[Harp-L] Laurent Maur tries MIDI Harmonica for the First Time

Brendan Power bren@xxxxx
Mon Feb 27 04:57:44 EST 2017

To answer Richard Hunter's queries/comments: 


"That's some pretty impressive stuff. This may have been mentioned in
another post, but what is the synthesizer on the back end of this
controller? And did you (Brendan) pre-select the sounds for him to use
based on your knowledge of the synth involved, or did he just start
scrolling through synth presets? The arpeggiator on that synth is pretty


Laurent is playing through some EWI patches in Reason from this company:


He just started scrolling through the patches. Most of them have a lot of
reverb and delay but it takes time to go in and change settings and I didn't
want to interrupt the flow, so he just played them as-is. BTW all
arpegiatted chords were played by Laurent himself, not by the software!


Richard: "It's not a harmonica per se.. It's a device that a harmonica
player can use to enter a new universe."

   Very true!


Richard: "Blues players might say that it's not much use for blues, and I
tend to agree that it's not tops for playing roots-based music."


Hmmm. I would not be so sure! In terms of expression, the DM48 does have
great breath volume dynamics from soft to loud, comparable to if not better
than a normal harp. 


As far as being appropriate for 'roots-based music', that's a matter of
opinion. Sure it will never sound exactly the same as a blues harp, but it
has thousands of other patches that could sound just as great for playing
with roots styles. It all comes down to the player and how they use
technology to play sympathetically with whatever style. 


Right now the DM48 can't do easily-controllable pitch bending as on a blues
harp - so you're correct there. However that's going to change. I'm working
with an electronics dude on a hack for my prototype DM48 to add a manual
pitch change element, operated with a finger. It's inspired by watching what
keyboard players do with their pitch wheels, which can be very soulful. It
will require practice but will give me the ability to do all sorts of cool
bends not possible on a harp -  like controlled upwards bends for example.


It could be that a different way of getting bends by sensing the changes
harp players make with their mouths when bending will come in the future,
but even manual bending can be very soulful in a roots/acoustic context.
It's all down to the player, their skills and understanding of the music.


As an example, check out the brilliant Indian musician KeyboardSathya
playing beautiful Carnatic style on the new Roli Seaboard Rise keyboard:



And here he is as a youngster in 2011 trading licks with the great VM Bhaat
on a Korg:



You can hear how his MIDI instrument blows the knowledgeable Indian audience
away, just because he plays it brilliantly. The same will happen on MIDI
blues harmonica as time goes by - mark my words.



 <http://www.brendan-power.com/> www.brendan-power.com




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