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CMDS 240: The Harmonica & the Blues

From the mid-1800s to today, the harmonica has largely been learned informally, passed down by generations of musicians who have used it to play melodies, solos, and chord accompaniment. It was a natural for the blues because of its human voice-like quality and flexible way to play “blue” notes. Blues musicians developed a harmonica style that reverberates in many musical styles today.

This interdisciplinary course focuses on the history and culture of the harmonica and the blues. Students learn about era-related harmonica styles, influential harmonica players, the basics of playing blues-style diatonic harmonica, and the fundamentals of sound. Students will attend a live music performance in the Rochester community.