Re: [Harp-L] does the (dis)appearance of the harp hurt its popularity?

It's true, watching a harmonica player just holding and playing the
instrument is like watching someone who has bitten into a sandwich and
then forgotten to chew.

But try watching some video of Sonny Terry. Even though blind, he had a
well-developed sense of the theater of using his hands and his full
arms for dramatic effect. 

In a different way, so did Larry Adler. Caricatures of him always
played up the activity of his hand and especially his fingers.

Dramatic use of hands, along with such actions as switching harps in
the middle of a lick, and just general dynamic interaction with the
audience, can make watching a harmonica player quite interesting to a
non-harmonica playing audience.


--- Marc Molino <mmolino54@xxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:

> I've been thinking that listening to harmonica is wonderful, but
> watching it 
> being played is not so fun. From an audience perspective, usually the
> diatonica harmonica is mostly obscured by the hands of the player,
> which 
> makes for a kind of awkward performance (turn off the sound on any
> harmonica 
> video and it looks like some one is gagging or coughing while
> covering their 
> mouth). In rare instances, either the player's own dancing or use of
> hands 
> seems to add to the non-acoustic part of the performance or some very
> nice 
> film & editing help. Watching Sonny Boy (II) is pretty entertaining
> (to me 
> at least):
> I also like the way this JJ Milteau video was shot: 
> (click on the little
> video 
> camera icon on the right).
> But what I'm noticing about these examples is that they are very
> close up so 
> you can see what's going on. In Sonny Boy's case, he is also singing,
> which 
> makes for a little more variety. Most video is either shot much
> farther away 
> or if you're there live, you're not that close. Chromatic harp
> performances 
> seem more interesting visually to me simply because you can usually
> see the 
> harp itself. I'm not necessarily arguing for making the instrument
> more 
> appealing or popular, but I'm wondering what others think of how not
> being 
> able to see the instrument impacts its appeal and/or how the audience
> perceives it.
> -Marc Molino
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