Ethan Askey

Major: The Most Mysterious of Instruments
Beginner to Advanced. This workshop will touch on the bigger chromatic harmonica, but mostly it will focus on the diatonic harmonica aka the blues harp. Surely it must be the most mysterious of musical instruments, as it’s the only one with no strings, no buttons or valves, no keys or surfaces that one can see when playing. The tiny instrument was designed to play simply, but innovators eventually discovered that sounds not designed into the instrument could be created, making for much more complex and colourful music. These “hidden” sounds, once accessed by an intermediate to advanced harp player, offer the blues harp bends, moans, and semi-tones that can make it such a great add to the sound of a song and a blues band. This workshop will demystify the harp and provide insight to playing styles and techniques of some “greats”. We’ll introduce concepts of semi-tones, modal playing, playing with other musicians, “rack harp” and “electric harp”, and related topics. Throughout, we’ll blow some harp together.