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10 Easy Harmonica Songs (& How to Play Them) | Beginner Harmonica Lesson & Harp Tabs

Updated: Mar 6


The harmonica is a great instrument for beginners. It's small, portable, and easy to learn.


The awesome news is there are many easy harmonica songs that you can learn today, even if you've never played an instrument before!


In this lesson I'll teach you to play 10 easy harmonica songs. Watch the video to follow the prompts and play along with me.


TOP TIP: Types of harmonica

There are other types of harmonica available. Check out my guide to the 3 most common types of harmonica.


Reading harp tabs

To play the below songs on harmonica, you need to follow tablature (tabs).


Tabs are really easy to use. They tell you the hole number and the direction of airflow. I use the most common and easy tab system. Positive numbers mean blow (exhale); negative numbers mean draw (inhale).


TOP TIP: Clean single notes

To play songs well, you need to get single notes. Check out my guide to the 3 ways to play clean notes on harmonica


Below you'll find 10 song tabs. You can play them in any order, but I've arranged them roughly from the easiest onwards. So let's get on with the songs!


Easy Harmonica Songs:


1. Mary Had a Little Lamb

This is a classic children's song that's perfect for beginners. It only uses three holes of the harmonica so you'll be able to play a whole melody without moving around much.


5 -4 4 -4 5 5 5

Mary had a little lamb

-4 -4 -4

Little lamb

5 6 6

Little lamb

5 -4 4 -4 5 5 5

Mary had a little lamb

5 -4 -4 5 -4 4

Whose fleece was white as snow


2. Row Row Row Your Boat

Another children's song that makes for excellent harmonica practice. This time we'll be playing over a range of four holes.


4 4 4 -4 5

Row, row, row your boat

5 -4 5 -5 6

Gently down the stream

7 7 7 6 6 6 5 5 5 4 4 4

Me-rr-ily, me-rr-ily, me-rr-ily, me-rr-ily

6 -5 5 -4 4

Life is but a dream


3. Edelweiss

'Edelweiss' is a song from the musical The Sound of Music. The song is about a flower that grows in the Alps, and is used as a song of hope and love. It will stretch you by taking your playing up to hole 8.


5 6 -8 7 6 -5

Edelweiss, edelweiss

5 5 5 -5 6 -6 6

Every morning you greet me

5 6 -8

Small and white

7 6 -5

Clean and bright

5 6 6 -6 -7 7 7

You look happy to meet me


-8 6 6 -7 -6 6 5 6 7

Blossom of snow may you bloom and grow

-6 7 -8 7 -7 6

Bloom and grow for-ev-er

5 6 -8 7 6 -5

Edelweiss, edelweiss

5 6 6 -6 -7 7 7

Bless my homeland for-ev-er


4. Happy Birthday to You

This is one song that almost everyone knows! It's also a great way to practice your harmonica skills. You need to reach hole 9 with this one.


6 6 -6 6 7 -7

Happy birthday to you

6 6 -6 6 -8 7

Happy birthday to you

6 6 9 8 7 -7 -6

Happy birthday dear [someone]

-9 -9 8 7 -8 7

Happy birthday to you



5. This Old Man

This classic children's song has a great jaunty rhythm so it's great practice for moving around quickly from note to note.


6 5 6 6 5 6

This old man, he played ONE

-6 6 -5 5 -4 5 -5

He played knick-knack on my THUMB

5 -5 6 4 4 4 4

With a knick-knack, paddywhack

4 -4 5 -5 6

Give a dog a bone

6 -4 -4 -5 5 -4 4

This old man came rolling home



6. On Top of Old Smokey

This is a folk song that is popular in the southern USA. It's popular at campfires and singalongs so it's a useful one to know!


4 4 5 6 7 -6

On top of old Smokey

-6 -5 6 -6 6

All covered with snow

4 4 5 6 6 -4

I lost my true lover

5 -5 -5 5 -4 4

From (a-)courting too slow


7. Humpty Dumpty

You should already be familiar with this nursery rhyme about a man (or egg?) who falls off a wall and breaks into pieces. This song will get you jumping between non-adjacent notes on the last line.


5 6 -5 -6 6 -6 -7 7 Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall

5 6 -5 -6 6 5 4 -4 Humpty Dumpty had a great fall 5 5 6 -5 -5 -6 6 -6 -7 7 All the king's horses and all the king's men 8 8 7 -9 -9 8 -8 7 -7 7 Couldn't put Humpty together again


8. Home on the Range

This is a cowboy song that is popular in the US. Again, you'll have to reach the upper register as high as hole 9.


6 6 7 -8 8

Oh give me a home

7 -7 -6 -9 -9 -9

Where the buffalo roam

8 -9 9 7 7 7 -7 7 -8

And the deer and the antelope play

6 6 7 -8 8

Where seldom is heard

7 -7 -6 -9 -9 -9

A discouraging word

-9 -9 8 -8 7 -7 7 -8 7

And the skies are not cloudy all day


9 -9 8 -8 8

Home, home on the range

6 6 7 7 7 7 -7 7 -8

Where the deer and the antelope play

6 6 7 -8 8

Where seldom is heard

7 -7 -6 -9 -9 -9

A discouraging word

-9 -9 8 -8 7 -7 7 -8 7

And the skies are not cloudy all day


9. Sound of Silence

'The Sound of Silence' was a hit for Simon & Garfunkel in 1964 and sits beautifully on harmonica.


-4 -4 -5 -5 -6 -6 6

Hello darkness my old friend

4 4 4 5 5 6 6 -5

I've come to talk with you again

-5 -5 -5 -6 -6 7 7 -8 -8 7

Because a vision softly creeping

-5 -5 -6 -6 7 7 -8 -8 7

Left its seeds while I was sleeping

-5 -5 -8 -8 -8 8 -9 -9 8 -8 7

And the vision that was planted in my brain

-8 7 -6

Still remains

-5 -5 -5 7 5 -5 -4

Within the sound of silence


10. Ode to Joy

Our final song is this famous classical piece. It's a great way to challenge yourself as a harmonica player. It's a little more difficult than the previous songs but it's beautiful and well worth the effort. Good luck!


5 5 -5 6 6 -5 5 -4 4 4 -4 5 5 -4 -4


5 5 -5 6 6 -5 5 -4 4 4 -4 5 -4 4 4


-4 -4 5 4 -4 5 -5 5 4 -4 5 -5 5 -4 4 -4 3 5


5 5 -5 6 6 -5 5 -4 4 4 -4 5 -4 4 4


So there you have it: 10 easy harmonica songs and how to play them. I wish you the best of luck with your practice and hope to see you for another lesson again soon!


TOP TIP: More free tabs

I have 100's of free tabs on my website - visit the Free Tabs page for more.


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