Re: [Harp-L] Harmonica tuning
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- Subject: Re: [Harp-L] Harmonica tuning
- From: "Tim Moyer" <wmharps@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
- Date: Tue, 08 Jan 2008 21:21:13 -0000
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Patrick Hazell wrote:
> I sometimes wonder why Hohner doesn't simply produce Marine Band
> harps properly tuned to standard pitch and equal temperament. In
> this day and age of people playing in multiple keys upon the same
> diatonic, the need to give the harmonicas a tuning in Just
> Intonation is unnecessary.
I'm surprised this comment didn't bring more of a reaction.
With most chromatic instruments, tuning to "standard" pitch and
equal temperament is a given. But the harmonica is a diatonic
instrument, one with a set of chords that's limited by the notes
that can be played simultaneously. In many applications, it's more
desirable to have harmonious chords than single notes that are
precisely on pitch with other chromatic instruments.
While it is true that people often play "in multiple keys upon the
same diatonic", these are usually *related* keys, keys in which the
same relationships (3rds, 5ths, etc.) exist between adjacent -- and
therefore simultaneously sounded -- notes. There are very few
people who are attempting to play in every key on a single diatonic
Hohner does make a harmonica that's specifically tailored to the
application you're seeking, the Golden Melody. In addition, other
manufacturers (Lee Oskar/Tombo, Suzuki) make primarily equally
tempered harmonica tunings.
As for the sharpening of the tuning above concert pitch, this
compensates for a flattening of reed pitch that occurs when notes
are sounded with more force.
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