[Harp-L] "The DM48 can play 24 notes or more on a single hole!"

Shirley, John John_Shirley@xxxxx
Tue May 16 13:07:04 EDT 2017

> On May 16, 2017, at 11:44 AM, David Fairweather <dmf273 at xxxxx> wrote:
> What software are you using to limit the bending on your DM48 to half
> steps?

I used Max, but a lot of DAWs can do it (and many synths and samplers as well). I’ve just been using Max since the mid 90s….

> And although its interesting that the DM48 can play 24 notes or more on a
> single hole - why would anyone want to do that?

Not sure. That’s up to them.

The point of me posting that is more to show what’s possible and get people thinking about the possibilities for their own use.

For me, I started by simply programming the 6-note walking bass line for “Last Night" onto hole 1, then transposing that for the IV and V chords on holes 2 and 3 respectively. That worked great for that tune, making the bass lines for the entire piece really simple to play, and super fun!  Unlike the 24-note tuning setup I made, there was no bending required for any of it.

I am certain I will take similar approaches to other songs, creating custom tuning scenarios that facilitate playing what would traditionally be much more difficult parts in song arrangements and/or parts that would require multiple harmonicas.

Other folks may want to create choral and/or arrpegio layouts to play more harmonically complex jazz or classical pieces. Who knows, maybe the newfound ease of playing such harmonies on harmonica will inspire more people to do so.

We’ll see….

In the meantime I’ll keep exploring the potential power and flexibility of this instrument to better understand what it really offers, and to help others ascertain what it might offer them.


- John

John Shirley, Professor of Music
UMass Lowell

P.S. - I can also see people choosing one approach to playing a note or passage over another based on how it changes the phrasing or bending, not just the ease of play, just as harmonica players do in various contexts now. For that reason it’s good to have an idea of the available options as well.

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