Re: Advanced techniques and attitudes...

I agree with every word of this.  I have only been a member of this list for 
a few months, though quite an active one already.  I have never met 
face-to-face anyone else on the list, yet, within the confines of all things 
harmonica I hasten to add, I have already come to see a good number of other 
contributors as having distinctive "characters."  I like it when:

*we have constructive debates about just about any topic, even if things get 
quite animated
*we exchange advice about harps, techniques, mics, amps and so on
*we can get light-hearted (genuinely) without taking side-swipes at others
*warm and friendly exchanges develop off-list
*I feel I've learned something useful to me  - happens most days
*I feel that I have something I can usefully pass on

I don't like it when I see things getting a little personal between people I 
don't know, whether explicitly or between the lines.  I feel like an 
embarrassed outsider in these circumstances.  The whole point of these lists 
is to advance the cause of the instrument that we all love, and when we get 
these occasional megaphone bursts of rancour I think we are all being pulled 
back a little.

This is a brilliant list full of civilised, knowledgeable folk - if you 
don't believe me, just look at some of the other forums you get elsewhere on 
the net!

Steve Shaw, stranded in the UK.

Want more than the blues?  Try Irish!

>From: "Mike Curtis" <ironman@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
>Reply-To: "Mike Curtis" <ironman@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
>To: "harp-l harp-l" <harp-l@xxxxxxxxxx>
>Subject: Advanced techniques and attitudes...
>Date: Sun, 20 Jul 2003 06:02:20 -0700
>While I'm sure a few people use advanced techniques for egotistical
>purposes, I can assure you that most musicians who take the time to learn
>and actually put forth the effort to master them do it out of a love of
>music, and/or advancing harmonica and the artform.  Self aggrandizement is
>not the primary goal of these folks.  In fact, in most cases ego plays no
>part whatsoever.  There are much easier ways to bolster a sagging ego than
>hard work.
>Therefore it's really unfair to characterize everyone who pushes the
>envelope as having some sort of emotional problem,  just as it would be
>unfair to criticise everyone who finds fault with pushing the envelope.
>Sure, SOME do it out of feelings of inadequacy and because they feel better
>about themselves when tearing down the accomplishments of others (and of
>course of the two, criticism is much easier), but the simple facts are that
>a lot of folks simply prefer traditional harmonica and/or don't much care
>for "newfangled harp playing".  It makes little sense to impugn honest
>criticism, just as it makes little sense to question the motives of hard
>working musicians.
>There are great players of traditional harmonica, great innovators, and of
>course plenty of more average players in both areas (one of the worst
>harmonica players I know does overblows, but he's an exception).  There's 
>reason we can't like one, both, or for that matter neither, without getting
>personal in our comments.  If we don't like the technique and feel a need 
>comment, why not simply say so, without making personal remarks about the
>Should we learn overblows, valved bends, to play alternate tunings,
>chromatic, etc.?  Well, if it will improve our music, and we have the
>desire, sure - lots of overblowers say that it isn't all that difficult, 
>I believe them.  If we don't think it will help, don't want to put out the
>effort, and/or are happy with your existing arsenal of techniques, then we
>don't have to, and I don't think anyone here will think the less of us for
>making this choice.  Do we have to like OBs, valved bends, etc.?  Of course
>not.  Does the fact that a person uses these in and of itself make them a
>You betcha!
>You know, it's hard enough choosing the lesser traveled road.  There are
>plenty of critics and naysayers, and most people won't "get it".  We in the
>harmonica community should encourage those who choose to further our
>instrument.  After all, it benefits all of us.
>  -- mike
>Harp-l is sponsored by SPAH,
>Hosted by,

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