[Harp-L] Choice of keys on chromatic harmonica

To:  Harp-l list

From: Norman Vickers, Jazz Society of Pensacola


Winslow Yerxa wrote re Toots Thielemans' preference for C Chromatic:


From: Winslow Yerxa <winslowyerxa@xxxxxxxxx>

Subject: Re: [Harp-L] Toots preference for Eb & Bb


>Earlier in his career, he did sometimes play chromatics in other keys,
mostly to take advantage of Db position (8th position) in other >keys, such
as when he recorded East of the Sun in Ab using a G chromatic. After about
1960, though, he decided to stick with the C >chromatic.


Agree.  I did a week's workshop with Cham Ber Huang in Kansas City in 1979.
I was playing various chromatics, depending on the key the song was in.  CBH
said, "If you're good enough, you need only one!"  So, I took a vow that any
new song I learned would be on the "C" professional chromatic.   ( I'd play
songs I'd previously learned on the chromatic which matched the key)  Later,
it was driving me crazy, because I'd hear a note in my head and on "C" it
would one way and on another chromatic it would be different.

Example:  on C harp it's blow on C  but different on another key harp.
Hence, had to give up all the other chromatics and just stick with the
professional "C."  ( Also made my burden lighter!-smile)


Norman Vickers


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