Re: [Harp-L] does anybody NEED another book on playing Chromatic Harmonica?
- To: JON KIP <jon@xxxxxxxxxx>
- Subject: Re: [Harp-L] does anybody NEED another book on playing Chromatic Harmonica?
- From: Steve Molitor <stevemolitor@xxxxxxxxx>
- Date: Thu, 23 Oct 2014 10:05:16 -0500
- Cc: harp-l@xxxxxxxxxx
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- In-reply-to: <25FC47BC-9DC7-4E94-A793-52972C8D98E2@jonkip.com>
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Jon I totally agree with you 98.7%. You're 10 times the musician I am and
you know all of this but:
There would be some very minor advantages to a chromatic etude book. A
good etude book is progressive in that it gets harder gradually. This
keeps the student progressing without getting bogged down and frustrated
too early. What's difficult on one instrument can be easy on another and
vice versa. There's a reason why, for example, oboe players mostly use
oboe books and not flute books. The ranges are different sure, but it's
not just that.
On most woodwinds playing on the high end is difficult - very different
fingerings, embouchure, etc. So a beginning or intermediate flute etude
book will shy away from the third octave for a while. But on harmonica
that's easy, might as well start working the third octave pretty early.
Except for maybe hole 12 and the high D - might want to hold off on
introducing that until the student is solid in the standard patterns.
Conversely, certain trills and ornaments that are very easy on the flute
are fiendishly difficult on the harmonica. So you might want to hold of on
those for a bit.
Case in point, the very first C major etude in the oboe book I'm using has
a grace note turn that's a flick of the finger on the oboe but fiendishly
difficult on the harmonica. Being the stubborn mule that I am I refused to
move on to the next etude for a few weeks until I mastered that. But
really it would have been better to skip the turn for the time being and
come back to it in a few months. But then I'd be afraid I'd forget and
never come back to it....
The easiest way to write a good chromatic etude book would be to take a
public domain flute book and adapt it. Take some stuff up an octave to
start working the whole range early on, remove some of those tricky trills
early on but make sure to add them back in later etudes, augment it with
some studies focusing on interval jumps, octaves, maybe some double stops.
You wouldn't need any text, prose or essays in the book - just notes.
But all of that is pretty easy to do on your own - so I take it back I
guess I 99.56% agree with you.
On Wed, Oct 22, 2014 at 1:23 PM, JON KIP <jon@xxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
> I've just been avoiding life and cleaning dishes today, by reading some
> posts over on the chromatic harmonica site, from which I'm gratefully
> banned from posting, (a great time-saver for me,)
> I'm disturbed just a bit about the numbers of people who say "we NEED a
> good book on chromatic harmonica, let's annoy Winslow enough that he
> convinces his publisher to publish another book, even if they lose
> There is NO need for another book on the instrument. What people mean is
> "Gee I'm not as good as I want to be, instead of logically practicing, I'll
> go look for a book to help me."
> That's just silly. Avoidance at its best.
> Playing chromatic harmonica is, in theory, a very simple thing. In
> practice, however, it takes......er......Practice.
> You find the right hole
> you blow or you draw
> you realize that there are several ways to play certain notes, and you
> figure out which would be easier in the particular passage you're trying to
> play..the other silly things about the instrument, you learn to live with.
> (The "If Toots can do it on the same instrument, then it's possible, so why
> not give it a try,? approach.)
> for the adventurous (usually not me), you learn what double and triple
> stops work....(all the chromatic harmonica books have them)
> you practice long tones, just like a real musician on most any instrument
> You learn that every piece of music is really just ONE LONG NOTE, divided
> up into tiny, sometimes, annoying, and difficult, bits and pieces, some
> silent and some less silent....and they all count as music.
> Then you practice for X hours a day for ten years and go play you some
> music and hope that some very elderly person in your family, after living a
> great life for well over 96 years, dies and leaves you some money, since
> you won't make much playing harmonica.
> But when you die, Nobody will have to say "Gee what a great person he/she
> was, but what do we do with all these redundant books on chromatic
> Buy any one of the beginning chromatic harmonica books as a reference if
> you want, and then buy some flute or oboe studies....
> And do not, under any circumstances, put the little indications on the
> flute/oboe music regarding hole number, wind direction, slide position and
> so on.
> Actually, perhaps DO put those hieroglyphics in the books, but immediately
> take the books and quietly (shh! it's a library!!) and secretlly put them
> in the local library's Flute Study bookcase, just to confuse the flute
> players....yeah, that's a good idea.
> there is nothing really complicated about the chromatic harmonica.
> that's why it's so difficult to master.
> The philosopher Socrates, discovered to his dismay that he was the
> smartest person in Athens merely because he, and he alone, recognized how
> ignorant he was.
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