[Harp-L] Couldn't we rename our instruments ?

Michael Rubin michaelrubinharmonica@xxxxx
Thu Oct 12 07:30:33 EDT 2017

One time I went to a blues jam with a single harp.  The song leader asked
what keys I could play in.  I said any key, but named some and said, "These
keys are the most traditionally used."

He called out another key.   Although I played some fills, I tend to be
pretty sparse will fills.  He didn't give me a solo.  I said, "What's up
dude?  I am only on stage for 3 songs.  Where was my solo?"

He said, "You didn't have the harp for that key."

I said "I TOLD you, I can play in any key.  Now, next song, give me a solo!"

Although I didn't like it at the time,  it has become one of my favorite

I don't think we have top change the name of the harp.  I just think we
have to be playing publicly and sooner or later people will understand.
Michael Rubin

On Thu, Oct 12, 2017 at 4:39 AM, Sébastien Frémal <
sebastien.fremal at xxxxx> wrote:

> Hello !
> It may be seen as a daring request, but things evolve and maybe the name of
> our instruments "chromatic harmonica" and "diatonic harmonica" could
> evolve. I'm a "young" harmonicist as I have been playing harmonica for 4
> years only, but I started directly with video of Jason Ricci and quickly
> studied overnotes. On out-of-the box harmonicas, these things can be really
> hard, depending on the setting of the reeds, but with a little
> reed gaping and a touch of nail polish, they become really easy. Diatonic
> accordions, diatonic xylophone are and will stay diatonic. Diatonic
> harmonicas were designed to be played diatonic, but bends and overnotes
> have transformed the way we conceive the instrument over the years. You can
> find a bunch of talented players who have proven that you can play most of
> the tunes with this instrument. I'm currently studying tunes from
> Thelonious Monk, Charles Mingus, Dizzy Gillepsie... Players such as
> Sebastien Charlier, Jérôme Peyrelevade, Konstantin Reinfield... have
> recorded wonderful and complex jazz CD. Many Brazilian artists use the
> diatonic harmonica in Brazilian music (check Julio Rego for example)...
> Most of the time, when I play a gig, I have to explain that the "diatonic
> harmonica" is chromatic and that it offers a 3-scale register, which is the
> mean for wind instrument. That it's not just a "small instrument". And the
> guys are like "But it's a DIATONIC harmonica, you don't have all the notes
> on this harmonica" or "you seem to do what Toots Thielemans was doing, why
> don't you buy a chromatic harmonica ?" and every time I play all the 3
> chromatic scales and I explain that the instrument is called diatonic but
> is in fact chromatic.
> As I'm tired of all that, I have decided to call the chromatic harmonica
> the "button harmonica" and the diatonic harmonica "the buttonless
> harmonica". I encourage every harmonica players to do the same so we could,
> maybe, one day avoid long discussion about the nature of our instruments
> and drink more beers after our gigs ;)
> Cheerfully,
> Sébastien Frémal

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