[Harp-L] Re: Harmonica Ensembles in the USA
Hello, Tom B. Here is a reply to your message.
1. "Too rosy a picture of what's happening in USA." This is not my picture.
It's SPAH's picture.
2. Youthful players: you specified age 20 as the age of an an average
harmonica player in the Eastern countries. You used no statistics to confirm this.
The Taiwanese gentleman didn't specify age in his question. He only wanted to
know if, in the West, harmonica ensembles are "marginalized." They
certainly are not marginalized, Evey harmonica club in the USA has a harmonica
ensemble. The SPAH list is only their list. There are probably many more harmonica
clubs in the USA not on the SPAH list, each with their harmonica ensemble.
3. Average age of a USA harmonica player at festivals. You said that the
average age of a USA player at festivals is an estimate (yours) of 70. The
Taiwanese gentleman didn't ask about average age. He only asked about promotion
I would tend to agree with your age estimate, but not at festivals or
conventions. The average age of the Milwaukee Harmonica Club is probably around
70. But, at USA harmonica festivals, seminars and conventions of the last 10
years, I've seen an increase of younger Western players, especially in the
blues, rock and country music categories. The blues, rock and country music
groups usually have no more than
1-2 harmonica players. They aren't harmonica ensembles.
About 10 years ago,a Gallup Poll in the USA stated that averaged age of USA
harmonica players was 40-45. I would guess that figure has been raised
somewhat, but I couldn't guess by how much.
4. Sustainability: The harmonica has been played in the USA on a large scale
(millions) as early as the 1880s, maybe earlier, and American-made
harmonicas have been in the USA from the early 1830s. The Germans,mass-produced
harmonicas sinve the late 1840s.
I don't know about the Eastern countries, but my guess would be a large
scale useage of harmonicas may have began in those countries in the early 1900s,
and manufacture about the 1920s. If those guesses are correct, the Western
countries have a higher sustainability record for harmonica useage than the
Eastern countries, historically speaking.
As far as harmonica ensembles, the first American ensembles were probably
started in the 1920s. I would guess that the Eastern countries started their
excellent harmonica ensembles after that.
Thanks for reeding this.
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