Re: [Harp-L] Back to Phrasing...
- To: Mojo Red <harplicks@xxxxxxxxx>
- Subject: Re: [Harp-L] Back to Phrasing...
- From: "G. E. Popenoe" <gpopenoe@xxxxxxxxx>
- Date: Sat, 26 Jan 2008 13:25:57 -0800
- Cc: Harp-L <harp-l@xxxxxxxxxx>
- Dkim-signature: v=1; a=rsa-sha256; c=relaxed/relaxed; d=gmail.com; s=gamma; h=domainkey-signature:received:received:references:message-id:from:to:in-reply-to:content-type:x-mailer:mime-version:subject:content-transfer-encoding:date:cc; bh=h4HHtlooVibup7MDZlilx0xlpsAPVNW+31u8sBqU4eY=; b=tgk+hDCZiTzpP8jCsWJ6vx+frwfWXwYeFlJxJAaJ0wsm1OTF0mhT8k+kzMn/edB5Oq+U+y1ws34rVfIG69SIDqJT9xGIfzXAfLcj4fVT40pHCETr3Svc2/lJG01bU8AggIksmkmCSk6gmww+uyY3pZ1hAhghVFB7xwAwwzufRV0=
- Domainkey-signature: a=rsa-sha1; c=nofws; d=gmail.com; s=gamma; h=references:message-id:from:to:in-reply-to:content-type:x-mailer:mime-version:subject:content-transfer-encoding:date:cc; b=E39YnTR7zdXUUOHvEeymyxkZC7VrtMInrik2gERqUN1kO9R9W0FwK4ULrarYXjoKr4ABI+N61wiKeMbSgUX9oH7S8B9B3lqDfVXcrUTt7j1fKgqfCsD7exFaZGAOlBuhTY8wUDwhi5ouh/fQLoiBso8Qis7NqatPACsrTVRiZGg=
- In-reply-to: <email@example.com>
- References: <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Excellent way to bring things back to the core conversation.
By my humble experience it sounds like you already are doing all
kinds of good things to get the phrasing going.
I think listening to the greats and playing in their footsteps is a
great way to go for many. Jazz and blues are such "feel" genres and
while it certainly doesn't hurt to to work on craft, I've learned that
you just have let go and feel what they are saying.
There is the tough part. Letting go and getting out ouf your head. It
is very much like sports. You train to the point that when you are on
the field, you can just go with the flow of play and feel what has to
I think they call it "the zone".
As soon as I shut up that internal conversation, stop listening to
myself and really listen to the other players, I get better results/
phrasing/dynamics. If the other players are doing the same thing, it
gets magical. That's when the room lights up.
For the last couple of years , I've been doing side man work with
singer songwriters . Most songs I play just a few notes or phases
often with no solo opportunity. This forces me to spend most of my
time listening. Then when the feeling is right, I insert a few notes
or just one note if that is what works. I learned this by observing
people like Dave McKelvy.
Someone previuosly wrote that it is like a conversation. Only add to
it if it moves the subject along. Don't talk for the sake of talking.
When I work with singer song writers it almost feels like arranging
flowers. It is all about balance and composition.
I have several heros who mastered this. Among them are Big Walter
Horton, BB King, Bill Evans, Wayne Shorter, but my main man is Miles
For you blues lovers out there remember Miles was always playing' the
blues. He just used Jazz to get to it. His album Kind of Blue says it
I think I'll shut up and listen now .
From Gary Popenoe
On Jan 26, 2008, at 10:32 AM, Mojo Red <harplicks@xxxxxxxxx> wrote:
I just read through the recent thread on phrasing and very much
enjoyed most of the comments.
...until the discussion veered off into a discussion about something
somebody once said, out of context, barely relevant to the
discussion at hand...
Anyway, I think the concept of phrasing is of HUGE importance to
harp players and I know I would benefit form further input by some
of the more advanced players on the list.
First of all, how does one cultivate his own phrasing? I know harp
players who are not particularly fancy or technical with overblows
or whatever, but who's playing I find incredibly powerful and/or
poignant... why? Because of excellence in phrasing. This concept
transcends musical genres and is of equal imporance throughout the
I don't believe good phrasing comes neccessarily from being well
studied in musical theory, but I may be wrong. I know a local blues
player here in Denver who has the most remarkable phrasing, yet
adimantly avoids theory. I listen to a lot of music other than
harmonica and pick up ways to phrase things that I try to adopt
their ideas in my own playing -- especially jazz players such as
Coltrane, Mingus and those guys.
Someone's comment earlier about "playing the spaces" rings true, but
doesn't explain much to me in terms of how to advance my own goals
For myself I try to work on my phrasing with slower numbers. Take
Mingus' "Porkpie Hat" for example. I will play the head several
times through (third position) and each time try to change aspects
of my phrasing (timing, note emphasis, spaces, etc), not the actual
notes played, in as many ways as I can, just to explore the many
paths that are available. Getting the most out of a song like that
can mean differnt things at different times and by phrasing it
differently you can pull out different emotions, and give the song a
completely different feel.
I find this fascinating and extremely helpful in my development as a
I would appreciate further discussion in this area.
Chris Michalek, Michael Peloquin, are you guys out there? I'd love
to hear your thoughts on this topic as I admire your phrasing a
Harpin' in Colorado,
Looking for last minute shopping deals?
Find them fast with Yahoo! Search. http://tools.search.yahoo.com/newsearch/category.php?category=shopping
Harp-L is sponsored by SPAH, http://www.spah.org
This archive was generated by a fusion of
Pipermail 0.09 (Mailman edition) and