you should learn,
because, as blues player,
if you're sitting in
with blues guys who
are a little bit more jazzy,
they're going to throw these
little shadings at you.
And sometimes they'll do it in a very
predictable way, same thing every time.
But the jazzier the musician
that you play with,
they'll throw it at you
in unpredictable ways.
And part of the reason they throw it at
you it's fun for them they enjoy it it
expresses a few more nuances in shadings
of feeling, but also sometimes they're
just trying to test you; especially if
your sitting in with jazz musicians.
There's a jazz jam session and you've
finally have gotten up your courage enough
to walk up on stage and say, let's play
a blues in G, with a jazz rhythm section.
And believe me, they're not gonna
play the same simple chords
that a blues band is gonna play
when they play blues in G.
So Stormy Monday is kind of
a bridge between the two.
So we keep going here to the four chord,
to the C7.
And sometimes there's a C
sharp diminished 7th in there.
I just played a diminished scale.
Ooh, I didn't teach you that yet.
And this is a major 7th, a G major 7th.
That triangle is jazz shorthand for
Whenever you see a triangle,
that's major 7.
[SOUND] And then, A minor 7.
then B minor 7.
[SOUND] It's B,
D, F sharp, A.
And then the one that really kills
harmonica players, D flat minor 7.
Now you have to,
if you're going to arpeggiate the chord.
In other words, play the notes of
that chord one note at a time.
You have to know what they are.
It's B flat.
D flat.
A flat.
3rd hole draw bent on a half step.
4th hole draw.
Bent down.
4th hole, draw bend.
5 draw.
And 6 draw bend.
Just to learn how to outline.
You don't wanna sound like you're giving
a theory lesson when you're soloing,
but it's good to know how
the outline of the chords work, so
you don't hit really clunker notes.
It's good to get this into your brain.
And then instead of
a five chord, it's a two.
And then a five chord.
Either with a sharp 9 or a flat 13.
In jazz, they give,
they play the extensions of the chords not
just the seventh, but the play the ninths,
the elevenths, the thirteenths
which are extensions above seventh.
You have to learn all this stuff
eventually because it's very specific.
And then it goes G, E, A,
D which is like I got rhythm.
It's one, six, two, five.
And a lot of blues licks work
over that, believe it or not.
So you can
play your
basic blues
Now, if they hit that major 7th,
you don't wanna play
or hitting that flat 7 [SOUND].
This is where you have to, the major 7
chord is really where the blues world
crosses over into the jazz world,
if someone hits a major 7th chord.
As a harmonica player, you really
have to be careful not to just be Mr.
Blues all the time when those
jazz chords start coming out and
this is where that stepping
stones thing can serve you.
You can play a pentatonic run.
Because there is no seventh at all in
the pentatonic majors.
It's one, two, three, five, six or
anything that doesn't
have a seventh in it.
If you can
hit the major 7th.
Fifth hole overblow,
second hole draw bend down a half step,
it's okay.
But I'd say in the beginning, when you
hear major 7th, just avoid 7 at all.
See, I'm following
the chords like this.
If I want to,
I can arpeggiate all of them.
this is where
you have to also
make a decision.
Do I still wanna sound like a bluesy guy,
do I wanna sound a little bit more jazzy.
And depending on the context you
playing in, there's no simple answer.
If you have the skills to sound more
jazzy, you might wanna sound more jazzy.
But if you're playing in a real
blues context, maybe you
might not wanna show them everything you
know because they guys will be like hey,
that isn't blues, what are you doing?
Even though these are jazzy chords,
blues bands will play this thing, but
they don't want guys soloing over it,
sounding like jazz musicians
on the harmonica, necessarily.
So its a funny thing that's why
I'm showing you this piece.
It's kind of a bridge between the world
of blues and the world of jazz.
And you hear a lot of this kind of bluesy
chord progressions in old Count Basie
records with Jimmy Rushing singing it,
with two fives, one six, two fives turn
arounds instead of one four, one five turn
arounds instead of five, four, one, five.
You hear two, five, one, six, two, five.
They've sort of rounded off
the hard edges of blues and
made it even more smoothly flowing.
I sort of
went into
from swing
into bebop
there with
the flat
5ths over
the 7th
You see that the same chord
progression can be used as the bed for
different kinds of soloing,
depending on the context that you're in.
You're in a blues band,
playing this thing slow, as Stormy Monday.
It can go all the way from being there,
to being in a bebop band,
where they're playing this as the bed for
more Charlie Parker and
beyond based jazz soloing.
So, you can take this
as far as you want and
take it into any style of
music that you want but
the basic material here that
I'm trying to impart to
you is to outline the arpeggios
of the chord changes.
the more you
do that,
the more you'll
chord changes.
And if you sit down at the piano,
and try to, if you take.
Maybe, you might wanna sign up for
a basic jazz theory class on a piano,
just jazz theory.
Because you don't need to be
a great pianist to do that,
to find a place and go in and
say you know, I'm a harmonica player.
I wanna learn more about jazz chords and
jazz theory,
would you take me on if I buy
a keyboard and learn the simple stuff.
So, I'd say that's a very good
thing to do when you're ready for
it, and as far as sending me in things,
if you find a backing track,
I'm gonna probably put one up online here.
So, when I put up the backing track for
Stormy Monday, if you wanna play along and
try to follow along with
these chord changes,
I'd love to hear what you're doing.
And please, send me a video of that.