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Harmonica Tablatures

A harmonica  is a wind instrument which emits sounds by the vibration of little blades or metal reeds.
Each hole of the instrument can be used to make from 2 to 4 different notes. A different blade (i.e. a different pitch) is selected according to whether the performer blows or draws in the hole.

To select a given hole, the performer covers unwanted holes with his tongue. He can also blow or draw in several holes at the same time, to play a chord.
When blowing or drawing in several consecutive holes, the performer can cover one or several contiguous holes so as not to play them.
All these techniques are used by the program to compute harmonica tablatures.

Advanced techniques enable a blade to be played at a different and higher pitch than normal : this is the overbend.

Some harmonicas have 4 blades for each hole, and a bar called a slide enables the player to select the blades to use.

Harmonicas are split into two big families : chromatic and diatonic.

Chromatic harmonicas can play any semitone over several octaves, but the diatonic harmonica can only play a given set of notes. Diatonic harmonicas are tuned for a specific key, which is generally written on the top of the instrument.

Selecting the instrument

Harmony-Melody offers a choice of five predefined harmonicas.
You can also define a custom harmonica : click "Define" and enter the note pitch for each hole.
A harmonica can have up to 20 holes on two rows.

Tablature computation

Tablature computation, i.e. the association between a note and the corresponding hole-breath pair, is configurable.

Allow bends : make the pitch vary from the more high-pitched blade (with a tongue effect) almost down to the more low-pitched.
Allow overbends :  with the more low-pitched blade, plays the more hi-pitched blade note + one semitone.
Optimize for breath:  it is generally preferable to optimize for breath rather than for hole changes: it is easier to change hole than to change from blow to draw.

Display type
There is no real standard for displaying harmonica tablature. Breath indications can be written in many different ways. Harmony-Melody allows you to choose between the more common systems.

Adding notes

To add notes on a tablature, select a note duration (using the note palette or a keyboard shortcut) and ensure the editing mode is note insert mode.

Select a cell (you can use keyboard shortcuts 0-9, *; /...) or click the tablature staff with the Shift key depressed to make the possible cell list appear in a popup menu.

Move mouse pointer over the tablature. If you selected the "two lines according to breath" mode, cursor location indicates whether note is drawn or blown. Otherwise, you have to use keyboard shortcuts to specify breath.

Bend, overblow and other effect can be selected through a keyboard shortcut too. By default, no key is attributed by the program. Select "Configuration>Edit keyboard" to relate keyboard keys to commands you need for editing a tablature.

You can delete or move a note the same way you do it on a regular staff .

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