[Harp-L] Re: Chords
"And that brings me to my question. I eschew playing chords on those
Suzukis, though I love them in every other respect. That's because, to
my ear, chords on an equal-tuned harp sound ah, well, annoyingly sour."
I'm assuming the Promasters you spoke of for Irish and fiddle tunes are
half-valved in Paddy Richter tuning, Michelle?
It depends how many notes you feel you need to make a 'chord'. Thirds are
the issue, but chords don't necessarily need thirds to be effective. You can
get two very nice two-note chords in the bottom end on any 10 hole harp in
standard Richter or Paddy Richter, in whatever temperament. Hole 1 and 2
draw are in fifths, and should be tuned for a rich, stable double-stop sound
for a 'chord' based on the two draw - which could be major or minor.
In standard Richter holes 3 and 4 blow are also a fifth apart and give the
same effect for a two-note chord based on 4 blow, and in Paddy Richter I
always tune the 3 blow to give a nice rich fifths sound with 2 blow.
Depending on the context it can also be major or minor (normally minor in
the context of Irish music).
I know these are not the same as full rich chords with thirds, but they do
give useful double-stop sounds that can substitute on equal tempered harps.
Another possibility is to do selective bending when playing two notes
together. It takes a bit of practice but you can bend equal-tuned double
stops into a pleasing just resonance by bending one of the notes on a
sustained breath. For example, you could play the 4 and 5 blow together and
slightly valve-bend the 5 blow (the too-sharp third) down to give a rich
justified type of sound.
However I know these are only limited solutions, and your solution (to have
two sets of harps) is the only practical one if you want the benefits of
both just and tempered tuning.
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