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

Chesper Nevins chespernevins@xxxxx
Thu Oct 12 07:55:13 EDT 2017

I appreciate what you're saying Sebastien.  I run into the same issue, but
from a little different perspective.

I play the Diminished Layout "Chromatic Harmonica", and also the Diminished
Layout "Diatonic Harmonica".  The Diminished "Diatonic Harmonica" is a
nonsensical term in two ways: the Diminished scale is absolutely not
diatonic, and the purpose of tuning a "diatonic" harmonica to a diminished
note layout is to make it easier to play fully chromatically. So neither
the construction nor the purpose of playing the Diminished "Diatonic" is
about playing diatonically.

I have been calling the Diminished Chromatic the "Dimi", and the Diminished
Diatonic the "Dimi Blues Harp", but even now I see issues with that as
well.  Players may not desire to call the "diatonic" a "blues harp", as one
can play so many other kinds of music on it.

Perhaps the "Harmonica" and the "Slide Harmonica"?  BTW, I'm thinking we
could drink beer AND have this discussion at the same time ;)

Michael, great story.  I've even experienced that at a jam with a
*chromatic*!  Players asking me what keys I can play in.  And here I am
playing Dimi Chromatic.  heh.  Try explaining that one in 30 seconds or
less...  lol.

On Thu, Oct 12, 2017 at 7:30 AM, Michael Rubin <
michaelrubinharmonica at xxxxx> wrote:

> 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
> memories.
> 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
> michaelrubinharmonica.com
> 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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