Re: [Harp-L] comb material

I did the "music box" test, plinking harmonica reeds while holding the plate firmly against my wooden desktop. On some reeds, it wasn't louder. On some it was certainly louder, as in night and day, anyone could hear this. I didn't try different desktops made of plastic, metal or tonewoods though, just a cheapo computer desk. If anyone wants to stop by, I will be happy to demonstrate. It made a difference where I held the reedplate with my fingers, and which edge of the plate contacted the wood. This suggests to me that the plates could transmit vibration to the comb (and also that nails vs. screws make a difference in this context while we're at it?). The comb can then transmit vibration to the covers, which can then transmit vibration to your mouth, which is pretty close to your ears. Maybe the ears sense vibration through this path (a built in "monitor" if you will)- and my theory is that your brain combines the total of this and the vibrations transferred by the eardrum. The mass and resonance of comb materials would then matter, and would explain why many hear a difference between metal, plastic and wood. Maybe some frequencies that your eardrums can't transmit can make it through this path, or maybe it just "fattens up" some that you normally do. Maybe the different combs do a better job of transferring vibration to the skull and it resonates too. Just ideas here, maybe it's been hashed out before.

Have you ever stuck your finger in your ear while the band was playing to check and make sure you had the right harp when you didn't know what key they were in? Or even played that way? The band's way too loud and your finger's in your ear, but you can clearly hear your harmonica, or at least I can.

I think that materials throughout the harmonica can potentially impact the player with healthy hearing and acutely in tune with his senses, but not the listener- because they don't have this built-in "monitor".

To say that "if the listener can't hear it, it doesn't matter" isn't entirely true, because if the instrument is offering something that inspires the player, the listener can also benefit. IMO.

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