Re: Fwd: Re: Re: Harmonica range - and tremolo harp bending
- Subject: Re: Fwd: Re: Re: Harmonica range - and tremolo harp bending
- From: "Winslow Yerxa" <winslowyerxa@xxxxxxxxx>
- Date: Sun, 13 Jul 2003 17:41:54 -0000
Sorry- my last attempt at a reply was goof - I sent the quoted
message with nothing added.
I agree with the above. But I also think the risk of damage (esp.
bending single reeds on tremolos) is high for many players, because
with too much force or the wrong oral cavity resonance is probably a
practice. I also agree with the statement on the cited page, "that
notes on a tremolo sound a bit nasal, are not as loud as unbent
It's true that many players bend poorly. But that shouldn't function
as a blanket discouragement from a range of practices as if to say
that the results will always be the same for everyone. As to the
tonal quality and volume of bent notes on a tremolo, they sound the
same as bent notes on single-reed instruments. Volume, again, is
something entirely in the player's control. It is true that a single-
row bends (i.e. on the upper or lower row of a tremolo), whether
isolated-reed or dual-reed, will have a different timbral quality
from a dual-reed tremolo note. It's up to the ingenuity and taste of
the player to figure out how to make this work artistically.
I guess I'm a little frustrated with some parts of Bruno's approach.
I get the impression he tries to come up with reasons to close off
avenues of inquiry, assuming that the limitations of his experience
are the limitations of what is possible with the instrument for
anyone, and that it is therefore proper to discourage people from
doing anything that he doesn't do. But his experience and his
technical limitations (or lack thereof) are not the same as mine and
may not be the same as yours.
I think that perhaps the best way for most players to accomplish
single-reed bends would be to use your discrete comb and regular ten-
reedplates. Do you think they are going to get a good feel for how a
single-reed bend sounds by trying it on a tremolo? (That's an honest
question, not a jab, I haven't yet tried your discrete comb, but I
my bends sound on a tremolo...)
It's true that you can get completely isolated reed bends on a
Discrete Comb. The DC enables every kind of reed behavior that is
possible - isolated closing reed, isolated opening reed, and dual
As long as the holes on the tremolo are not vertically punched and
the player can isolate the top or the bottom row, there's no reason
not to experiment with bending. Go buy a $5 dime-store tremolo and
play around with it. If you break a reed, no big loss.
I should point out one thing that is very easy on a tremolo reed that
is very awkward on the Discrete Comb. In the regular Richter setup
used with the Discrete Comb, the blow reeds are mounted directly
above the draw reeds.
Let's say you want to have a blow-draw combination of the blow reed
in Hole 6 with the draw reed in Hole 5. This would let you bend blow
6 down a semitone in a full dual-reed bend. (It doesn't matter if the
blow and draw reeds are in different holes. As long as they're in the
same airstream, they will function as a bending pair). This is a very
awkward and fussy thing to achieve on a Discrete comb due to the reed
layout. You'd have to have Holes 5 and 6 in your mouth while blocking
off the upper half of Hole 6 and the lower half of Blow 5 - a narrow
diagonal tongue block.
On a tremolo it is very easy because the blow and draw reeds are side
by side in separate holes. Assuming no top-bottom punches, you could
have the reeds that correspond to Blow 6 and Draw 6 in you mouth at
the same time, and bend Draw 6, as is usual on a 10-hole. But you
could shift over so that instead you have Blow 6 and Draw 5. Now Blow
6 becomes the bendable note. Likewise you could make the note
coresponding to 10-hole Blow 5 bendable by pairing it with Draw 4
instead of Draw 5.
>The top-bottom punches in low-pitched reeds on some tremolo and
>octave models seems to be to allow for the reeds to speak without
>really wide gaps. I remember Cham-Ber Huang specifically telling me
>this for his octave double reed models. Heavily-weighted reeds need
>more air moving underneath them to get them to budge than reeds with
>less wieght on the tips, and having a common airspace for a pair of
>reeds always makes it possible to gap lower. I tried blocking off the
>punch on the lower holes on one of his octave models and finding the
>reeds starting to choke at much lower pressures. The same is true for
>both double-reed harps and for single-reed harps with a blow and draw
>in the same hole. Two slots can absorb more force than one.
>Perhaps this is the reason for the center-range punches on Hohner
>Echos (my earlier sloppy-player rationale could be another reason).
I would hate to see the sloppy-player rationale become another bit of
"unfounded lore". (Unless of course it can be founded in fact.)
You are right. I thought that I had framed this as a speculation and
not as a statement of fact. I'm usually careful to do so. Not that
someone else won't run with it and start quoting it as gospel - or
even completely mis-read what I write and start quoting something I
never said at all (it's happened, and in print). But there's only so
much I can do to qualify my statements. Thanks for the reminder,
This archive was generated by a fusion of
Pipermail 0.09 (Mailman edition) and