Re: [Harp-L] harmonetta
On Aug 31, 2009, at 9:12 AM, David Payne wrote:
I listened to a few of Svang's numbers, I can see this harmonetta
is a totally different kind of chord instrument. I can hear that
the chord structures are way more complexified in how they evolve
and change. You don't have to have the sudden chord changes like
you do on a 48 chord.
Svang was supposed to appear at spah one year. At the last minute,
they? cancelled. I was disappointed. I wasn't going to go to that
spah, but I already had my ticket, plane, room, booked.
The tradeoff is, besides the fact I kind of like the sudden chord
changes, the chords themselves don't sound as good to me. The
Harmonetta is a virtually limitless instrument and the only
downside that I see to detract from it is the very thing that makes
it so versatile... The chords sound too smooth.
I don't think of the harmonetta as a harmonica. It is way too subtle
and more like a gently played accordion.
You don't have that sweet tension of the sound energy that you get
from an individually tuned chord. I'm thinking especially of Wally
Peterman's chord harmonica, tuned to absolute perfection by Wally.
When I hear it, it shakes my bones. The harmonetta sounds very
interesting and magical, but it doesn't shake my bones.
Right. When I watch Wally, Dror Adler, Eddie Gordon, Ritchie Miller,
and a few others, It's almost a spiritual experience. I don't get
that with the harmonetta.
There is one department that the 48 chord takes the cake hands down
- entertainment value the element of danger brings. When you look
at a guy playing a harmonetta well, you think, "wow, how does he do
that?" When you see a good 48 player, you think "wow, how does he
do that?" AND "Oh my God, somebody is going to die before the show
is over" as he wields this two-and-half-foot-long double harmonica
with a seemingly total disregard for the safety and welfare of
anyone in striking range, including himselves.
Right, harmonetta playing looks like a guy with a large electric
razor in his mouth. Not much action going on. Chord? well, that's
like a cave man wielding a dinosaur killer of a club. Now, by the
way, in keeping with my proclivity for saying things that get taken
the TOTALLY wrong way, don't anyone even think that I'm comparing
chord players to cave men. I make general statements and people feel
the need to attach names and faces to them. Don't do that. These are
It's just the primeeval feeling I get that goes to the base of my
instincts. It's that scary. The way it makes my stomach growl. It's
Watching a good chord player go through their paces is like eating a
succulent juicy triceratops steak. It's yummy.
We need more groups like Svang, what's truly important here is
keeping the concept alive.
Harp-L is sponsored by SPAH, http://www.spah.org
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