C&W + Bending hole 5??????

  First of all, thanks Winslow for the great discussion.  The song is in D
that's why I was using a G harp (2nd position), but all of your comments
still apply.  I got the scale from David Harp's book on basic music theory
and he said it was a good way to start C&W, that is, start with the two
notes before the root and then progress up a "C&W" scale.  The book
includes sections on pentatonic scales but I have to check what the
differences were between the pentatonic and C&W scales.

  Now about bending notes.  The best and easiest to understand
description on the physics of bending/overblowing notes is in Steve
Baker's Harp Handbook.  The way it works is this.  The lower 6 blow notes
are lower in tone than the lower 6 draw notes.  You can bend the draw
notes down to within a semitone of the blow note.  This is why the 5 draw
bend is flipping everyone out because there is no discreet semitone
between the two notes.  You do however, in my opinion, get a bluesy
distortion of the 5 draw note that sounds good.

  Anyway, that's what you are hearing.  Now to make the sound is a little
tricky.  Drawing of course activates the draw reed, blowing vibrates the
blow reed.  When you draw bend however, you are directing airflow up to
the blow reed and activating it.  This activation is different than when
you are just blowing on it though and thus, you get a different note.  So
when you draw bend, you are really raising the pitch on the blow note.

  That last paragraph must sound like voodoo, but it's the truth.  The
reason different airflows affect the reed differently is due to the offset
of the reed.  The reed is usually set up slightly higher than level in the
reedplate.  When you blow you push the reed down, past level, until it
hits the right tension and snaps back.  This is the vibration that sounds
a note.  When you draw bend, your airflow is actually pushing the reed UP
farther than even its offset until it hits the right tension and snaps
backs.  This vibrational frequency is different and so the note sounded is

  If you still don't believe me, take the covers off of your harp.  Go to
a mirror and draw bend a note.  You will see the blow reed vibrating.  Put
your finger on the draw reed and it will still sound the note.  

  By the way, overblowing is the same phenomenon, but this time you are
pushing the draw note in a different manner than when you simply suck on


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