re: Dying artform

Hey Scorch,

   we've kind of chatted about this online, some. as
you know, i'm a big fan of the bass harp sound and
would love to get one like Paul Oscher's (the Tombo
Contrabass, i think). but, as you also know, bass harp
apparently doesn't project well without good
amplification, which can be tricky. makes it (a
little) less practical in a band. 
  chord harps i've never been a big fan of. but i
suppose my exposure isn't great. actually, i like some
tunes Jerry Murad did with his harmonicats. (Mack the
Knife rocks as an all harp instrumental!). i'm not
even sure what a polyphonia is...
  as for modern music, that could be tricky. bass
harps have been worked into lots of things: Simon &
Garfunkel, the theme to Sanford and Son... and i would
guess it can hang well in those kinds of circles:
"acoustic" folky rock, funky jazz... i'd love to use a
bass harp as part of a jazz band. 
  also, tremolo and octave harmonicas can be made to
work well in lots of latin music, usually rootsy
stuff, away from latin-jazz. brazilian, spanish,
mexican... probably other "ethnic" music would work
too. chords harps i don't know about.
   as for starting a harp band... i'd say just do it!
you don't all have to start with basses and chords and
whatnot. start with some marine bands (try having
people play the same tune in different positions...),
a chromatic, a tremolo... then add on as you can. 

2 really good bands in NYC feature 2 harp players:
Hazmat Modine (they play amped versions of early
1900's jazz, and more) has a diationic and chromatic.
and the Brooklyn Corndodgers play what some have
termed "string band" music and i'd call "old-timey"
with 2 harps as well. often 2 diatonics. works cool
for waltzes and breakdowns. these aren't strictly
harmonica bands, but they've managed to make the
harmonica an integral part of their sound (usually,
they take the place of other instruments: horns,

    as you start experimenting with forming a
harmonica band, let us know how you do. i'd love to
hear how the different sounds get integrated.


- --- In harp-l-archives@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx, "Scorcher"
<s_c_o_r_c_h_e_r@xxxx> wrote:
> Recently, I began looking into so-called
"orchestral" harmonicas.
> Seems that now that the heyday of harmonicas is
over, very few people
> are interested in learning / playing / hearing about
this rather
> specialized sub-class of  harmonica music.
> I'm slowly (as I acquire more types of harmonicas)
introducing one
> small group of musical friends to a few different
types (I want to try
> a Vinetta with 'em).
> How do we save these cool esoteric harmonicas like
Basses, Chords, and
> Polyphonias from extinction? Does anybody have any
ideas how to
> "integrate" these into "more popular" musical forms?
Or how to start a
> harmonica band?
> Seriously,
> -Scorcher

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