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

Richard Hunter rhunter377@xxxxx
Wed May 17 08:28:18 EDT 2017

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

This is an example of how harp players need to change their thinking as
they enter the new world of synthesized sounds, which will inevitably
involve new musical styles as well.

There's no reason to stack 24 notes on a single hole if you're playing
blues.  For that matter, if you're playing traditional blues, acoustic or
electric, there's no reason to use a synthesizer to do it. A harmonica--a
real harmonica--will do the job just fine.  Stacking 24 notes on a single
hole makes no sense if all 24 notes have the sound of a harmonica.  And no
one listening to a blues band wants, or expects, anyone in the band to
produce a massively layered, modulated sound that never appeared on a
record by Steve Ray Vaughn or Muddy Waters.

In modern electronic styles such as EDM, it's not at all unusual to stack
lots and lots of sounds up to create a combined massive tone.  Some
synthesizers allow you to stack 24 different SOUNDS on a single note--i.e.
you play one hole on the DM48, and what comes out is a massively complex
tone that refuses to be ignored.  It's not about putting 24 layers of the
same sound in place--that just gives you a much louder version of the same
sound.  It's about putting 24 DIFFERENT sounds out on the same note, all at

It's not at all uncommon for composers and producers working in EDM
(electronic dance music) to use 3-4 separate sounds combined just for the
bassline.  And why would a harmonica player care about that?  Because with
that DM-48 in your hand, you could be playing that bassline.  You play it
as if you were playing the harmonica, and what comes out of the speaker is
anything but.

That's the challenge for harmonica players.  YOU ARE NOT PLAYING HARMONICA
AS A CONTROLLER.  If you want to play a harmonica, play a harmonica, not a
DM-48!  If you want to sound like something else entirely, the DM-48 is
your baby.

I recommend again that any harmonica player who lacks experience with
synthesizers, and who wants to acquire a DM-48, make a point of getting his
or her hands on a copy of Computer Music magazine (computermusic.co.uk).
This is an exciting new world indeed, and there is no better place to start
learning the lay of that land.

Regards, Richard Hunter

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