Harp Guru App for diatonic and chromatic harmonica

Harp Guru App

The Harp Guru app was designed by software developer Joseph Sinfield as a tool to help players navigate around the often confusing tonal layout of the diatonic harmonica in a wide range of tunings. It allows the user to choose a designated tuning, playing position, song key or harmonica key and features a display which shows the available notes in a wide range of modal scales in the chosen parameters. HarpGuru is primarily intended for mobile phone use and will also run on tablets, but not on desktop computers. It’s available in both Android and iOS.

It can be very helpful for players who for example are looking for the best harmonica key, position or tuning to play a particular song in a given key. It also provides a useful overview of options for playing in a particular mode or scale in the desired key. The tonal layout display shows all natural notes, bent notes and overbends and scale tones can be displayed either as notes (including enharmonic variations) or scale degrees.

The main menu is shown on the right hand side. Symbols indicate the functions mentioned above. The top one allows you to select position, harp key and song key. If you set any one of these parameters, the other two can be altered. The next one down allows you to select from a range of 46 (!) different tuning options including the new Hohner Penta Harp as well as Major Diatonic, Country, Natural Minor and many others including some pretty obscure ones. The third field is for selecting the desired scale and also offers chord arpeggios for the most commonly encountered chords. The next field permits the user to switch between scale degrees and notes and the next offers different display options for the schematic diagram of tonal layout. Finally there’s a quiz button where you get asked to identify particular notes in the chosen key and tuning.

Harp Guru is useful tool for anyone interested in exploring the possibilities of non-standard tunings, but is also a versatile learning aid for players who just wish to find out more about positions playing in standard tuning. It won’t teach you how to play, but it may help you gain a better grasp of what you’re playing and it opens up new avenues of exploration for modal playing in all keys across a huge range of tunings. Harp Guru is available to download for €4,99 from the App Store.

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