[Harp-L] Which Chromatic Harmonica - 12 or 14 hole?

Vern jevern@xxxxx
Wed Apr 22 20:02:21 EDT 2020

You have a 16-hole harmonica tuned in C.   Orchestra tuning in a Seydel 12-hole Chromatic Deluxe is the same as holes 3-14 on that harp.  Take a 16-hole chromatic in C, cut off the two highest and the two lowest holes and what remains is 12-hole orchestra tuning. The blow-dry and slide in-out for the remaining 12 notes do not change.

Put tape over holes 1,2,15,16 of your 16-holer and you can practice playing orchestra tuning on a 12-holer.  

On Apr 22, 2020, at 3:59 PM, Opus314 . <opus314 at xxxxx> wrote:
> Vern, I'm confused about the Orchestra tuning.
> Both my CX12 and my Swan 1664 have the same relative tuning... meaning...
> C blow 1  -- C# blow 1
> D draw 1 -- D# draw 1
> E blow 2 -- F blow 2
> F draw 2 -- F# draw 2
> G blow 3 -- G# blow 3
> A draw 3 -- A# draw3
> B draw 4 -- C draw 4
> C blow 5 -- C# blow 5
> etc and repeats on up the harp until you run out of holes

> (Playing the large bold holes is my favorite way to play the chromatic scale)

I don’t know what you mean by “large bold holes”.  All holes are the same size.
> So if you blow 1 on the orchestra tuning harmonica you get the G that you would normally get by blowing 3 on a traditional C tuned chromatic... right?

Wrong.  G4 is in hole 3 of a standard-tuned 12-holer.  On an orchestra-tuned harp hole 1 blow is an octave lower at G3.  The purpose of orchestra tuning is to extend the range of  a 12=hole harp down to G3 giving it the same low range as a violin.  Look through any song book and you will see many songs with notes below C4  but hardly any with notes below G3.  The price you pay is losing notes at the top of the normal 12-hole range (above G6) that most people use infrequently and hardly ever appear in vocal songs.  Standard 12-hole tuning in C covers the same range as the flute, C4 and up. 

If you are playing popular music, orchestra tuning is a good choice.  If you read music and are playing classical pieces, then a standard-tuned 16-holer is recommended.    

 On Wed, Apr 22, 2020 at 2:58 PM Vern <jevern at xxxxx <mailto:jevern at xxxxx>> wrote:
> My favorite harp is a Seydel Deluxe with steel reeds.  Instead of a 14-holer, consider the “Orchestra” tuning.  Key of C but G3 in hole one. Same tuning as your 16-holer but missing holes 1,2,15,16.  That range will probably cover 99.9% of everything you will want to play.
> Stainless steel reeds have much longer fatigue life than do copper-alloy (brass, bronze) reeds. 
> Vern
> > On Apr 21, 2020, at 5:00 PM, Opus314 . <opus314 at xxxxx <mailto:opus314 at xxxxx>> wrote:
> > 
> > I've been playing around with the chromatic some. I have a Swan Chromatic
> > 64 and a Honer CX12.
> > 
> > I'm thinking about buying complimenting the CX12 with another 12
> > hole...and/or a 14 hole.
> > 
> > What do you guys suggest?
> > 

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