Help with tongue block bending...

TO: internet:harp-l@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Ted Albritton asks about tongue blocked bending.

If you've been pucker bending, you may find blocked bending
harder at first, because the tongue is tied up with the tongue
block and is unavailable to assist with channeling the air - many
pucker players shape the tongue into a U-shaped trough, then hump
up the back of the tongue to create the constriction point I
mentioned yesterday, sliding the hump forward and back to vary
the size of the resonant chamber.

But, in fact, this trough is not really necessary. The
constriction can be created so far back that the front of the
tongue is not involved, and is free to block.

Learning to block bend can actually improve your pucker bending
by eliminating unncessary elements. At first it will feel clumsy,
but with some practice becomes fairly natural-feeling.

It is possible to bend out of both sides at once. First learn to
bend out of the right and left sides individually, then try them in

I've never heard Walter Horton do octave bends (but then there's
a lot of his stuff I haven't heard). Steve Baker makes a signature
practice out of bending Draw 4 and 6 together, but the bend is
really just a dip, not quite a semitone.

David Herzhaft, on the other hand, writes, in a recent letter:

 >I would like to know if you will mention my new technique about
 >octaves: Bending on one side with a tongue-block and
 >simply drawing another hole or bending it, allowing [you] to
 >obtain the Db, F, sometimes Ab, A octaves on the first 6 holes of
 >a C [harp]. In HIP No. 4 you told that 1 or 2 harp players can
 >overblow with a tongue block. If they do, wth my technique they
 >will certainly be able to get the Eb, F#, Bb octaves in the high
 >range of the harp [overblowing on the left side, blow bending on
 >the right]. If they can also overdraw with a tongue block
 >there would be C# and G# added. Well, I don't know if these last
 >ones can be made; the first ones work well. Don't you think that
 >this technique by increasing the number of octaves on a diatonic
 >harp, bring its possibilities closer to those of a chromatic?

[interpolations mine - WTY] I haven't gone back and listened to
David's recordings closely enough to comment on his success at
this, but it's pretty impressive, and audacious to even try it.
I've never heard Howard Levy do it . . .

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