Re: [Harp-L] overblows vs half valving

I second the sentiment that it is great chops not instrunent tweaking that get the listeners attention. A great musician could wow an audience with just about any instrument.

An additional note: I've only joined this blog since the new year and while I've gotten some great technical info and musician references, I've only occassionally read about emotional or artistic feelings / aspirations. So i'm gonna get all mushy on you.

There have been many times while playing alone when a sense of near rapture has come over me. Tears come to my eyes and I'm reminded that playing this instrument is my prayer and meditation.

The the great thing about the harmonica is how heart breakingly intimate and soulful it can be in the right hands. Listen to Big Walter Horton play Trouble In Mind on the album he did with Carey Bell. He plays three notes in his solo that absolutely rip my heart out. Just three notes!

Let's talk phrasing and how to listen and about the spaces in between the notes. What kind of place does my head have to be in to play those three notes as well as Big Walter did?

That's what I want know and I'm pretty sure what audiences want to hear.

From Gary Popenoe

On Jan 21, 2008, at 1:26 PM, Larry Marks <larry.marks@xxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:

Good heavens!!! The quality of Jason's music is due to his skill, not whether he plays overblows of valves. They are both simply methods of making a diatonic into a chromatic instrument. Listen to Jason: his non-overblown notes are just as nice as his overblows. Same with P. T. Gazell who plays valved. I play both methods myself, and I don't believe there is a significant quality difference if you know what the hell you are doing.

I prefer the valved instrument because of the variability of the bends versus the more-or-less fixed note you get out of overblows. Also, valved instruments are more logical in terms of the layout of the notes. With overblow, you have to play a blow, then a draw and then another blow (overblow) in order to go through the scale.

But I also find the valves to be a real pain, as they tend to get stuck in the reed slots and are the most easily damaged part of the instrument. Also, most of the custom harps come equipped for overblow. To me it would be sacrilege to valve these great instruments, so I play them OB.

This may be the silliest argument I have seen on this list, and I have seen some pretty silly arguments here. Don't insult Jason or Howard or PT by suggesting that it is anything but their skill that produces their great music. I am certain that if Jason or Howard were to learn to play valved instruments they would still sound as good as they do on their OB/OD instruments.

Harp-L is sponsored by SPAH,

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