Bluesharp Tone

Mojo Red said,

<Wow! What a great thread this has been... I've
<deliberately kept out of this one, mainly because,
<well, who cares what my opinions might be on this
<wonderfully ambiguous issue? 

Et Tu Ken-ney??? ~Ambiguous~ ???[I must add this to my
new list of Harp-l descriptions of the illusive *Harp
Tone*: Relative, Subjective, Nebulous, Indefinite,
Indescribable, Mythic, Gray Area, Personal Opinion,
Illusory, ~Not Real~,

I was going to give you a hard time for adding to the
idea that we all don?t know what we know we know about
~Tone In Bluesharp~- - - but, then, I realized that
~ambiguous~ is actually exactly the word [as opposed
to ~relative~. It?s NOT relative]! It means, ~having
more than one meaning~, and that is exactly what has
gone awry with this thread. Everyone feels comfortable
to take whatever definition they want to make their
point. Some, for who knows what reason, are using it?s
ambiguity to suggest that ~diatonic harp tone can
NEVER [as in, ~I Dare You To Cross This Line~] be
limited to saying there is any true good or bad tone~
[which is very obviously untrue, but it ruffles
people?s philosophical tailfeathers when they hear any
phrase that reminds them of, ~There?s only one way to
do this~.

[I might take this opportunity to point out that in my
Websters, the number 4 definition of ~Tone~ is
~Whining~. Honest].

<There is a woman - - -who's been playing for 
<maybe oneyear. Truly a novice. Not a blues 
<player by any
<stretch. I don't think she can even bend a note
<yet. She gets nice single notes, but a very weak
<volume from her harp, and is pretty timid as a
<player. Pucker player, if I'm not mistaken.

<...BUT - - - when she played this sweet little 
<Irish ballad - - - she nearly brought tears to my

<Her TONE -- small, timid and yet gushing with this
<gorgeous, pulsing vibrato (vibrato I wish I had!).
<I thought to myself... My god, what beautiful tone.
<I realized that big, fat tone isn't the
<end-all-be-all of what might constitute ~good~

Sigh. Her gorgeous gushing vibrato- - -
Eh- -
Anyway. Of course the first definition of ~tone~ 
in the dictionary is synonymous with ~sound~. No
argument. And of course, there is a definition 
in there that would cover your new petite-lunged,
subtle-lipped, shrinking-violet, ~Pretty~ [Ahem. 
Can Ken be trusted in this ~dangerously 
subjective and indistinct thread~ to be 
objective???]harmonica novicette. I?m sure she
produced a great ~sound~, which, as I?m sure you know,
could also be expressed as ~tone~. But, dare I offer;
it?s slightly disingenuous.

There is all kinds of ~tone~. This should have 
gone without saying. Amp tone, Acoustic tone, acoustic
tone combined with amp tone [etc], and 
there are quite a few uses of the word that 
could be exactly synonymous with ~sound~ - - - 
but it would make NO freaking sense for us to 
blur things like that. We all know 
[or can learn] what is meant by ~good acoustic 
harp tone~. With very little
cooperation we could [but at least some], at 
least among the bluesharp community, we could 
know what we mean when we say, ~I improved my 
tone immeasurably after I bla bla blaed.

Now. As to your puckering balladeer. You could say her
~tone~ moved you, and there would be a 
way to defend that- - - but, I maintain, it muddies
the water [and is irresponsible] because, 
in reality you know what we mean when we ask 
if she has developed good tone or not.

<I don't think she can even bend a note
<yet. She gets nice single notes, but a very WEAK
<from her harp, and is pretty timid as a

Red. Help me out here. She has trouble isolating the
notes she wants, she has weak ~volume~, and she 
has weak and uncontrolled Attack [*~Attack? What?s 
Attack? One man?s ~attack~ is another man?s ~retreat~.
Stop telling us what 
to do. We?re free. Free, I tell you~~*]- - - I betcha,
 in a different 
- - -
you could have easily, pre-mass brainwashing, said
that she was great and sweet
and melodic and captivating and evocative- - - but had
lousy tone.

That she brought tears to your eyes [get a grip man!]
may have clouded 
your vision. She has lots of nice qualities, no doubt,
but her ~tone~ isn?t 
one of them [rich vibrato not withstanding]. You are
advocating th? divil 
and ye know it Lad. Vibrato is one final detail that
helps to produce good, 
fat, blues harp TONE.

<I realized that big, fat tone isn't the
<end-all-be-all of what might constitute ~good~

Ok. You?ve convinced me. From now on, since ~tone~ is
too hard to define, 
I will work on being timid, indistinct, weak, use as
little air as possible, 
produce erratic and random volume, and make a wee thin
sound. S?all good. 
You?d love my ~Danny Boy~.

<P.S. Just to be clear. This is IMHO, my personal
<take, as I see it, one man's opinion -- and any
<other "don't-yell-at-me" qualifiers I can think of.

Too late. You will burn in eternal fire- while Jon
Popper, Bruce Willis, 
Alanis Morissette and Sugar Blue practice fast,
high-end runs on high G 
shortharps in the other corner.

PS: [Read only this part if you?re looking for the
meat] If anyone is looking 
for a way to rebut: tell me how, by ANY standard or
opinion, Sugar Ray 
Norcia or George Harmonica Smith DON?T have great
~Tone~ [because I 
think it?ll then be clear that you are thinking of
some other quality: their style,
their sound, their oeuvre, their repertoire, their
genre, their phrasing, their looks- - - 
but their ~Tone~ doesn?t come into question. Tell me
how someone, in sincerity, 
could say they have bad tone?


Do you Yahoo!?
Yahoo! Mail Plus - Powerful. Affordable. Sign up now.

This archive was generated by a fusion of Pipermail 0.09 (Mailman edition) and MHonArc 2.6.8.