XB bending vs Overblowing; repost

Rob Paparozzi wrote:

>Yes, it's a bigger bulge in our
>pockets but, we'll deal with it!!!!,-)

I get several pieces of unsolicited email a week promising me just that.
Shades of "Spinal Tap" (the scene at airport security)!  But seriously
folks, I agree with Rob one hundred percent when he states:

>I don't foresee the XB-40 as the "Panacea"
>for Richter Diatonic limitations, but more
>as another viable alternative.

I predict great success for the XB-40 as a super-diatonic.  I anticipate two
problems with using the XB-40 as a chromatic instrument.  I posted about the
first at some length already, but I can summarize the conclusion of my post
as follows: I think that it is going to be as hard to achieve chromatic
fluency on the XB-40 as it is on a twenty reed harmonica set up for
overblows and overdraws.

The second problem I anticipate harks back to a heated debate on and off
Harp-L some years ago.  Richard Hunter posted that he had listened closely
to Howard Levy in person and concluded that some of the notes blended poorly
with the others because they were produced by different techniques.  His
conclusion was that certain types of music would never be pleasing to his
ear unless played on a chromatic (the kind with a button).  (Richard, please
correct me if I have misstated your position in any way.)

I have no doubt that jazz will be played on the XB-40.  And ballads that
modulate and have long exposed notes that will have to be produced by
bending.  To certain people, the result will always be musically
unsatisfying, or worse, because of differences in timbre or other
characteristics between the natural and bent notes.

By the way, I personally disagree with Richard, although I respect both
Richard and his opinions.  I am strict on the issue of intonation, but not
on issues of timbre.  My personal opinion is that timbral differences can be
exploited in most types of music to good, sometimes emotionally profound,
effect (the only exception I would concede is classical music).  But my
point remains.  Some people, perhaps a great number, will never accept the
sound of an instrument that has to be bent to pitch for musical styles other
than folk and blues.

I have determined to persevere with my quest for chromaticity in the face of
such disapprobation, and I hope many, many people do the same on the XB-40.
But those who do should not anticipate universal acceptance even if they get
very, very good on the instrument unless they confine themselves to types of
music where timbral differences are already a well-established element.

And now a word on terminology.  In the quote above, Rob differentiates
between the XB-40 and the "Richter Diatonic ."  I have done the same in the
past.  But, unless I am mistaken, the XB-40 **is** a Richter-tuned diatonic,
albeit one with greatly enhanced bending capabilities.  I realized this by
the time of my most recent post, and called the Marine Band type instrument
a Richter-tuned twenty reed harmonica to differentiate it from the XB-40,
which is a Richter-tuned 40 reed harmonica.  That's cumbersome.  Does anyone
have a suggestion for a workable shorthand?


[The forgoing post never made it to the archives, and I suspect to any of
you, the first time I sent it.  My apologies if you are getting this for a
second time.]

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