[Harp-L] How much is Enough?

Jerome P. jersimuse@xxxxx
Mon Aug 5 13:17:51 EDT 2019

I totally agree with you, Joe.
There are few other points to take into  account, in my opinion.
1st the mix between what you play & what the band plays. I had an enormous
amount of work on pitch accuracy when I've recorded the album with Antonio
Valdes, because sax & harmonica play the exact same notes all the time
during the themes. If one is few cents lower than the exact pitch & the
other one is few cents higher, the result becomes unacceptable very
Whereas if you are in the middle of a solo, and the rest of the band is
only accompanying you, the pitch precision on each individual note is less
a problem.
2nd is probably the most important and often forgotten by harp players :
the real problem is not the exact pitch of each note, but the relation
between consecutive notes. If in the same lick 1 note is a bit lower and
the next one is a bit too high, we'll much more hear a pitch problem than
if both notes are a bit high. The interval is the mot critical point. One
should concentrate on having a very good ear so that licks (licks more than
notes) sound nice & at right pitch.
3rd you'd better be few cents too high than few cents too low. Personnally,
I play at 442 Hz, to be a bit higher than the band. Many soloist do this so
that their timber seem brighter and they take more "place" in the general
Whereas being too low is not agreable for the audience.

Last but not least, to develop one's ear, there is not secret : one should
at least be able to play any not at the exact right pitch without looking
at the tuner. I meet too many people speaking about pitch accuracy and not
being able to do this.
Once this is ok, one can begin to work on licks.
Once this is done, just forget it, and concentrate on what you are playing,
pitch should not be something we're thinking about while improvizing !
Nobody's perfect ;-)

Best regards,

Jerome Peyrelevade

Le lun. 5 août 2019 à 18:56, JOSEPH LEONE <3n037 at xxxxx> a écrit :

> While I agree in theory, I always maintained that due to the diatonic's
> not having all the notes and if not well tuned, even the notes it does have
> are not always exact, consternated by the various tuning scales (just,
> tempered, etc.), and that ANY instrument is NEVER perfectly in tune.
>  I posit that it IS acceptable to tolerate a certain amount of
> sourness..IF..the notes are closer to 'passing notes', and NOT the ones
> that I call critical. The ones that define the tune.
> Even Howard is not always on pitch. The closest player I have heard that
> IS is Jerome Perelevades out of Gras (perfume city) France.
> > On August 4, 2019 at 7:15 PM The Iceman via Harp-L <harp-l at xxxxx>
> wrote:
> >
> >
> > If one decides not to tolerate being off pitch at all, one would
> probably evolve into a better musician...no matter what the instrument.
> >
> >
> > -----Original Message-----
> > From: Robert Hale <ynfdwas at xxxxx>
> > To: Harp-L <harp-l at xxxxx>
> > Sent: Sun, Aug 4, 2019 5:43 pm
> > Subject: [Harp-L] How much is Enough?
> >
> > Since we harp players struggle at times with accurate pitch, my mind is
> > running with curiosity for HOW MUCH off-pitch we will tolerate, accept,
> or
> > approve?.
> > Also factored in would be HOW LONG we stay on a note of questionable
> pitch.
> > (Duration)
> > Third would be cultural norms and boundaries about pitch in a musical
> > context.
> >
> > (This is where one of my harp students would exclaim "You have too much
> > time on your hands!")
> >
> > Has anyone seen research on these questions?
> >
> > Robert Hale
> > Serious Honkage in Arizona
> > youtube.com/DUKEofWAIL
> > Robert at xxxxx

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