The overnotes

The covers of Systeme BALLE harmonicas are provided with cells for holes 1, 4, 5, 6 blown, and 7, 9, 10 drawn. By plugging these holes at the back of the instrument, the musician requires less modification of the mouth, allowing the musician to hit the reputedly difficult overnotes more easily. This results on higher precision and speed of play.

The System BALLE allows rapid learning of this advanced technique for experienced harmonica players who have had difficulty otherwise releasing overnotes.

The ergonomic design allows the instrument to be held in one hand and operated with the other, which is accomplished by locating the cell holes at the rear of the harmonica.

The principle:

By blowing normally, the harmonicist will excite the blown reed, and thus trigger a natural note.

By over-blowing, the blown reed will stop vibrating and will block the light. As a result, the exhaled air will only be able to pass through the side of the drawn reed, thus triggering another note. We will call it the overblow.

Physical principle of overblow

The opposite principle applies for overdraws: by over-drawing, the excited reed will be the blown reed.

Physical principle of overdraw

By plugging the cell with your finger, the reed which should be inactive may not block the light tightly. Thus, the overnote will be reached much more easily than with classical diatonic harmonicas.

What is an overnote (overblow or overdraw) for?

Overnotes are used to play chromatically on a diatonic harmonica.

For an harmonica in C

How do you play an overnote?

« Dome » method
« Up » method

When a harmonica player changes his oral cavity while blowing or drawing (see diagram), he can trigger the overnotes. The position of the tongue allows to modify the pitch of the note.

With Systeme BALLE harmonicas, a good adjustment of the reeds and breathing from the diaphragm, it is possible to trigger the 2nd, 3rd, 4th… and even up to the 7th overnotes.