soaking, music-tex and Slim Harpo

in his message of 11 october, Richard A. Murphy writes:
> Note: I'm note saying the brass gets thicker, but that the overall
> thickness of the reed plus water film is thicker than the reed alone and
> that that increased mass in some way helps.
> Maybe someone who has done some work on harp reeds (tuning, etc.) can
> comment on what the effect is when one adds to the mass of the reed or
> maybe, as I guess might more be the case, what happens when one subtracts
> from the mass of the reed.

I think adding to the mass of the reeds will lower their pitch, as can be
derived from physical theory of harmonic oscilators, as I remember from high-
school. Decreasing their mass will thus lower the pitch. I think this is the way
harmonicas are tuned when they come from the factory, as harmonica reeds always
have a lot of little scratches, where some of the brass has been sanded off.

But if water has the same efect? I don't think so. I have the practice of
playing harp when I'm standing under the shower (because of the wonderful
acoustics of my shower). I always play with a plastic comb-harp (Hohner
special 20 or Lee-Oscar). After a while water will get in the reeds and the
sound (and pitch) will change, sometimes quite uncontrolably. But sound changes
are mostnoticable when water gets blown (or sucked) _out_of_ the harmonica, and
the effect of the water always disappears within 5 minutes of playing after I
leave the shower. When I play under the shower too long, the reeds will get
stuck by the excess water, and I will have to slap the water out.

I used to play on wood-combed harps and soak them, but stopped doing that after
I went on a trip to India. In the very moist climate there, my harps remained
swollen all the time, or they would swell from moisture in my breath when I was
playing. I even suspect the woodwork of getting a bit moldy, because my harps
got a rather funny taste after a while. (Could this be possible?) So now I've
become quite addicted to plastic combed harps.

For somethin completely different: I have tried  musicTex, but I'm affraid
that its a bit too sophisticated and hard to learn for the limited purposes you
would use it for when writing down harp-music. I found also some flaws in the
files I got from the FTP-site. So we're probably stuck with improvised notations
until something better comes along.

Anyway, one of my favorite harp-players is Slim Harpo, about whom I never read
anything on this list, although he has some very beautiful licks, one of which
I wanted to write down, but I didn't bring my harmonica, so I'll probably mail
it tomorrow.

Bart de Boer,
the Netherlands.

This archive was generated by a fusion of Pipermail 0.09 (Mailman edition) and MHonArc 2.6.8.