Re: [Harp-L] Chromatic and Diatonic - Understanding Music Theory?

So, Mike, if you have perfect pitch, how does the new generation of incredibly amazing overblow players strike you?
To me, it all sounds out of tune, no matter how competent the player.

>>> "Mike Curtis" <ironmanmc@xxxxxxxxxxxxx> 7/12/2011 2:51 >>>

I have perfect pitch.  I didn't have to learn note names and such.  I hear 
all music as absolute pitches.

I play diatonic, with valves on the bendable reeds (1-6 draw and 7-10 blow). 
This allows me to bend the OTHER (normally unbendable) reeds.  My lowly 
diatonic is now fully chromatic, and capable of being played in all keys - 
IF you know your theory!

This is where music theory and learning all the notes comes in handy. 
Because my ear is good (TOO good), I've always relied on it for learning 
songs, and my reading skills were laughable, a huge handicap in Hollywood, 
where good reading skills are needed for lucrative recording sessions.

So I pestered some musician friends for reading information and theory 
pointers.  I started using charts and fake books to learn new tunes.  An 
added bonus was that I learned these without being influenced by the record, 
forcing me to play them in my own unique style.

I don't need to visualize a piano.  I just "know" the absolute pitches by 

I hope this information is helpful.


----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Mike Fugazzi" <mikefugazzi@xxxxxxxxx>
To: <harp-l@xxxxxxxxxx>
Sent: Wednesday, November 09, 2011 8:42 AM
Subject: [Harp-L] Chromatic and Diatonic - Understanding Music Theory?

>I just ordered my first chromatic, an Educator 10.  I have no idea how
> into learning chromatic I will become, but am very open to learning
> how to at least play a song or two.  Ideally, I would be able to use
> it to help with brushing up on and studying music theory.
> Howard Levy talks about visualizing a piano in his head when finding
> notes on harmonica.  I am totally guilty of only playing harmonica and
> being able to ignore some of that reasoning by changing the key of
> harmonica or picking a position I already know.  I don't have to think
> much about note names and relationships if I know scales/intervals.
> Meaning, I have a deficit in knowing note names as I can just
> transpose intervals and keys by switching harps.  I also can, and
> have, skipped learning some positions and scales because I can just
> use a harp and position I already know well.
> Am I way off base in thinking that learning some of these things on
> chromatic can help my understanding of diatonic and music theory in
> general?  Like if I learn my scales in 12 keys on one chromatic and
> know the note names and intervals, will that help my diatonic thinking
> (sorta like how Howard thinks of a piano)?
> It is ok if it won't, as I can still have fun with chromatic.
> If what I am saying doesn't make sense, here is an example.
> If you call out a tune that is diatonic to C, I can find the tonic of
> each chord on a C harmonica.  I can probably even improvise over most
> changes.  I can even tell you the note name of each whole.  However,
> if you asked me to tell you the note names on a Bb harp, I'd have no
> clue.  I could give you the tab of a scale, but I don't have the
> relationships of the intervals down enough to calculate the note
> names.  Furthermore, I can only play the scales I know, I can't think
> of what a new scale would look like without a reference guide.
> This is frustrating when I see a guitar tab for a song and see the
> note names but can't figure out how that best lays out into a
> position, etc.  I have to look at a chart of 12 harmonica keys and
> find which harp has the right notes in a way that is easiest to play
> and then I don't know what chords/double stops I can play as I don't
> have the scales memorized by notes, etc.
> Obviously, I could just start memorizing diatonic harp charts along
> with scales by note names, but that is way boring compared to learning
> that to actually play an instrument.  I want to be able to think
> things like, "Oh, that song is Em, C, G, is diatonic to G and
> the chord tones of the Em are Em, G, B and D", in keys that go beyond
> a C harp.
> Thanks! 

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