Author Topic: Altered at SPAH?  (Read 14199 times)

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chromaddict

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Altered at SPAH?
« on: June 13, 2012, 11:12:36 AM »
I was wondering who in the altered tuning crowd is planning on attending SPAH?  I'm thinking of augmented, diminished, bebop, and legato but any others are fine too. 

State your name and your preferred tuning.

See you at SPAH!

Offline Gnarly He Man

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Re: Altered at SPAH?
« Reply #1 on: June 13, 2012, 03:07:31 PM »
Bebop--Orchestra bebop.
It's not altered, it's the right way to tune your . . . . oh nevermind.

Jp

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Re: Altered at SPAH?
« Reply #2 on: June 16, 2012, 08:08:53 PM »
I play in Diminished tuning and I'll be there. Last year we had a pretty good crowd of altered chrom players, by which I mean there were 3 of us. Maybe 4. ;)

joculi

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Re: Altered at SPAH?
« Reply #3 on: June 16, 2012, 08:29:02 PM »
Through chromaddict's heroic efforts at last year's SPAH, at least one person was converted from solo tuned to diminished -- me!  :)

Offline Jason Rogers

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Re: Altered at SPAH?
« Reply #4 on: June 27, 2012, 06:12:53 PM »
Alas, SPAH is not in the cards for me this year..  :'(  I will miss hanging out with you guys in the "altered crowd"!

Have a blast, and record what you can for the rest of us!

Offline Brendan Power

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Re: Altered at SPAH?
« Reply #5 on: April 16, 2013, 11:40:08 PM »
I'll be there, with harps made from chromatics & diatonics  in a range of my own tunings:

PowerBender, PowerChromatic, Paddy Solo Slide Diatonic, Chinese, Bulgarian, PowerDraw... and variations. They'll all be half-valved or in triple or quad x-reed configuration.

Good to see Diminished and Augmented tunings gaining adherants. Do you guys play them half-valved? They both suit it well.

BP

jazmaan

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Re: Altered at SPAH?
« Reply #6 on: April 17, 2013, 12:21:04 AM »
"Quad X-Reed" ?

Offline Jason Rogers

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Re: Altered at SPAH?
« Reply #7 on: April 17, 2013, 09:39:06 AM »
Quote
Good to see Diminished and Augmented tunings gaining adherants. Do you guys play them half-valved? They both suit it well.

Well, Brendan, it is partly due to your influence, along with Pat Missin's and G's, (and my own music background) which led me to start playing Diminished (and harmonica at all), so thanks for that.  I've really enjoyed it.

Although I am aware of the great capabilities of the half valved Dimi, I have found myself gravitating towards the fully valved.

What about you other guys?

If you can forgive my deficiencies of technique and recording sophistication (have been working on both of those things since the time of this recording), maybe you can hear some of the melodic possibilities of the Dimi in a jazz setting here:

http://jasonharmonica.com/

I would love to hear some samples of you other players playing Dimi and Augmented.

Jason aka chespernevins
« Last Edit: April 17, 2013, 10:13:15 AM by chespernevins »

Offline Eugene Ryan

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Re: Altered at SPAH?
« Reply #8 on: April 17, 2013, 11:53:52 AM »
Quote
Good to see Diminished and Augmented tunings gaining adherants. Do you guys play them half-valved? They both suit it well.

Hey there... I use half-valved chromatics in diminished tuning for jazz and other applications (mostly using CX12s).   I love it and have long been wanting to get all the notes to "dual-reed-bend" (in addition to the draw bends available when half-valved).    This would free up all the keys/positions for maximum expressiveness.  I'd hope that there would be wider adoption if the right tools were available.

Quad-reed chromatics?  Now you're really teasing!  Are the 3-reed chambers all on the upper or lower plate?  I suppose we could make them by sawing up SUB30 plates?  That's a lot of skill to get that working!  I have some other tunings I'd like to put on x-reed chroms too.

Quote
Jason wrote: I would love to hear some samples of you other players playing Dimi and Augmented.

I've been overhauling my lines and approach on the diminished chrom to get more bebop into my playing -  I'm recording a track for a CD with a harpist on diminished chrom at the moment where the half-valved bluesiness comes out; I'll see if I can share it when done.

Eugene

oldstudent

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Re: Altered at SPAH?
« Reply #9 on: April 17, 2013, 09:40:27 PM »
In reviewing the posts in this thread, notice that we are now talking about altered tunings at SPAH 2013.  Jazmaan and I are planning to present a seminar there on pentatonic tunings (fourkey and LeGato).
I now get my fourkey harps half valved, to get more expression on the blow notes.
« Last Edit: April 18, 2013, 12:27:50 PM by oldstudent »

jazmaan

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Re: Altered at SPAH?
« Reply #10 on: April 18, 2013, 12:09:45 AM »
I've been partially valving (don't think I'd call it "half") my fourkey diatonics since the beginning. Wouldn't have it any other way!  But partially de-valving the CX was not for me. I didn't like the different timbres between the valved and unvalved notes. 

I look forward to hearing other altered tuning chroms at SPAH.   I'm convinced that the LeGato tuning sounds different to the listener.  I'm wondering whether other altered tunings will also sound different.  I know the dimi offers unique double stops, but I'm also interested in hearing how different tunings offer different approaches to note sequences, with different stabs, different trills, etc.
« Last Edit: April 18, 2013, 12:13:32 AM by jazmaan »

Offline Jason Rogers

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Re: Altered at SPAH?
« Reply #11 on: April 21, 2013, 07:40:26 PM »
Quote
I'm convinced that the LeGato tuning sounds different to the listener.

Exactly Jaz!  This is thing.  Yes, with enough practice, anything is possible on solo tuning!  There is nothing wrong with solo tuning!

But these different layouts INFLUENCE the lines that come out of the chrom when we are IMPROVISING.

Toots used the solo tuning to his wonderful advantage and sounded great!

It is fun finding the new sounds that lay waiting for us on these new note layouts.

Keep doing what you're doing man!

jazmaan

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Re: Altered at SPAH?
« Reply #12 on: April 22, 2013, 09:16:36 PM »
Quote
I'm convinced that the LeGato tuning sounds different to the listener.

There is nothing wrong with solo tuning!



Well that's a bit of an overstatement.   All harmonica tunings, whether diatonic or chromatic, are compromises of one sort or another.  There is no perfect tuning.  So you can't say there is nothing wrong with solo tuning.   Every tuning has its advantages and disadvantages.   It's up to the player to take advantage of the advantages and attempt to compensate for the shortcomings.

Offline Jason Rogers

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Re: Altered at SPAH?
« Reply #13 on: April 22, 2013, 09:43:19 PM »
ok, it's not that ANYTHING is possible on solo tuning.  I agree with everything you have said, great Maan of many tunings!

The point i was circling around was that plenty of great music can still be made on solo tuning.  I am amazed that there are a handful of (improvising) players out there that really sound like themselves on solo tuning, and not like Toots/Stevie clones.  That is an interesting fact to me.  That there is still fresh stuff to be played on solo tuning.

On the other hand, alternate tunings provide a new landscape to explore, and to my ears, end up sounding different.



Offline SlimHeilpern

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Re: Altered at SPAH?
« Reply #14 on: April 23, 2013, 10:04:37 AM »
ok, it's not that ANYTHING is possible on solo tuning.  I agree with everything you have said, great Maan of many tunings!

The point i was circling around was that plenty of great music can still be made on solo tuning.  I am amazed that there are a handful of (improvising) players out there that really sound like themselves on solo tuning, and not like Toots/Stevie clones.  That is an interesting fact to me.  That there is still fresh stuff to be played on solo tuning.

On the other hand, alternate tunings provide a new landscape to explore, and to my ears, end up sounding different.

Hi Chesper -

I really understand what you're saying, and yes, alternate tunings provide a new landscape. But I think your amazement may reflect an over-emphasis in your thinking on note layout. Consider the saxophone. Even if you disregard tone, is there any shortage of sax players that really sound only like themselves out there even though they all use the same note layout? Sure, sax may be an easier platform to move from note to note, but even the mediocre sax players tend to play with speed and accuracy that most chrom players can't touch -- so speed aside, if note layout matters that much, then it would also be amazing that there are so many distinctive sax voices out there. I think the biggest difference with the chrom in terms of sounding unique is the relative lack of players.

Now, if everyone approached it the way I tend to, which is to find the licks that are easy to play in each key, then we _would_ all tend to sound the same. But thankfully not everyone takes this approach. Some put in the practice time to do some terribly hard things and make them sound easy, and this allows them to defy a lot of the gravity imposed by the note layout.

A wise musician showed me the other day that if you refuse to accept that note layout matters, and focus on defying the gravity, that all things are possible (not necessarily easy, of course). I think I believe him.

- Slim.
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Offline Grizzly

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Re: Altered at SPAH?
« Reply #15 on: April 23, 2013, 10:36:54 AM »
Just when I think I've heard the limit in harmonica technique, someone comes along and blows my mind. I've heard a few people play (or attempt to play) Flight of the Bumblebee, with mixed results. Generally, it sounds hard and labored, no matter how fast (maybe because it's played so fast). Maybe diminished tuning, with all its breath options, would be a better choice for this than solo tuning. Has anyone tried it? Does anyone have the chops for it?

Tom
working on my second 10,000!

roady43

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Re: Altered at SPAH?
« Reply #16 on: April 23, 2013, 06:24:29 PM »
Just when I think I've heard the limit in harmonica technique, someone comes along and blows my mind. I've heard a few people play (or attempt to play) Flight of the Bumblebee, with mixed results. Generally, it sounds hard and labored, no matter how fast (maybe because it's played so fast). Maybe diminished tuning, with all its breath options, would be a better choice for this than solo tuning. Has anyone tried it? Does anyone have the chops for it?

Tom

Well, not very well but I recorded the beginning just to show how it works on augmented.
Note that I haven't practised that much, could be much more fluent (that's why it's not listed as public video).
It is obvious that if you have no redundant keys, these kind of patterns are really easy and enjoyable. Main reason why I chose augmented...



roady43

Offline drshock

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Re: Altered at SPAH?
« Reply #17 on: April 23, 2013, 07:27:07 PM »
Here's a version of Jia-Yi He taking flight

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OopNqA9HNow

Here's a diatonic version linked in the diatonic forum here
https://forums.SlideMeister.com/index.php?topic=8464.new#new
« Last Edit: April 23, 2013, 07:34:42 PM by drshock »

jazmaan

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Re: Altered at SPAH?
« Reply #18 on: April 23, 2013, 10:17:26 PM »
I don't know if I agree with Slim about so many "unique" voices on saxophone out there.  I go to see a lot of local jazz and I can't say I've seen a lot of unique voices on sax.   Which isn't to say there aren't some fine players out there.   But most of them are still playing some derivation of the classic greats like Coltrane, Bird, Rollins, Gordon, etc.   Or else they're playing "smooth" jazz.  Not to say there aren't some exceptions,  I heard this one young black kid a couple of years ago who was playing hip-hop/bebop that was pretty unique.

As for playing idiomatically (what you referred to as the "easy licks" in each key) there's nothing wrong with that. A lot of sax players do it too.  I think a big part of Stevie's genius was finding those idiomatic licks that also sound great.   

Offline drshock

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Re: Altered at SPAH?
« Reply #19 on: April 24, 2013, 12:15:46 AM »
By the Way

Nice start Roady...your slide finger is moving like a reed

Offline SlimHeilpern

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Re: Altered at SPAH?
« Reply #20 on: April 24, 2013, 12:37:13 AM »
I don't know if I agree with Slim about so many "unique" voices on saxophone out there.  I go to see a lot of local jazz and I can't say I've seen a lot of unique voices on sax.   Which isn't to say there aren't some fine players out there.   But most of them are still playing some derivation of the classic greats like Coltrane, Bird, Rollins, Gordon, etc.   Or else they're playing "smooth" jazz.  Not to say there aren't some exceptions,  I heard this one young black kid a couple of years ago who was playing hip-hop/bebop that was pretty unique.

Sorry, I didn't mean to restrict my comment to current players or a particular type of jazz (though it may have seemed that way). In addition to the guys you mentioned, I'd say the following (just to toss out a few) all have/had very unique voices, all using what I assume is the same relative note layout: Eddie Harris, Roland Kirk, Michael Brecker, David Sanborn, Stan Getz, Chris Potter, Phil Woods, Lester Young, Joshua Redman... and those are just a few of the famous ones...

As for playing idiomatically (what you referred to as the "easy licks" in each key) there's nothing wrong with that. A lot of sax players do it too.  I think a big part of Stevie's genius was finding those idiomatic licks that also sound great.

I agree 100%. I've spent years trying to do exactly that ;-). Point is that you don't _have_ to approach it that way, and the less you do, the less important the note layout becomes. There are some huge advantages to getting beyond the idiomatic licks. You can play whatever comes into your head, regardless of key. You can still play the old idiomatic licks. And because you'll be forced to learn all sorts of new acrobatics on the instrument, uncharted territory can slowly become the newly idiomatic.

- Slim.
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Offline Jason Rogers

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Re: Altered at SPAH?
« Reply #21 on: April 24, 2013, 07:12:21 AM »
Slim,

I really appreciate your point.  I am sure it is good to think musically and then work to achieve that, whether it "lays well" or not.

I know when sitting in with a jazz group, and the tempo is very fast, I do tend to rely on phrases that are easier to execute.  There is no way around it.  Solo tuning will sound different than Dimi at that point, I would predict.

Even listening to Toots, I feel that, as a generalization, he goes with the layout at faster tempos and that he is freer to follow his whim at slower tempos.  Maybe you're right, with many more players we might hear that there are infinite ways of doing this.

I assume that as we progress, pure musical thought merges with the practicalities of the layout/music/tempo in a seamless way.

I must admit that a good deal of my approach has centered around exploring how the Dimi layout intersects with tonality, and I've found it really fascinating.  Perhaps this is a symptom of my relative newness to the harmonica and the Dimi - just trying to figure it all out.

In thinking back on the video I posted, I wonder if my phrases sound idiomatic to the Dimi.  I think so, but probably not in a blatant way.

This is an interesting topic, and I will keep your point in mind.

Jason
« Last Edit: April 24, 2013, 02:58:41 PM by chespernevins »

Offline Jason Rogers

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Re: Altered at SPAH?
« Reply #22 on: April 24, 2013, 03:02:57 PM »
Griz and Roady,

Interesting focus on Bumblebee.  It's always good to hear you again Roady.

This morning I tried playing along with Roady's video on the Dimi, and it did not give me confidence that somehow enharmonics were going to smooth the whole thing out.   ;)  lol!

jazmaan

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Re: Altered at SPAH?
« Reply #23 on: April 25, 2013, 01:33:29 PM »
I can play the first "melody" phrase of Bumblebee pretty smoothly on LeGato tuning,  I'd daresay it flows more smoothly than on Roady's video, but I think that's to be expected if you're comparing Legato to Augmented tuning.  The introduction will take a little more work for me to learn by ear.    I could go look for the sheet music somewhere I suppose, but I'm still busy with "Hot House".   And anyway,  I think we're all put to shame by that diatonic version.   Somehow the tune sounds more "bee like" on diatonic anyway.
« Last Edit: April 25, 2013, 01:37:22 PM by jazmaan »

oldstudent

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Re: Altered at SPAH?
« Reply #24 on: April 30, 2013, 11:16:56 AM »
As I mentioned above, Jazmaan and I have signed up to do a seminar at SPAH 2013 on fourkey and LeGato tunings.  Does anybody have any suggestions about what can be most helpful in a presentation on alternative tunings?
The notes from our presentation at SPAH 2011 are available online at
http://home.comcast.net/~rbmy/fourkeyintrod.pdf
« Last Edit: May 01, 2013, 03:52:32 PM by oldstudent »

Offline gvelasco

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Re: Altered at SPAH?
« Reply #25 on: May 05, 2013, 11:13:36 PM »
I'll be there, with harps made from chromatics & diatonics  in a range of my own tunings:

PowerBender, PowerChromatic, Paddy Solo Slide diatonic, Chinese, Bulgarian, PowerDraw... and variations. They'll all be half-valved or in triple or quad x-reed configuration.

Good to see Diminished and Augmented tunings gaining adherants. Do you guys play them half-valved? They both suit it well.

BP
Curse you Brendan! I'm almost finished acquiring every key in my Richter tuned harps. (I'm still missing F#.) And now I've seen your PowerBender demo, and I'm afraid I'm already sold without even trying one out. Now, I'm going to have to collect that in every available key. At least there are fewer keys to collect because of the enhanced chromatic capabilities.
-=Gabriel=-

jazmaan

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Re: Altered at SPAH?
« Reply #26 on: May 06, 2013, 01:26:15 AM »
My LeGato Saxony has arrived!  And it plays wonderfully.  Right out of the box, still cold, it was still amazingly responsive.   I can see Slim's point about the concave button, but that's a minor quibble.  Seydel got the custom tuning perfectly (as usual), and even though they had to manually tune down two of the reeds that were being rejected by their Configurator as being pitched too low for their slots,  I can discern no difference at all between those reeds and their neighbors.   The entire harp responds to the slightest of breath.

I think I will continue to use my CX-LeGatos for daily practice and try to save the Saxony for special occasions (like SPAH!)   The Saxony is so pretty with its brand new matte silver finish.   I want to try and keep it that way.

I spent the last few days in Chicago where I was able to get together with OldStudent (Roger).   We had a blast comparing notes on our Fourkey progress.    I've been playing so much LeGato that it had been a while since I'd dusted off my Fourkey diatonics.     Roger reminded me that the Fourkey diatonic still has a lot to offer,  especially the 12 hole varieties that can now be purchased from Seydel  (although Roger still likes his 10-holes too.)    I think we're going to turn some heads at SPAH when the two of us get going on our Fourkeys!

I also got to hear a rare uncirculated recording of Joe Filisko demonstrating Fourkey blues!   He was tearing it up after just one week with the Fourkey.    That was the first time I ever got to listen to amplified Chicago-style Fourkey through a bullet mike! (And with live backing.)  What fun!   Maybe we can get him to reprise his experiments at SPAH.  But I know Roger and I will have some blues of our own to offer, now that Joe has shown us some possibilities (in 7th position no less!)
« Last Edit: May 06, 2013, 01:47:42 AM by jazmaan »

Jp

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Re: Altered at SPAH?
« Reply #27 on: May 18, 2013, 10:37:25 AM »
Jazmaan, you're making me jealous. The Saxony sounds excellent, AND you got to hear Joe!? Man...

Anyway, I was wondering who all will be bringing alternate tuning harps to SPAH? I know we'll have David and his Fourkey/Legato tuning at SPAH, I'll be there with my Diminished chromatic (better start practicing... grumble... grumble...) anyone else? A bebop player, wholetone, anything? I think it'd be fun for all of us to get together at some point and just jam a little, see what we can notice is different or the same. I can even bring a cleaned up extra or two for others to try. You can email me offline if you're interested: jplpagan@mac.com.  JP


Offline Gnarly He Man

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Re: Altered at SPAH?
« Reply #28 on: May 18, 2013, 12:07:05 PM »
I will be at SPAH, and play bebop tuned chrom. I have been applying myself to LeGato some too, though! I have some videos, did one last night--What a Wonderful World. Check my YouTube channel.

Jp

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Re: Altered at SPAH?
« Reply #29 on: May 18, 2013, 03:29:05 PM »
It'll be good to see you again, Gnarly! ;)