News: HarpNinja V2.5.6 for Android Released!

Learn Harmonica Faster

  • HarpNinja is an innovative harmonica software application that supports your harmonica learning independent of whatever method you are using. It is targeted at beginner/intermediate level harmonica players, but advanced players should also find it useful to sharpen their skills.
    It currently has three modes of use.
  • The Tuning Dojo is where you can visualize all the notes on a diatonic (10-hole) harmonica or 12-Hole Chromatic. Select from 8 commonly available Diatonic tunings (Major, Natural Minor, Harmonic Minor, Melody maker, Country, Diminished, Powerbender, or Suzuki Ultrabend Sub30) or 7 Chromatic Tunings (Standard/Solo, Bebop, C6, C6 Bebop, Diminished, Augmented, or Whole Tone), all 12 Keys, 18 Scales, and 5 Chord types (Maj, Min, 7th, Aug, Dim). You can also switch the display between notes or music intervals. Play your harmonica and the Real time pitch recognition highlights the notes on screen. An audio recorder also allows you to record short segments to hear your own playing. There is also the ability to playback a Song, Scale, or Riff that shows you the notes on the harmonica as they play.
  • The Melody Dojo is an advanced game mode for practising and learning Songs, Scales, & Riffs. When the notes scrolling down the screen reach the green “hit zone” you score points by playing the correct note on your own Harmonica. Select “Pause Mode” if you want the game to stop if you miss the note, and it will wait for you to play the correct note before proceeding to the next one. The difficulty modes of Slow, Normal, & Fast control the overall playback speed, which you can also adjust in the dojo via the speed slider. Tunes are organized by Harmonica position and currently include:
    • Beginner Tunes – No Bends: Baa Baa Black Sheep, Goodnight Ladies, Jingle Bells, London Bridge, Mary Had a Little Lamb, On Top Of Old Smokey, Ring Around The Rosey, Row Row Row Your Boat, Taps, When The Saints Go Marching In, C Chromatic (for chromatic harp)
    • 1st Position tunes in C: C Major scale, 3 Blind Mice, Jingle Bells, La Cucaracha, Lili Marlene, Mary Had A Little Lamb, Oh Susanna, Yankee Doodle Dandy
    • 2nd Position tunes in G: G Mixolydian scale, 12 Bar in G, Frere Jacques, Shuffle in G, Mexican Hat Dance, Twinkle Twinkle
    • 3rd Position in Dm: Dm Dorian scale, Help You Shuffle, Sakura, St James Infirmary in Dm, You Got To Move
    • 4th Position in Am: Am Aeolian scale, Shuffle in Am, St James Infirmary in Am, Swing in Am

    Tunes are able to be transposed to any other key,  and also any other harmonica key and tuning available with HarpNinja. A warning will show if some of the transposed notes are unavailable for the selected transposition.

  • The Circle Dojo is an interactive Circle of Fifth’s specially adapted for harmonica.
    The Circle of Fifth’s is a well known music theory tool for working out chord and scale relationships. See the Help section for links to more information on this useful tool.


System Requirements

  • Windows 7 or later; Mac OS X 10.7 or later, iOS 5+
    [Please note we cannot support Operating Systems that are no longer officially supported by Microsoft or Apple - this means XP and Snow Leopard]
  • Minimum 2ghz processor
  • Graphics card with DirectX 9 level (shader model 2.0) capabilities. Any card made since 2004 should work as long as the drivers are up to date
  • 1 GB Ram Minimum
  • 16bit 44khz compatible Audio capable
  • Note: Some anti-virus applications may need to be configured.
    Microsoft Security Essentials (free for Win platforms) works fine.


  • iPad $19.99
  • Desktop $29.99
  • Price difference between iPad and Desktop versions is due to added desktop functionality for multi-resolution, quality settings, and full screen.

Planned Features

This is version 2 of HarpNinja. We have many ideas for new features & content. The HarpNinja development roadmap is constantly being evaluated based on planned features and user feedback.


How to Use HarpNinja

There are lots of books, audio, video, and website resources from many superb harmonica player/educators that are available for learning harmonica. HarpNinja is not designed to replace this excellent body of harmonica knowledge, but is meant to be used a tool to speed your learning in addition to whatever program or teacher you choose to use. It does this by providing real time feedback on the accuracy of your playing, helping you to visualize the note layouts of different keys, tunings, scales and chords – this being one of the biggest challenges for harmonica players that other instrument learners don’t have. Additional HarpNinja modes help you practice and learn Songs, Scales, and Riffs faster, as well as provide a quick and easy music theory calculator via the interactive Circle of Fifth’s. Here is a selection of some of the best free and paid subscriber harmonica learning resources.

Harmonica Learning Resources

Recommended Beginner Books

Free Web Based Harmonica Resources

Paid Web Based Harmonica Resources

What does Mojo Dojo mean?

  • Mojo means the art or practice of casting magic or spells. In the context of harmonica it means captivating the audience with the power of your music.
  • A Dojo is where you practice and train the way of anything, as long as the way leads you to enlightenment.
  • A HarpNinja trains in the Dojo to work their Mojo!

Quick Tips

  • Make sure you are in a quiet environment so that the microphone only picks up your harmonica playing. Pitch tracking is easily thrown off by other sounds.
  • In Tuning Dojo or Melody Dojo listen to the tune a few times to get a feel for the it before trying to play along. Use the speed slider to listen to it at a different speeds. A faster speed will make it easier to hear the melody. When you are ready to start practising set the speed to the slowest speed possible you are comfortable with. Speed comes with practice. Beginners should drag the speed slider to the left, the default difficulty setting for “Slow”.
  • Pitch recognition will work best if you mute the inbuilt harmonica sound playing over your speakers (press the speaker mute button above the song title). It’s good to listen to tune first, but the inbuilt harmonica sound can also trigger the pitch recognition when you are playing your own harmonica. Use the mute button on screen to quickly mute or unmute the harmonica playback sound.
  • There is also a mute button for the microphone on the pitch recognizer panel. You can use this in combination with the  speaker mute to practise the songs however you wish:
    • Mic on, Speaker On: Depending on your microphone sensitivity you may find notes get triggered by HarpNinja instead of you.
    • Mic on, Speaker Off: Best combination to allow for most accurate pitch tracking.
    • Mic off, Speaker On: Listen to your harp & HarpNinja playback without pitch recognition. Useful for more advanced players at higher speeds where pitch tracking has difficulty with complex short note melodies.
    • Mic off, Speaker Off: Play by visual guide only.
    • This screenshot shows Melody Dojo with Mic On, Speaker Off

  • You will need to play through a few times to get a sense of how the pitch recognition will work best for your playing style. You may find you will have to adjust your breathing and/or embouchure (mouth/lip position) to trigger the notes correctly.

Analytics and Privacy Policy

  • HarpNinja uses analytics to collect gameplay and diagnostics information. This is completely anonymous and provides no identifiable user information. You can turn off this feature off at any time by unchecking “Allow Analytics Data Collection” from the main settings screen.

HarpNinja Main Menus

  • This screenshot shows the start screen.
  • Select your Dojo to start that mode. C = 12-Hole Chromatic Harmonica Dojo, D = 10-Hole Diatonic Harmonica Dojo. If you are online you will see a live news feed along the bottom of the screen. You can also control this manually by the online/offline button. Clicking on the newsfeed will take you directly to this website.
  • Settings is where you change the various global settings.
    • Menu Vol slider controls the menu sound fx volume
    • Harp Vol slider controls the harmonica volume
    • Change Color allows you to customize the background color
    • Difficulty controls song playback speed
    • OverBlow checkbox: to control display of overblows in Tuning Dojo
    • Allow Analytics Data Collection checkbox: to control submission of anonymous usage data in order to improve HarpNinja
    • Audio Input selects how HarpNinja will hear your harmonica
    • Audio Output should be set to Harmonica. Set to None if you want to mute the harmonica sound for some reason.

    Tip: HarpNinja will react to sound also played from the app itself if the volume is to loud, which could interfere with the pitch recognition of your harmonica playing. Optimal use of HarpNinja would be to use headphones to listen to HarpNinja output, so the app will only hear your harmonica input (assuming you are also playing in a quiet location).

  • Help Screen is a condensed version of the help on this website.

Settings Screen

  • Select either a Chromatic or Diatonic button and you will enter the main part of the application for that harmonica type. A quick overview of the controls on the Settings screen which you access by pressing the Settings button:HarpNinja 2014-06-03 11-33-09-16
  • Top Left: Harmonica Key and Tuning Selector. This will change the displayed harmonica to the Key/Tuning you select, and this should be set to the same as the Harmonica you have in your hands.
  • Top Right: Key, Scale or Chord Selector. You can overlay any of these on the displayed harmonica, and have them play by pressing the small play button to the left of the displayed scale notes that will show up below it. Clear the overlay by selecting the first entry
  • Notes or Intervals checkbox will switch the display between notes and intervals
  • Low Tuning will drop the harmonica tuning down a whole octave
  • Transparency slider will fade out the notes display, allowing you to practice your memorization skills as you begin to build your mental models.

Harmonica Screen

  • The Tuning Dojo is where you can visualize all the notes on a diatonic (10-hole) harmonica.
  • Here we see the screen on entry to the Tuning Dojo. This is the default of Key C, Major Tuning. Notes display is selected.
  • The green highlighted note C5 (1 = Tonic note) shows it is being recognized by the real time pitch recognition. The note display is the pitch recognizer, and shows you both how close your harmonica is in tune with the reference note for that hole and pitch being played, and also how loud you are playing.
  • It looks complex but lets take it step by step and break it down by quadrant, like a compass, in order to quickly understand all the features.

    HarpNinja UI Compass

    HarpNinja User Interface Compass

  • Depending on whether you chose C or D on the main menu, the initial display harmonica in the middle is either:
    • A Diatonic (10-Hole) Harmonica in the Key of C  Major (Richter) Tuning.
    • A 12-Hole Chromatic C Harmonica in the Key of C Standard or Solo Tuning.Grab the same harmonica and just start playing to see what happens! You can also click on the individual notes to hear them.
  • A quick overview of the controls according to the UI Compass show above:
    • TIP! Remember the harmonica key and tuning is set via the Settings panel.
    • Top: The seven buttons will be set to the seven most common chords, with the tonic, or #1, chord being set by the Harmonica Position in the circle dojo.  By default this will always be 1st position. Watch the tutorial videos on the website for guidance on how to use this best.
      Pressing each button will load a preset chord that also shows the position of that chord for the harmonica tuning and song display key.
    • Right
      Zoom Button zoom will transition into zoom mode, removing much of the interface so you can just concentrate on the harp. The slider controls transparency of the display. Have a play with it while playing to get a feel for how you might use it. In zoom mode you can use the Pitch to Tab button chat-activeto display the tab detected from the pitch detection. This is only displayed if the pitch display is “unlocked”. See “Bottom” notes below. On the iPad/Android versions of HarpNinja you will also see the video recording controls. Check the Video tutorials on how to use this feature.
    • Bottom Right: Audio Record/Playback controls to record short (up to 30 seconds) snippets of your playing for feedback analysis. Recording will automatically mute the microphone on playback. During tune playback this function is replaced by a song control panel, where you can pause song playback or control the speed of playback.
    • Bottom: Displays the real time pitch detected and volume of your playing. The microphone icon also functions as a “mute microphone” button by clicking on it. A red circle will display on it when muted. Click again to un-mute. By default the “Lock” checkbox is unchecked, so when you play the pitch detector will be displayed at the note location on the harmonica. If you check this (ie: Locked) the pitch detector will be locked in position on the bottom of the screen.
    • Bottom Left
      • Select Tune Button MD-music  to display the “Select Tune” dialog (More info on this below).
  • This shows the same screen with Intervals displayed instead of notes.
  • By pressing the Select Tune button on the bottom left you bring up the Select Tune Menu. You can go back to the main menu, or select a tune to play. This is similar to the Melody Dojo, but different visually.
  • If you elect to play a tune you will get a short countdown and then notes on the harmonica display will light up one after another as the tune plays. Currently all songs are in Key C, Major Tuning so be sure you have this selected. You can play along with the tune, using the changing color of the note to time when you have to play. It starts out red and slowly changes to green. When it is fully green it means the note will be playing, so you ideally want to play the selected note on your harmonica just before. The note will remain green to indicate how long you need to keep playing it for to score full points. If you select the Pause Mode checkbox the tune playback will halt until you play the correct note.
  • Overblows can be displayed by enabling them from the checkbox in the main settings screen.


    Overblow display

Keyboard Screen

  • The keyboard screen is essentially the same as the Harmonica Screen above but uses a keyboard display layout instead of a harmonica.
    HarpNinja 2014-06-03 11-27-35-45

Circle Of 5ths Screen

  • Access the Circle Dojo be pressing the Circle of Fifths button on the Top Menu. The Circle Dojo is a quick and easy music theory calculator – an interactive Circle of Fifth’s. Explore further by reading the Harmonica Learning Resource links above (ex: Diatonic Harmonica Reference).In the top right of the screen you can select either position or chords.
    • Positions: This is suitable for beginners, and will show you all 12 harmonica positions for the key that you select. Just touch on any letters (that represent the key). The key you touched will now be labeled 1 (as the Tonic key is known) and moving clockwise round the circle are progressively numbered from up to 12. The following screenshot illustrates all the harmonica positions for key of C.

      Circle of Fifths Positions

      Circle of Fifths’s Key of C

    • Chords: This is a more complex mode that will suite intermediate to advanced players who are composing songs or playing in a band, & need to quickly calculate the best harmonica/position to play for a song or chord sequence. The following screen shot shows Key of C 1st position. Red numbers indicate major chord, Blue indicate minor chords, and Green diminished. So you can see here 1 (Tonic) = C, 4 (Subdominant) = F, and 5 (Dominant) = G
    • If we keep the key of the Harmonica as C (top left list box) and select 2nd/Mixolydian from the position list box next to the key, we see the following:
      The numbers and types of the chords change according to the music theory of chord/scale progressions.
    • If you press the back button you will go back to the tuning dojo and the chordbuttons on the top will be populated according to the key and position you chose in the circle of fifths.

Songs Screen

  • The Melody Dojo is an advanced game mode for practising and learning Songs, Scales, & Riffs. You will need to use a standard 10-Hole C Major harmonica.Select the type of tune you wish to practise, then select one of the tunes from that type and press Play. After a short countdown playback will start. The next few screens illustrate how to play. Select “Pause Mode” if you want the game to stop if you miss the note, and it will wait for you to play the correct note before proceeding to the next one.
  • When the notes scrolling down the screen reach the green “hit zone” you score points by playing the correct note on your own Harmonica.
  • Green means draw, Blue means blow. The number indicates the harmonica hole, and the length indicates how long you must play the note for in order to score maximum points. Bends are indicated in red, with the number indicating the number of steps to bend down or up.


Short “How To” videos covering different features of HarpNinja

[recorded with previous version 2.2.1. Some workflow differences in V2.5 but basic functions are the same]

How do I get the iPad video to record my harmonica?

HarpNinja Main Menu Overview

HarpNinja Tuning Dojo UI Overview

How do I use the Circle Of Fifths?

All about the Pitchtracker V2.0

All about the Pitchtracker V2.1 Additions – Pitch Lock

All about the Melody Dojo Part 1

All about the Melody Dojo Part 2

HarpNinja V2.2 New Feature – Keyboard View

Stay Tuned…more tutorials to come!


HarpNinja V2.5.6 for Android Tablet Released


1 week ago

HarpNinja V2.5.6 for Android tablets is now released. [PC,OSX, & iPad versions will be updated to V2.5.6 to keep version number consistency in due course] Next up is an optimized version of HarpNinja for smartphones. This will be a stripped … Continue reading

HarpNinja 2.5.5 Released


1 month ago

HarpNinja V2.5.5 for PC/OSX/iPad is released. This version is a bug fix release. Please re-download the PC demo version and install over your existing version to update. OSX and iOS iPad Versions are available from their respective AppStores and should … Continue reading

HarpNinja 2.5 Status


3 months ago

HarpNinja V2.5 PC, OSX, & iPad versions are released. Please re-download the PC demo version and install over your existing version to update. For OSX open the Mac AppStore and you should automatically be able to update. BUG ALERT: Despite … Continue reading

HarpNinja 2.5 – Close to release


3 months ago

HarpNinja V2.5 is close to release. A few changes between V2.2.1 have been rolled up and are being released as V2.5. A major change was a UX/UI redesign to make it easier to deploy to the upcoming Android and smartphone … Continue reading

HarpNinja 2.4 Under development


5 months ago

HarpNinja V2.4 is currently under development. This is a performance release which has involved some extensive internal re-work to increase the DSP accuracy for low tunings, and other internal tweaks. There is no release date as yet as it is … Continue reading


Found a bug in HarpNinja?
Have a suggestion or idea for a new feature?
Ideas for new songs, scales or riffs to add?

All this and more in the  HarpNinja Support Forum

or use the form below to contact us.


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