Playing Happy Birthday On Harmonica: A Comprehensive Guide

Harmonica Tabs
a harmonica on a wood surface, happy birthday harmonica tab

Become a harmonica pro and play 'Happy Birthday to You' like a pro with this beginner-friendly guide to playing a diatonic harmonica.

Picture of Eamon - Iman RP

Eamon - Iman RP

Founder of Harmonica For All, Instructor

a harmonica on a wood surface, happy birthday harmonica tab

Are you ready to learn how to play “Happy Birthday to You” on a diatonic harmonica? Great!

First, let’s talk about what a diatonic harmonica is. It’s a type of harmonica with 10 holes and plays different notes based on which hole you blow into or draw air from.

Now, let’s start playing “Happy Birthday to You.”

Ensure you have a diatonic harmonica in the key of C. You’ll hear a C note when you blow holes 1, 4, or 7. You can check the pitch of the note with a tuner.

Use this harmonica diagram in C. You can find all the blow notes, draw notes, and try to memorize them; it will help you read harmonica notes and tabs faster.

diatonic harmonica diagram, blues harp in c
Blues Harp in C

 

 

 

Read our post “How To Hold The Harmonica” to learn more about how to hold the harmonica.

Happy Birthday, Harmonica Tab:

For the first line of “Happy Birthday to You,” play the following notes:

Red Square = Blow Note


Green Square = Draw Note

6
6
6
6
7
7
Ha
ppy
Birth
day
to
you



  • Hole 6 Blow (G)
  • Hole 6 Blow (G)
  • Hole 6 Draw (A)
  • Hole 6 Blow (G)
  • Hole 7 Blow (C)
  • Hole 7 Draw (B)

The second line is the same as the first one, except for the end. The biggest challenge in this phrase is making single notes on hole nine and switching between the 8th and 9th holes.
To better play on the 9th hole, allocate some time to hit a few shots on both the 8th and 9th holes. Change between them frequently until you become comfortable with it, then try attempting to play through it all.

6
6
6
6
8
7
Ha
ppy
Birth
day
to
you
  • Hole 6 Blow (G)
  • Hole 6 Blow (G)
  • Hole 6 Draw (A)
  • Hole 6 Blow (G)
  • Hole 8 Draw (D)
  • Hole 7 Blow (C)

Now, it’s time for the 3rd line. Maybe it’s the most challenging phrase to master as it has a giant leap from hole 6 to hole 9.
Here are some helpful exercises for learning this part faster. You can practice these exercises as warm-ups at the beginning of your practice time. Then, make a loop of each exercise and do it as often as you feel comfortable.

  • Ex 1: 6 Blow (G) 9 Blow (G)
  • Ex 2: 6 Draw (A) 9 Draw (F)
  • Ex 3: 6 Blow (G) 9 Draw (F)
  • Ex 4: 6 Draw (A) 9 Blow (G)

Let’s play 3rd phrase:

6
6
9
8
7
7
6
Ha
ppy
Birth
day
to
some
one
  • Hole 6 Blow (G)
  • Hole 6 Blow (G)
  • Hole 9 Blow (G)
  • Hole 8 Blow (E)
  • Hole 7 Blow (C)
  • Hole 7 Draw (B)
  • Hole 6 Draw (A)
You can hold on to the last note (A) a little more. The 4th and the last phrase. We have a descending order of notes in the previous phrase. Here is how to play the last phrase:
9
9
8
7
8
7
Ha
ppy
Birth
day
to
you

Now put together all four phrases to play the entire song.

Red Square = Blow Note Green Square = Draw Note

6
6
6
6
7
7
Ha
ppy
Birth
day
to
you
6
6
6
6
8
7
Ha
ppy
Birth
day
to
you
6
6
9
8
7
7
6
Ha
ppy
Birth
day
to
some
one
9
9
8
7
8
7
Ha
ppy
Birth
day
to
you

For better results, please use this interactive Happy Birthday Harmonica Tab and start playing and practicing with it.

Happy Birthday on Harmonica – YouTube Video

You can use this interactive widget to practice this beautiful song and have more fun. You can set the metronome on different tempos, make a loop from a part of the song, check the notes and tabs, and practice with it until you can play it confidently. You’ve just played “Happy Birthday to You” on a diatonic harmonica. Keep practicing, and soon, you’ll be able to play it easily. 

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