How Do You Play a Jaw Harp?


Quick Answer

Play the jaw harp by determining the proper hold, pressing the prongs against your teeth, pulling the twanger and releasing it. Move the tongue, and blow air through the harp to change the sound it produces. The time it takes to learn how to play varies between individuals, and continuous practice is essential.

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Full Answer

  1. Grasp the harp

    For a rounded base jaw harp, hold the base between the thumb and first two fingers with the prongs extending through the fingers. For an elongated base, hold the harp parallel with the thumb and forefinger.

  2. Place the harp against your teeth

    Open your mouth so that there is room between your top and bottom teeth for the spring-like twanger at the center of the harp to pass through without hitting them. Press the beveled edge of the open end against your teeth, and press your lips to the prongs of the harp.

  3. Pull the twanger toward you

    Use your right hand to pull the twanger toward you, then release it. Adjust the tone and rhythm by moving your tongue and blowing air through the jaw harp.

  4. Practice playing the instrument

    As with any other musical instrument, learning to play the jaw harp requires practice. Continue to experiment with the placement against your teeth and lips, and adjust the position of your tongue to create the tone you want.

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