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PostPosted: Thu Jan 07, 2010 2:44 pm 
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After a lot of searching and reading (thanks to Steve posting here before) I took the courage and operated my first diatonic harmonica, a very cheap C harp I picked up in Lidl for £3. It took awhile, because I was extra cautious and inexperienced and afraid to ruin the reed. But it worked, and I am delighted with the result.

Having that 3-blow G raised to A, suddenly I can play melodies, and especially in A minor. I would not have thought that such a small change would have such a big impact for playing this thing.

Now I am wondering: I like the way A minor plays now on this C harp, but I find to play D Dorian really awkward. I like to play blowing the root note of the mode, I think. And Dorian is more useful than Aeolian minor. So to play for instance in E Dorian, shall I get myself a D Melody Maker harmonica, which is tuned same as a G major "Paddy Richter", except having C#s instead of Cs? Or do I really have to learn to play Dorian cross-harp, if that's what it is called?

Any hints appreciated!

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 07, 2010 6:46 pm 
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In ITM the only Dorians you will need most of the time are A Dorian, which is best played on a G harp, and E Dorian, far less common, played on a D harp. You don't need Melody Maker tuning. The other minor-sounding modes, E Aeolian (G harp) and B Aeolian (D harp), are both quite frequent. Try Rakes of Kildare for A Dorian (Paddy G), The Butterfly for E Aeolian (Paddy G), Shores of Lough Gowna or Otter's Holt for B Aeolian (standard or Paddy D), and, dammit, can't think of any off the top of my head for E Dorian... :D A great tune for your Paddy C would be Carolan's Welcome, in A Aeolian, but I'd struggle to find much else specifically for that tuning.

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 08, 2010 3:32 am 
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Thanks Steve. I will experiment. I am not likely to play with others yet, so it does not matter what particular key the harp is built or tuned for. But I love being creative and follow my own inspirational flow, so I want to explore the common trad modes, and maybe other more exotic ones. Then, when I know what I like, buy the right instrument. Or instruments, more likely.

Seems there is even more variance amongst harmonicas than whistles, and even getting the info what notes a particular model plays for what nominal "key" they use is hard. Still not sure for instance about the notes say on a C instrument in Harmonic Minor, and in Natural Minor, of Lee Oscars.

So when you say I don't need a Melody Maker for Irish tunes, and the Paddy Richter tuning is adequate, does this not mean that a Dorian tune is always played cross-harp, its tonic being 4-draw? Probably it is just beginners limitation as feeling uncomfortable with long draw notes. That was my thinking behind considering a Melody Maker, as with it it seems I could play the Dorian starting on 3-blow. And I like Dorian a lot (on whistles). Whistles are all blow of course, so this blow-draw straight and cross harp distinction is not there.

BTW, if Lidl sells harmonicas again, and they will periodically, I will buy half a dozen or so for tuning experiments. They are unbranded, made in China I suppose, looking very much like the Hohner Silver Stars, just a mm shorter in the outer body, and a touch quieter or stiffer in play. "Cheap rubbish" you may say, but I think okay for starting out, and for experiments.

Keep warm, -5 C here this morning, and glorious with all the snow!

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 08, 2010 9:38 am 
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No, Dorian mode comes out in third position, not cross-harp (which is second position, giving Mixolydian mode). You'll find that Dorian tunes sit nicely on diatonic harmonicas without your having to worry about what position they're played in. I was playing hundreds of tunes in all manner of modes and positions before I knew what a mode or position was. :)

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 08, 2010 10:04 am 
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But how, Steve? Take E Dorian: notes are E F# G A B C# D E'.
On a D diatonic "Paddy Richter" harp the E is drawn 1, 4 and 8.
And if you use a G "P.R." harp, you got an E on 3-blow, but you have C naturals on 5-draw and 9-draw, instead of the needed C#s. So where does Dorian mode sit nicely, or how?

Where can I read up on the various "positions" of a harmonica?
These are new terms to me.
PS: found a diagram, which is fine enough for me:
http://www.angelfire.com/tx/myquill/Positions.html

Thanks

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 09, 2010 6:24 am 
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hello, i've tried the paddy but in my opinion the Solo Tuning or Solo Trad tuning is much better.
And with these tunings it's easy to play in all the octaves because of the symmetry.

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 10, 2010 3:09 pm 
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So what is your preferred harp if not a ten hole diatonic?

I see that Seydel is offering a "Irish" chromatic harmonica (in C and G), where the notes played when pushing in the slide are a semitone lower, not higher as with standard chromatics. Not cheap that one.
See here

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Last edited by hans on Sun Jan 10, 2010 3:27 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 10, 2010 3:21 pm 
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Solo tuning is fine if you like it. I don't know what Solo Trad tuning is. if you've been playing standard or Paddy 10-holes for any length of time the "symmetry" issue wouldn't concern you. Admittedly there is something to get your head round if you alternate between diatonic and chromatic a lot because the layout is different above hole 7, but with practice that's no big deal either. A Paddy-tuned harp gives you all the notes you need in 99% of the Irish tunes without accidentals. They also have the advantage of being useful to blues players, unlike diatonic harps in solo tunings. I haven't looked into it, but I suspect that it's pretty hard to get solo-tuned harps in the keys you need at anything like reasonable cost. Sure enough you can get them in tremolo harps, but what I'm talking about here is 10-hole diatonics.

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 10, 2010 3:26 pm 
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hans wrote:
But how, Steve? Take E Dorian: notes are E F# G A B C# D E'.
On a D diatonic "Paddy Richter" harp the E is drawn 1, 4 and 8.
And if you use a G "P.R." harp, you got an E on 3-blow, but you have C naturals on 5-draw and 9-draw, instead of the needed C#s. So where does Dorian mode sit nicely, or how?

Where can I read up on the various "positions" of a harmonica?
These are new terms to me.
PS: found a diagram, which is fine enough for me:
http://www.angelfire.com/tx/myquill/Positions.html

Thanks


That site's a great resource. For Irish you'll only ever need first, second, third, fourth and twelfth (aka first flat). Ah, yes, Hans, twelfth. Good ol' Lydian... :D

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They cut me down and I leapt up high
I am the life that'll never, never die.
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 10, 2010 3:33 pm 
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hans wrote:
I see that Seydel is offering a "Irish" chromatic harmonica (in C and G), where the notes played when pushing in the slide are a semitone lower, not higher as with standard chromatics. Not cheap that one.
See here


I don't know why they're bothering to do one in C. That would be no use to Irish players. G would be good, as would D. These are reverse-slide harps, as used by a number of top Irish chrom players such as Mick Kinsella. Incidentally, Hans, when I hit the "translate" button on your link, "draw" became "drag" and "blow" became "blowjob!" :lol: :lol: :lol:

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He jested, quaff'd and swore."

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 10, 2010 3:42 pm 
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I came across this article from Brendan Power about chromatics, which is interesting for all the ideas he tried out to develop his own Slide Diatonic:
http://www.hunterharp.com/bpower2.html

One day I'd like to try out his tuning scheme on a G chromatic.
Four reeds need to be raised a semitone in every octave block.
G# -> A (twice), D# -> E, A# -> B.
So you end up with this scheme(repeat for each octave):
Code:
Blow G B D G
Draw A C E F#
Slide in:
Blow A C E A
Draw B C#F G

It may be even half decent to play in D.

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 10, 2010 5:46 pm 
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I have one of the Seydel Chroms with Reverse Tuning. I've had it for more than a year now and I think close to two. Honestly, it's a great sounding harp and fun for tunes in G. I use it like...oh...never. Aside from getting a blazingly easy articulation off (which is too damn easy to do so you are tempted to overdo it way too much), it's a G harp with the annoyance of windsavers (which I patently HATE). That said, it's a very fine instrument and if I got past my hatred of buzzing plastic strips, I'd probably love it.

I do like the Seydel G in Paddy Tuning (the Session Blues) for diatonics, because they are very nicely put together and don't pull hairs from my lip-ferret. However, I like the sound of the reeds from my Lee Oskar better. For D, I use both a Hohner SP20 Low D and a Bushman Soul's Voice Low D and neither impresses me over the other.

For all diatonic harps, I like the Bushmaster's quite a bit to be honest. I'm still looking to Paddy one of them.


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 10, 2010 6:04 pm 
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I have a Seydel Chrom with Reverse Tuning. i removed some valves in order to bend the notes.
So i have a tuning like this :
Draw : D F# A C D....
Blow : C E G B C ....

It's easy to play and with a half-valved chromatic you have a chromatic and a diatonic in the same harp.

scheky wrote:
it's a G harp with the annoyance of windsavers (which I patently HATE)


just remove the windsavers :lol:

When i use a diatonic i play on paddy tuning or a Jean Sabot's Tuning in D on a Brodur harp or meisterklass :
Image

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 10, 2010 6:07 pm 
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Don't forget that Paddifying your D harps is relatively low priority. It's the Gs that need the treatment. As for valve trouble, well you can have faulty valves, 'tis true, but almost always you can rid yourself of the problem by warming your harp before playing. Sticky valves are caused by condensation on their cold surfaces. I keep any chromatic I'm likely to use in a bag with one of those little gel hand-warmers, the ones you activate by flexing a metal disc inside the pouch, and which you recharge by boiling in water when you get home. They work like a dream. I have no sticky valves on my Hohner or Hering chroms, ever, after this treatment. Works with any valved harp too, XB40s included.

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"Last night, among his fellow roughs,
He jested, quaff'd and swore."

They cut me down and I leapt up high
I am the life that'll never, never die.
I'll live in you if you'll live in me -
I am the lord of the dance, said he!


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 10, 2010 6:10 pm 
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Nicoharp wrote:
I have a Seydel Chrom with Reverse Tuning. i removed some valves in order to bend the notes.
So i have a tuning like this :
Draw : D F# A C D....
Blow : C E G B C ....

It's easy to play and with a half-valved chromatic you have a chromatic and a diatonic in the same harp.

scheky wrote:
it's a G harp with the annoyance of windsavers (which I patently HATE)


just remove the windsavers :lol:

When i use a diatonic i play on paddy tuning or a Jean Sabot's Tuning in D on a Brodur harp or meisterklass :
Image


Whoa, don't remove the windsavers! :boggle: You'll make your harp as leaky as a sieve. Also, you don't need to remove windsavers in order to bend notes! Valved bends are just as possible as unvalved ones, though the principle is different. Half-valved diatonics are half-valved precisely to permit note-bending.

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"Last night, among his fellow roughs,
He jested, quaff'd and swore."

They cut me down and I leapt up high
I am the life that'll never, never die.
I'll live in you if you'll live in me -
I am the lord of the dance, said he!


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