I think so much of the art of phrasing is how notes are articulated, or
separated one from the next.  As I progressed on harmonica, I tried lots
of different ways to articulate notes, and I now use many of the ways I
learned, depending on whether I wanted the phrase to be legato -- where
each note fills the time between the notes preceding it and following it --
or not.  In Richard Hunter's book "Jazz Harp", he says that a problem unique
to playing harp is that switching from blow to draw, or the reverse, more-
or-less prohibits true legato playing, since the change is not instantaneous.

So if you want to play a phrase and give all the notes an even feel, but some
notes end with a breath change and some do not, how do you play the ones which
do not?  Do you articulate a tiny break between them to match the unavoidable
break between those ending with a change in breath direction?  That seems
logical, but what if you want the phrase to be as close to legato as possible?
Do you sacrifice evenness?

How about a phrase that you want firmly articulated?  What method do you use?
Compared to a sax, for example, the timbre and even the pitch of a harp reed
seems sensitive to some of the tongue/mouth changes used to articulate notes.
It's unpleasant when each note sounds like "oink" or something.  The touchiest
notes are the bent notes, and I think the mark of a good player is one who 
can play a fast repeated series of the same bent note, or an alternating series
of bent-to-straight with good articulation and control of pitch and timbre.
Listening to John the sax player in the band I'm sitting in with on Wednesdays,
or Pat the trumpet player, some of their strongest licks involved repetitive
playing of the same note with crisp articulation and interesting emphasis.
My lines tend to avoid this, to move through scales and arpeggios more, and
I suspect this is due to limited articulation skills.

I wonder how youall handle these matters?  How do you break your notes?  What
do you usually "say" when you play a phrase? I know it will be different for 
those who mostly purse, and those who mostly tongue-block.

Students of guitar can pay a little and watch a top-flight guitarist work his
fretboard all night long.  Most of what we harp players do is invisible.
I'd be interested to contribute to a multilogue on articulation.

	- John Thaden

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