Obviously, diatonic harmonica requires bending a note to get a chromatic scale.

Chromatic harmonica (16-hole like Hohner 64) can get a full chromatic scale by pressing or releasing the side button.

According to Anthony Labarre on Chromatic harmonica: Bending offers a smooth transition from one note to the other, which you cannot obtain if you only use the "button" -- if this means anything to you, it's the same difference between bending a note on the guitar and moving your finger to play both notes one after the other.

The bending note chart for the diatonic harmonica is well known see Diatonic harmonica: How to play the draw bend with the three semitones down (effectively)?

My question:

What is the bending note chart for the chromatic harmonica?

Are the bending techniques in 16-hole Chromatica (like Hohner 64) similar or different from those of the diatonic harmonica?

  • Horner was Little Jack, who sat in a corner. M. Hohner manufactured harmonicas.
    – Tim
    Aug 29, 2022 at 8:32

1 Answer 1


An experienced chromatic player can bend most notes down by 1, sometimes 2 semi-tones. Blow notes take a bit more practice than draw notes, and the lowest octave on your Hohner 64 will also be more challenging.

Bending up a note is physically impossible.

This is pretty consistent from hole to hole, and depends mostly on the skill of the player, so there isn't really a need for a bending chart.

And yes, the technique is similar to a diatonic but not quite the same.


Both the diatonic and chromatic harmonica have two reeds per air chamber: One for the blow note, and one for the draw note.

With a diatonic harmonica, these reeds are positioned on opposite sides of each other (one up and one down). When you are bending a note on a diatonic harmonica, you are always interacting with both reeds. As also explained here. Since each hole can have a different interval between the draw and the blow reed, so are the bending properties also different from hole to hole.

A chromatic harmonica is built differently: First of all, the blow and draw reed are next to each other, and furthermore, there are usually valves (also known as windsavers) that close off the blow reed when drawing air and vice-versa. For these two reasons, you can only interact with one reed at a time. Therefor, there isn't that much variation from hole to hole, and no need to make a chart:

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