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

I wonder if... in the days pre-dating readily available video..,
people, specifically sighted people were in fact more attentive to the
I'm blind, and when blind people perform or are otherwise publicly
acknowledged, we almost... to a man... (We all know each other,
right?)  are at one time or another, anxious about our appearance. 
People would offer me such "help" as... "You look better when you get
into it!!"... or...  "You looked like you were having a good time."...
I finally worked through what ever that
specific-to-the-blind-in-public angst is... and now, I'm, I guess...
grateful to be able to "get into it" still after all these years. 
I'm torn still about the value/merit/priority of appearance within a
musical context.  I feel the "sighted community" deserves indulgence
of its consciousness of appearances, but I've been disappointed when
someone would put on what I thought was a good show only to have some
sighted comrade of mine observe... "Yeah, but he looks like somebody
beat him with an ugly stick."... 
Now, I'm just as bad with traits aural...  That is, if I hear someone
with an unusual (not in a positive sense) voice, I'll notice and
that... having taken such notice tends to adversely color my
impression of the person. 
I have noticed what seems to be a trend over the past ten to fifteen
years...  and that is, that people, sighted or not who go to concerts
seem not as likely to listen as they did when I was younger. 
I've joked with people my age before that kids these days drink more
than they smoke and that that choice makes them more apt to be rude
than mellow. 
But I have a feeling it's got nothing to do with one's choice of

I think, as we get gratified more quickly, our attention threshhold
shrinks and we just can't see a performer/performance through
conceptually because part of us is already wondering what the next
stimulus will be. 
And please understand that in saying all this, I'm not intending to
complain about the comments about the appearance of the harmonica.
That's actually the first time I've heard a sighted person comment on
what a harmonica player looks like when he's playing. 
Good thing I've worked through that "angst", or I'd have to wear a
sign that said... "I'm not coughing!!! I'm Wailing!!!!",
Brad Trainham

 On Sat, 02 Jun 2007 09:27:04 -0700 (PDT), you wrote:

>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
>> _________________________________________________________________
>> Need a break? Find your escape route with Live Search Maps. 
>> _______________________________________________
>> Harp-L is sponsored by SPAH,
>> Harp-L@xxxxxxxxxx
>Choose the right car based on your needs.  Check out Yahoo! Autos new Car Finder tool.
>Harp-L is sponsored by SPAH,

This archive was generated by a fusion of Pipermail 0.09 (Mailman edition) and MHonArc 2.6.8.