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Diatonic Harmonica Reference

© MyQuill Creations 1997-2002
Welcome to the Diatonic Harmonica Reference .  These pages over almost everything about the diatonic harmonica, from beginning tips to advanced techniques, with harp-related music theory, in-depth discussions and sample sound clips of dozens of different techniques.  (These require a Real Audio player, available free at  There is a lot of text in many sections that puts together various techniques and ideas, so you can see more about how things work together as a whole, in addition to focussing on the specific topic or technique being addressed.  Along with the text are lots of pictures and diagrams, charts, and tables, to summarize information and provide a quick reference to information in an easy to find, clear, and understandable way.  There is advice to help you choose which harp to get, what keys to get first, finding the best price on line, and much much more.
Take a moment to look over the list of topics, and don't be reluctant to take a look at a section even though you think you already know what it will say based on its title.  Many of the basic, most fundamental techniques are the most important areas to focus on, practice, and develop for as long as you play the harp.  You've never "got it"... you're always just "getting it" better and better.

If you are serious about the harp, these pages are for you.  Enjoy.

Choose a topic heading from the list to the left.

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Name Droppin'

My name is Mike Will, alias MyQuill (can you guess why?).  I'm also known as Brassha'per.  That's pronounced like "grasshopper", but also is a contraction for brass harper .   Whether it's the harp that's brass or the harper who plays brass reeds, it fits just fine.  I picked up the nickname from Howard Levy at his 1998 Harmonica Summit in response to a temporarily final pun.  He said, playing the master in the old Kung Fu TV series, "Ahhh.  Very good grasshopper.. no wait.. Brassha'per", getting in the final lick.   Cooincidentally, my wife had ordered for me (for a Birthday Present) a full set of 12 custom brass round hole Filisko harps (complete with an individual hand-crafted lined hardwood box for each one) .. (yes, I'm braggin'... about my wife! (Hi sweetie ;-) so the nickname was doubly appropriate.. though even Howard couldn't have known that!  So I had the last small smile after all.  And a handle from Howard.

Brassha'per's Ink

We breathe through the harmonica:
  Our breath gives life to the music,
Within it.
Without eyes or fingers
we search and probe its
With our mind and tongue,
Our determination,
Our heart.

Click  for "Stormy Monday"  in Real Audio.

We surround it withour hands;
Embrace it with our lips;
Hide it
from the world.
We are deceived by its simplicity;
Molded by its trickery;
Daunted by its complexity;
Joyful at its capacity
to speak

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The best harmonica information resource anywhere is theHarp-L e-mail list, where some of the top harmonica authors, teachers, and players contribute daily.  To subscribe, send e-mail to:

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That's all there is to it! Expect about 30-40 messages per day.  You can also subscribe to Harp-L-Digest to receive only a few e-mails a day, with many posts per message.  Or, your can read Harp-L from thee-mail list mirror at  To send posts to Harp-Lwithout getting e-mail, subscribe to Harp-L-Friends instead of Harp-L orHarp-L-Digest.

The Harp-L archives contain a wealth of information about all thingsrelated to the harmonica.  If you've got a question on the harmonica, the answer is in the archives.  The archives are available at,and have their own search engine. 

Thanks for visiting.

Send comments or questions to me at myquill at

(C) Michael B Will 1997-2001