Re: Midi Harp also Harmonica Rascals
Keith Graham calls the usefulness of the midi-harp into question.
Well he may be correct. Digital technology can reproduce analog sound
with only limited resolution--it turns what is really a smooth continuum
into a series of tiny steps, so technically there is the same essential
chasm between midi sound and "real" music as between continuous and
discontinuous mathematical functions. Further, I would agree that no
existing transducer could probably even pick up the subtle, high speed
changes in air flow that are heard as varying timbre, wow, flutter,
growl, and other mouth effects.
On the other hand, the present technology does not define the
technical limits. Today's prototype will be the beginning, not the end of
making a midi harp that can perfectly immitate a real one. Also, despite
its current limitations, midi technology has produced some amazing
sounds. I don't see why only keyboardists, guitarists and Kenny G should
be allowed to play with them, while we who have spent much time learning
to play the harmonica should be shut out from such experimentation.
Changes in musical style are often driven by advances in music
technology, from the invention of the piano forte to the electric guitar.
If one's musical interests lie solely in the present styles as
interpreted through contemporary instruments, then indeed, why
experiment? You would have to tie me down to switch my 270 for a midi
harp. Nevertheless, I believe harpers of all styles could enjoy the
possibilities inherent in a midi harp, even one with very limited
Spence Pearson pearsone@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
cybermensch University of Colorado, Boulder
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