[Harp-L] Stevie Wonder FOR ONCE IN MY LIFE

Slim Heilpern slim@xxxxx
Tue Sep 22 09:49:51 EDT 2020

As I mentioned earlier, I'm very familiar with this solo, back in the 80's I performed it nightly with our duo and a few years back I revisited the original recording carefully because I'd been hired to record it note for note on someone's version of the tune so I studied the phrasing very closely. There are of course bends, but they are half step or less, so I have no idea what you're referring to. I'll just add that slowing down recordings can be misleading as artifacts are always introduced. 

That is not to say you can't get greater than a half step bend (much easier on the low notes though, and it helps to have a very airtight chrom), I just don't believe that's what's happening here. To my ears, this solo is very straight forward, except for the special character and phrasing Stevie brings to it (and to all  his harmonica solos). It's very difficult to sound like Stevie. That's what makes his harmonica work so special.

- Slim


> On Sep 21, 2020, at 12:54 PM, Robert Hale <ynfdwas at xxxxx> wrote:
> Hi Michael,
> I slowed down to minus180% the two notes "formerly known as the trill" and
> they DO sound like bends. I compared other slide movements in the song, and
> they clearly have a different character.
> So I concede that they are bends, not hole or slide moves.  I can't get
> more than a half step bend from a chrome, so I admire that from Stevie.
> I think quartertone is a soft (diplomatic?) way out of this discussion. I
> invite you to use a slow-down tool similar to Gold Wave to hear the
> consistent bend pitch throughout that lick. It is a solid whole step.
> Now, for players who transcribed a half step, how do you plead? <grin>

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