Re: TONE (was 2000 hours)

Sorry for the time in replying. Didn't mean to drop a bomb and walk away ;-)

> Ben Felten disagrees - says lots of masters of the harp don't have good
> tone.
> No offense Ben, but: "B.S."

I'm not surprised at your reaction. My position isn't exactly popular on the
list !

> It takes a while to get tongue-blocking, bends, overblows, etc. - I'm
> beginning to think it can take (me) a LIFETIME to have GREAT tone.
> I can't think of ANY "master" who doesn't have it. I can't imagine a
> harmonica player that is considered "accomplished" in THIS community who
> doesn't have TONE. I'll go a step further: good ACCOUSTIC tone. It's the
> toughest part of the instrument to master, and the nicest arppegio, the
> trickiest tongue-switch, the meanest trill, even great rhythm, - all of it
> can be overshadowed by poor tone. On the otherhand, a simple 1st position
> melody sounds beautiful, if the player has good tone.

Conversely, the best of tone can be used to ill effect by having lack of
variety, musicality or just plain poor taste, not to mention poor rhythm,
inaccurate bends and countless other skills just as important...

> From LW to Cham-ber Huang, Kim Wilson to the Harmonicats, tone is KING.
> I can't think of a _single_ "master" of the instrument that doesn't have
> good (or GREAT) tone. Can you?

All the following are IN MY OPINION :

Charlie McCoy, Sonny Terry, SBW1 don't have great tone. Few would argue that
they are great players in their respective fields. In a jazzier field, I
don't think that the playing of people like Olivier Ker Ourio or Clint
Hoover is defined by their tone. It's just a part of their expressivity. Yet
they are at the top of their field.

Now don't get my wrong, I'm not saying these people have a weak or puny
sound. I'm just saying that there is no excessive emphasis on tone in their
playing. What makes them great is a lot of things, but tone isn't up there
in terms of priority...

Now as I said before, I also think there are a lot of very bad harp players
who have great tone but little else. I won't name them here, since it would
go against list religion and risk the emergence of a major flame war, but I
will gladly discuss it in private with you if you're interested in hearing
my point of view !

Ben FELTEN, Editor

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