My observation is that the split between the chromatic/diatonic
community has grown wider in the last 3 years. This is based not only
on what I saw and felt during the evening concerts, daily open mic
stages and seminars, but also on comments made to me by attendees and
those that have chosen not to attend SPAH (some of these being world
This is a very real concern and may just be more important than what
talent to book for the conventions.
Now you've done it! You've touched-off a bottle-rocket of a topic.
Maybe we can start by trying to examine the nature of "the rift".
Even our online communities are segregated - Slidemeister, the online
chromatic community (which doesn't even allow diatonic
discussion)....and the "other" harmonica lists. I've noticed that
discussion of music on slidemeister tends to take a different
Slidemeister: Classical, Old Standards, Gospel, Harmonica Ensemble
I'm trying to learn to play Blues on chromatic - pretty hard to get a
discussion of chromatic blues techniques over here on Slidemeister.
Harp-L / Harp-Talk: Blues, Country, "Popular Styles", Folk Styles
I also own a "demi"-Bass harmonica - pretty hard to find a hot Bass
discussion going over here. ;-)
These are pretty broad strokes I'm painting with here, but you get the
So how do you get two groups with such disparate styles together? That
may be an insurmountable problem. Many of the folks in the "Chrom
Camp" say they "just don't GET Blues". Many in the "Diatonic Gang"
don't see any use for a button, or most of the music that it's good
for. Now, don't attack me for saying that out loud - even if it's not
true for YOU (dear reader), it's true for the MAJORITY.
The rest of the "musical population" doesn't stratify according to the
INSTRUMENTS they play or enjoy listening to - they gravitate toward
the genre(s) of music they enjoy. (Rock fans, Coutry Bars, Classical
Concerts, Blues Societies, etc.)
Could it be (HERESY) that we should stop thinking of ourselves as
"Harmonica Players (or, if you prefer "Harmonicists"), and begin
thinking about ourselves as (Classical / Rock / Blues / Folk /
It's like the old saying: "I don't have a solution, but I sure admire
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