Fwd: 3-draw/bent "growl" - help?!!
- Subject: Fwd: 3-draw/bent "growl" - help?!!
- From: "Winslow Yerxa" <winslowyerxa@xxxxxxxxx>
- Date: Wed, 26 May 2004 16:02:26 -0000
- --- In harp-l-archives@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx, Marion.Spiers@xxxx wrote:
I have been trying to get this growl sound out of my A harps on a one-
step bend. I can do it on the bent 2-draw on several different
harps/keys. It sounds like the reeds fluttering kinda, a way kool sax-
like effect, that would be useful to impress women! Seriously though,
anyone mastered this one?
There are a couple of ways that growling sounds on bends are achieved.
One is reed decoupling. This may be what you are experiencing on Draw
2, but it's unlikely to work on Draw 3 bent down a whole step.
The other is snoring. This will work on most draw bends.
The snoring approach has been developed into a very effective growl
by Joe Filisko, who pulled this out of his bag of tricks when I asked
him to imitate the growling trumpets and trombones of the Duke
Ellington band during its early "jungle" period. The typcial snoring
sound is just a vibration created by the flapping of the uvula or
soft palate -the free-hanging bit of soft tissue and the very back of
the roof of the mouth - the same thing you use to block off the nasal
passages. The uvula hits against neighboring walls when it flaps,
creating the snore sound. This can be done deliberately during bends,
and you can learn to control it for effect.
Reed decoupling is a phenomenon that you will hear on records by
people like Walter Horton and James Cotton, almost always on Draw 2.
When you play a draw bend on an unvalved diatonic (or even a half-
valved one like the Suzuki valved ProMaster) both the blow and the
draw reed sound together at the same pitch. Reed decoupling happens
when one of the reeds breaks free and sounds at its regular pitch
For instance, let's say you're playing a C harp and you bend Draw 2
(G) down a whole step (to F). Normally, both the blow reed and the
draw reed will sound the F together. But you can make it so that the
BLow reed continues to sound the bent F while the draw reed goes back
to sounding G (or at least it tries). The ensuing sound is the reed-
As you know, a particular bent note is produced by creating a reonant
chamber in the mouth of a particulaar size. Too big or too small and
the bend will not happen. I have been able to produce reed decoupling
on Draw 2, but also on Draw 5 and Blow 7. Experimenting with the
latter two, it seemed that if I created a resonant chamber that was
right on the bordeline of being too big, that "edge" condition would
create the reed decoupling - one reed would comply with the
resonance, the other would fight it.
Reed decoupling seems to work only with notes bent down all the way.
This may be related to why it seems easiest to produce on very
shallow bends like Draw 55 and blow 7. Though why it would work on
Draw 2 but not Draw 1 or 4 or 6 I don't know. But Draw 3 bent down a
whole tone - i.e. not all the way - doesn't seem like something that
would work. though, who knows . . .
Play around with both methods. You're bound to come up with some
useful expressive devices.
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