Re: [Harp-L] 1st Chromatic ?

Most chromatics bend, but the CX-12 models seem to be the most facile.

Valves change bending in a few different ways:

-- On a dstandard diatonic, only half the notes bend (the highest-pitched note in any given hole) and only by a fixed amount. Both the blow reed and the draw reed sound at the same pitch on diatonic bends,

-- On chromatic, except in the top holes where some of the valves are absent, ALL notes bend, both blow and draw.

-- Unlike on diatonics, notes on chromatic have no pre-set bending limit - they may bend down as much as six semitones, depending on airtightness, reed adjustment, and player skill.

-- However, bent notes on chromatic are harder to control as they don't have a stabilizing force in the opposite reed also participating in the bend.

-- Also, again due to the isolated nature of valved bends, bent notes on chromatic don't have the tonal complexity of bent notes on diatonic.

You can approach choice of keys in many ways. If, for instance, you know that you'll be reading music a lot, it makes sense to get a C harp to play stuff that's written at standard concert pitch - vocal music, flute music, and so on. If you'll be reading music that's written for instruments that have their music transposed because the instrument itself is in another key, such as trumpet or clarinet or tenor sax (all are Bb instruments) or alto sax (Eb) then it makes sense to get that key.

Also, some styles of music tend to be played in certain keys, and it helps to have an instrument that makes those keys a little easier to play. Some people just tough it out and play everything on a C harp, while others will choose keys that will facilitate their most-played keys. This is a complex subject and I'll leave it for a separate post.

Range is also a factor. Some folks have pointed out that a lot of tunes start just below Middle C, and having a standard C-harp that starts on middle C can put you out of range, and that you could et a 14-hole or 16-hole harp in C to give you those extra notes.

Hope this helps a little.

Winslow Yerxa
Author, Harmonica For Dummies ISBN 978-0-470-33729-5
Harmonica instructor, The Jazzschool for Music Study and Performance
Resident expert,

From: Richard Eisenberg <catketch2@xxxxxxxxx>
To: HARP L HARP L <harp-l@xxxxxxxxxx>
Sent: Saturday, October 1, 2011 9:13 AM
Subject: [Harp-L] 1st Chromatic ?

I've been playing diatonic harps for quite a while, mainly Special 20's.
I've got bending down, drawing and blowing.
I want to get a chromatic and start learning on that.
I want one that bends.
Which one will do that?
What do the windsavers have to do with bending ability?
Which key, because some varieties come in C  or  D    or G?



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