[Harp-L] Seydel releases Tony Eyers Major Cross harmonica

philharpn@xxxxx philharpn@xxxxx
Tue Feb 7 21:25:19 EST 2017

I disagree that the purpose of cross harp is bending. The real purpose of cross harp is to focus on draw notes. On a C Richter harp, 2nd position uses lots or bends. The same is true of 12th position (key of F). One of the most valuable note patterns in the key of G on a C Richter is draw 2, 3, 4, blow 5. draw 5, blow 5, draw 4, 3, 2. Bent notes are required to play the C chord and D chord.

This is also known as the walking bass line -- cf boogie woogie piano.  

Anyone can play a quite serviceable blues by playing this pattern on harps in the keys of C, F and G.
The only problem with this approach is that the standard  F is out of register because it is so high pitched, the penultimate in standard harmonica tuning. Better to use a low F in this case.

Bent notes make the first octave Richter usable with bent notes and offer Jimmy Reed touches to the third octave.

The fact that 2nd position or cross harp is a fifth above the key of the harp is related to the basic design of the Richter harmonica. 

The Germans designed the Richter harmonica with the tonic chord in the blow reeds and the draw reeds dominant (draw 123 G) and dominant 7th (draw 2345). These C and G chords are two of the three main chords of western (not cowboy) music. So it is not surprising that the harmonica will play in the key of C and G.

So it is not a matter of choosing a key that is a fifth above the harp key but a key based on the draw chord built into the harp.

Other keys and other positions use bent notes. Those that favor bent notes tend to sound jazzier. 


PS: I ordered a Major Cross harp.   

-----Original Message-----
From: Robert Hale <robert at xxxxx>
To: Dennis Michael Montgomery <gaulay2 at xxxxx>
Cc: harp-l <harp-l at xxxxx>; Tony Eyers <tony at xxxxx>
Sent: Tue, Feb 7, 2017 8:20 am
Subject: Re: [Harp-L] Seydel releases Tony Eyers Major Cross harmonica

Michael Rubin
​ wrote:

But the purpose of cross harp is not bending. It is playing in a key a
> fifth above the name of the harp.

​osh, I don't think so! I guess it could be said that the "purpose" of any
position is to play a given harp in another key. But culturally, BENDING is
the point of cross harp.

Robert Hale
Serious Honkage in Arizona

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