Comets and Preciosas

I have a C/g Comet and a Preciosa in A.  I don't use them a whole lot but 
they're favorites.

I got the Comet after I bought an instructional, "Traditional Mouth Organ, 
Irish, English and Scottish tunes" by Tony Sullivan. I ordered it thru Lark 
in the Morning wanting a book of Celtic/Brit tunes for my ten hole then 
found out it was specifically for tremolo/octave harps.  Not a big problem 
though. the tunes were good and easily adaptable to ten hole for the most 
part. But it inspired me to try a Double sided Comet like Sullivan prefers.  
I have used it now and again, but it languished when I was learning and 
playing a lot of cross harp with bends.  At SPAH, Phil Duncan did a nice 
workshop on the octave/tremolo harp and has a new instructional out 
specifically for it.  His is the only other instructional I've ever seen for 
this kind of harp. Inspired by Phil, I've been getting the Comet out daily 
trying to play it like Sullivan does on his instructional. (thanks,Phil!!)

I got the Preciosa second hand from a friend who hardly used it.  I live on 
the Tex/Mex border and the Preciosa has come in handy for some Mexican 
tunes.  At music shops across the border, I never see the 10 hole diatonic. 
I see only tremolos and octaves.  Hohner makes an inexpensive wood combed 
tremolo called a Centenario thats fun to play. There aren't a lot of harp 
players in this area, but every once in awhile I meet an old timer who talks 
about how he used to play and when I show him my Lee Oskar or Special 20, 
he'll say "no, the big longer kind" refering to the tremolos. So I think 
back in the 30's and 40's harp was big in this area only the tremolo/octave 
type though.

A consistent performer at the South Texas Music Festival in Mercedes, Texas, 
has been Pantaleon Benavides. He plays great Tex/Mex polkas and Tejano on an 
octave with a rack while accompanying himself on the bajo sexto.  He used to 
play bajo sexto along with the legendary accordion player, Chucho Martinez, 
and sez after Chucho died, Chucho came to him in dream and inspired him to 
play polkas with the harp. Cool old guy!! Great harp player!

So anyways, If anyone out there knows more about this more traditional style 
of harp and what they use it for, please speak up. I have heard of but not 
yet seen or heard octave/tremolos being used in Cajun Zydeco.
alan Mayne

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