To Thread - Forum Home

The Mudcat Café TM
9 messages

Harmonica TABLATURE On-Line

28 Jun 04 - 09:19 AM (#1215476)
Subject: Harmonica TABLATURE On-Line
From: John in Brisbane

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.

28 Jun 04 - 09:30 AM (#1215479)
Subject: RE: Harmonica TABLATURE On-Line
From: John in Brisbane

Sorry, but I pushed the Submit button prematurely. There are a number of points I was going to add, but I'll wait to see if there's any interest first.

Best Regards, John

28 Jun 04 - 12:30 PM (#1215600)
Subject: RE: Harmonica TABLATURE On-Line
From: pavane

Actually, the HARMONY melodeon tablature can do all of this, although admittedly the graphic is not as good. I could fix that though.
You would need to define a suitable instrument in the right key.
Perhaps I will do that in the next version.

HARMONY will also indicate which notes cannot be played on the defined instrument.

HARMONY is not an online program, but if you are using its own tablature, then you don't need to go online!

HARMONY can import from (simple) MIDI files, and export to abc, so should be able to provide the abc needed for import to the harmonica program.

You should remove directives as well as comments (Directives in abc version 2 start with %%, so they look like comments anyway)

29 Jun 04 - 08:38 AM (#1216139)
Subject: RE: Harmonica TABLATURE On-Line
From: Áine

Thanks John in Brisbane! I had such a great time last night printing out tabs for some of my favorite tunes. And since I'm a rank beginner on the harmonica, this is a perfect way for me to quickly learn some tunes.

Thanks again for a great link!!

All the best, Áine

30 Jun 04 - 12:43 AM (#1216742)
Subject: RE: Harmonica TABLATURE On-Line
From: John in Brisbane

I'm a real advocate for TAB and/or anything else which will help beginner musos. Hope you continue to have great fun. Let me know when you do your first gig. Don't wait too long though - I'm not a youngster any longer.

Best Regards,

30 Jun 04 - 11:34 PM (#1217441)
Subject: RE: Harmonica TABLATURE On-Line
From: Bob Bolton

G'day John,

I've popped a "tracer" on this thread - and I'll have to put the site in my "Favourites" ... when I get home. For myself, I prefer music, because it tells you so much more and is easier to understand, but I know that many beginners find various tab systems helpful to get started ... and I find writing up tabs very boring!

One of my Monday Night Music Workshop mentioned that an old friend (a non-music-reader) would be along in the next weeks and hoped to learn to play harmonica ... so I might get a good field trial of this (and/or Harmony) in the near future.


Bob Bolton

02 Jul 04 - 08:12 AM (#1218256)
Subject: RE: Harmonica TABLATURE On-Line
From: John in Brisbane

Here's another nice tune to try, just copy and paste it into the On Line Harmonica Tablature Generator.

C:Richard Rodgers
|: "C"E2G | "G7"d3 | "C"c2G | "F"F3 | "C"E2E | EFG | "Dm"A3 | "G7"G3 |
| "C"E2G | "G7"d3 | "C"c2G | "F"F3 | "C"E2G | "G7"GAB | "C"c3- | c3 ||
||"G7"d z/G/ G | BAG | "C"E2G | c3 | "F"A2c | "D"d2c | "G"B3 | G3 |
| "C"E2G | "G7"d3 | "C"c2G | "F"F3 | "C"E2G | "G7"GAB "C"c3 | c3 :|

Regards, John

12 Jul 04 - 10:09 AM (#1223843)
Subject: RE: Harmonica TABLATURE On-Line
From: John in Brisbane

Jeff has kindly agreed to post an image of the TAB for Edelweis here. The blow/draw lines are a bit wobbly but I believe it's still pretty straightforward - you 'draw' on the top numbers and 'blow' on the bottom numbers.

The convention is to hold the harmonica such that the lowest notes are on your left. Many harmonicas have the hole numbers printed on the top-plate, but if not don't worry, just treat the left most hole as Number 1.

Happy playing.

Regards, John

25 Jul 04 - 11:43 AM (#1233381)
Subject: RE: Harmonica TABLATURE On-Line

has anybody got any quincy jones for c chromatic harp-super 64
how about any weather report