John T has started a very interesting thread here I think. Basically the
was ... 'How do you start and stop notes'
This is a place where I suspect that the classical approach (me) and the
approach (don't shoot me for lumping together, its a generalisation!) may have a
to learn from each other.
There is still no standard 'school' of classical playing but there are, more and
some generally accepted ways of 'doing' (thats doooing noy doyng) various
of playing. I think, although I believe Robert Bonfiglio disagees ( vaguely
part of a very long conversation with him) that Tommy Relly has the finest
of any classical player ( I haven't heard Robert B for a couple of years).
Tommys method which I use and teach is very simple. ( Had a couple of lessons
him in the 60's and learned this by observation rather than instruction) Use
'throat muscles' (glottal stop) to start a note or a phrase. This is rather
like a very light
cough. If you support this with diaphragm pressure( light but tense) the note
the volume you want it to continue at. One of the biggest robbers of smooth or
playing is the Waaaa sound for each note. If you can make it an aaaa aaaa
sound you have a better chance of disguise.
AND disguise is what I think John is talking about. You can fool people into
something is happening on the harmonica when it really is pretty awful. The ear
with the general line and misses the occasionally underplayed note (which
be difficult). Listening to Jazz harmonica I think many do this far better than
classical buddies, many of whom are too po faced to get away from the ultra
There are several secrets added on to the articulation of each note with the
throat bit and
the most important is to keep the tone and volume changing subtly. Have you ever
through the performance of an earnest classical player doing 'Air on a G string'
The rhythmic accompaniment at the end of the first 84 bar not is the thunder of
exiting the hall mixed with the snores of those who have mercifully, at last,
non-addictive, non-carcinogenic, sleeping draught.
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