The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #71149   Message #1215476
Posted By: John in Brisbane
28-Jun-04 - 09:19 AM
Thread Name: Harmonica TABLATURE On-Line
Subject: Harmonica TABLATURE On-Line
There have been a number of threads over the years on this subject, but consider that this is worthy of its own appearance.

The Harmonica is an easy to learn instrument where Tablature is of great help for beginners.

There's a Web site Click Here which allows you to use the TABS at this site OR to easily create your own.

For DO-It-Yourself TAB creation all you need is a music file that is written in ABC NOTATION, which you copy and paste to the Editor screen at the Web Site, press the 'Process' button and you get your choice of TAB Graphics showing which hole of the harmonica to blow or draw (read 'suck'), create a MIDI file to play using Media Player (or the Mac equivalent). In addition you can force the output using a harmonica is a 'cross' key. Hence if the piece of music is in the key of D, you can easily explore how you might use a harp in C, G or A to play (most of) the same notes. This is great if you want to proceed beyond the 'straight' playing where you would use a D harp.

I would normally recommend that use the straight method, ie if the piece is witten in (say) E, then enter (say) 'E' in the box labelled 'Force conversion to HARP in key _'.

There are literally tens of thousands of tunes in ABC Notation on the Web. A good first port of call is the ABC Notation Homepage at its new location

In addition the ABC Notation for the songs in the Digital Tradition are easily copyable from the downloadable version of the Digital Tradition, available right here at Mudcat.

Or you can download a program such as HARMONY which allows you to import a MIDI file for any song in the ON-LINE version of the Digital Tradition. Simply insert the name (or part thereof) in the search box for 'Lyrics and Knowledge Search'. When you click on a tune name in the 'Results' section you will see 'CLICK TO PLAY'. RIGHT click on "CLICK TO PLAY' and your PC will ask you to save the target file to a disc. Save to a favourite directory. Use HARMONY to open this .mid (MIDI) file. I'll ask PAVANE (the author) to add some comments about obtaining the resultant ABC output later in this thread. Once you have HARMONY installed then this whole process of getting a MIDI file from Mudcat and convrting to ABC Notation format only takes a minute.

The final alternative is to stumble across a tune in the Mudcat threads which is already in ABC Notation. Here's a recent example, just copy and paste into the on-line editor as mentioned in the first part of this thread:

C:Alan Bell - 1970
N:from the sheet music (sent in by S&R)
z4D2|"G"G4B2|"D"D4D D|"C"C2E2G2|"G"G2D3D|
G2G2B2|"D"D4-D ^C|"C"C2E2G2|"G"G6|
G2G2B2|"D"A4-A F|"C"G2E2E2|"G"G2D4|
G4D D|"G"G4B B|"D"D4D ^C|"C"C2E3G|"G"G2D4|
G2G2B2|"D"D4D ^C|"C"C2E2G2|"G"G6|
G2G2B2|"D"D4D ^C|"C"C2E2G2|"G"G6-|G4z2

The above tune requires no modifications to be posted to the on-line Harmonica TAB Creator, but for those who are familiar with ABC Notation there are a few simple rules about the notation that you paste to the on-line editor (As quoted at the site) - nothing too drachonian.

Be careful about carriage returns: you should rearrange the file so that all pre processing commands (for instance T: or K: ) at the beginning of the notation are at the beginning of a line.

Be also careful about having all pre processing commands values on a single line. The converter needs the commands K:(the key, C by default) L:(semiquaver 1/16 by default), Q: (tempo, 120 by default, make it simple like Q:120, always for the crochet). You can choose to take the rest of the commands away or to leave them. They won't be interpreted anyway.

Remove comments yourself: comments are written with % signs.

Take care about voices: if you take notation for piano, with more than one voice, then you should take away the voice you don't need. Voices are indicated by V:1 or V:2 signs. All notes that come after the voice sign concern the voice.

Signatures: in ABC signatures are quite extended. We understand them some how more simply. Write them as A, G or Am, Gminor. But refrain using Amajor, just use A.

Octaves: the octaves are re-arranged so that they fit for a harmonica. Key like G,, are interpreted as G,. For high notes, keys like a'' are interpreted as a'. You might leave them as they are, the converter will do this job.