Author Topic: Blow draw pattern  (Read 5920 times)

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D Mc

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Blow draw pattern
« on: December 27, 2012, 01:46:24 PM »

 I will start with an apology as I am sure that this has been discussed before but I have not been able to fined out where.

 So why does the blow draw pattern change to draw blow for the last two notes in the scale?

David

Offline Gnarly He Man

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Re: Blow draw pattern
« Reply #1 on: December 27, 2012, 01:56:26 PM »
Normal diatonic harmonica was designed to play chords and melody, so the blow notes are a chord--C E G C E G C E G C.
The draw notes fill in the blanks--but there isn't enough room on a 10 hole instrument, so they leave notes out.
D G B D F A B D F A are the draw notes--they leave out the F and A in the first octave, and include the G so that you have a root for the G chord (BTW, the chrom has a G draw chord, just no G note--and added 2nd note {A}).
So the middle octave has a complete major scale, but they wind up putting the 7th on the same hole that the tonic (note 8 of the series) resides. That reverses the pattern . . . and it just continues on from there.
Not every diatonic harmonica uses this pattern, just the ones available in stores  ::)

D Mc

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Re: Blow draw pattern
« Reply #2 on: December 27, 2012, 02:52:48 PM »

 Hi, Gary. I sent you an email question about tuning.

 But back to my question. I am not a musician so I really don't understand much when things start getting technical. I have just started playing the harmonica ( a 270 Super ) again after a 50 year layoff. I have been playing simple flutes and whistles so playing melodies with single notes works for me. It just seemed the change of the last two notes spoils the repetitive flow.

David

Offline Gnarly He Man

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Re: Blow draw pattern
« Reply #3 on: December 27, 2012, 03:51:21 PM »
That's why I use bebop tuning, but not on diatonic.
I do, however, use a tuning on the diatonic (sometimes) that doesn't have that anomaly.

Offline Grizzly

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Re: Blow draw pattern
« Reply #4 on: December 27, 2012, 04:08:10 PM »

 I will start with an apology as I am sure that this has been discussed before but I have not been able to fined out where.

 So why does the blow draw pattern change to draw blow for the last two notes in the scale?

David
So the next octave is identical. I find standard diatonics to be weird: the third octave has a different pattern.

Think of a solo tuned chromatic as three harmonicas in one: same pattern, next octave, holes 1–4; 5–8; 9–12. The doubled Cs can be an advantage for flow. I tend to use the C in the next octave more than the C at the top of the lower octave. No big deal, once you get used to it. "Improvements" in tuning harmonicas differently have yet to wipe out the standard solo tuning, which is, IMPO, vastly more popular and accepted than anything else. (Not to denigrate other tunings or the people who use them; just my preference.)

Tom

Oh. There is a tuning that uses a blow B and a draw C at the top of the octave, then repeats the same pattern for every octave. It's called Classical Tuning. It's not common. Gary made one for me; but I couldn't see the advantage it had over standard solo tuning, considering that it would have meant relearning my repertoire (not insurmountable) and converting the rest of my harmonicas (not surmountable). having C always a blow note gives me a certain comfort and anchor. (There is a draw-C-slide-in at holes 4 and 8 that's pretty handy sometimes.)

T
« Last Edit: December 27, 2012, 04:21:19 PM by Grizzly »
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Offline Gnarly He Man

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Re: Blow draw pattern
« Reply #5 on: December 27, 2012, 04:35:52 PM »
I can change it back for you . . .
G

Offline Winslow Yerxa

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Re: Blow draw pattern
« Reply #6 on: December 27, 2012, 05:32:32 PM »
Anther way to look at why the blow-draw patternis not consistent:

Harmonica notes are in blow-draw pairs of 2 and 2 is an even number.

The scale has only 7 unique note names: A B C D E F G

While 2 is an even number, 7 is an odd number.

As long as you cvan play adjacent holes together in a harmonica to create harmonies and chords, why not make those notes sound the main chord of the key of C, which consists of the notes C, E, and G.

The ntoes C, E and G are an odd number, 3.

All the notes that aren't C, E, or G, add up to an even number.

So for blow notes you have C, E, and G.

For draw notes you have D, F, A, and B.

So far, you can match up three blow-draw pairs: C blow with D draw, E blow with F draw, and G blow with A draw.

But what about B, the orphan note?

If we make B a blow note, it will complicate the nice basic C chord that consists of C, E, and G.

Ig we make B a draw note, then when you play the scale, you'll go from A draw to B draw. And you'll need a blow note to pair it up with, so another blow C is added just to keep the B note from the loneliness of having no partner.

Offline Grizzly

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Re: Blow draw pattern
« Reply #7 on: December 27, 2012, 05:44:30 PM »
I can change it back for you . . .
G
It's not worth putting back. I have seven others I do use, in solo tuning. It was a 'speriment. I choose a harmonica I had no intention of its becoming one of my "players." It just sits there. Instead of draw A/B, I ended up with blow C/B, or draw D/C. It wasn't worth the trade-off.

Tom
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Offline Gnarly He Man

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Re: Blow draw pattern
« Reply #8 on: December 27, 2012, 06:49:01 PM »
Well, then, send it to me!
Gnarly Harp Monger

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Re: Blow draw pattern
« Reply #9 on: December 27, 2012, 06:53:32 PM »
Anther way to look at why the blow-draw pattern is not consistent:

Harmonica notes are in blow-draw pairs of 2 and 2 is an even number.

The scale has only 7 unique note names: A B C D E F G

While 2 is an even number, 7 is an odd number.
That's why I like bebop tuning on the chrome, by adding an eighth note (usually the Bb), you make the number even--no change in breath direction.

D Mc

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Re: Blow draw pattern
« Reply #10 on: December 27, 2012, 07:40:14 PM »
So the next octave is identical... T

 Well, something is going over my head hear.  :-[  My 270 is in the key of G. so it is G  A  B  C  D  E  F#  G and repeat. It is blow draw right up to the F# G when it changes to draw blow. If those last two notes switched places, the entire scale would be blow draw, with the next scale being identical. Right? Same number of notes, same notes just a different breath pattern to play the scale. The double Gs would still be there just not on the same breath. First G blow last G draw then start again.

 It is not that I can't play it the way it comes, it is just a question that popped into my head as I was switching between it and a whistle, just single note playing.

David

Offline Grizzly

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Re: Blow draw pattern
« Reply #11 on: December 27, 2012, 08:19:17 PM »
Hi, you've just described the Classical Tuning I mentioned. If it makes more sense to you, have Gary (aka Gnarly) retune it for you. BTW, that's classical as in classical music. Don't let that throw you; it would be good for any style.

Tom

What do you have for a whistle?
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D Mc

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Re: Blow draw pattern
« Reply #12 on: December 27, 2012, 08:58:06 PM »

 Tom, I have an Overton low C and a bunch of home made low whistles and some open holed flutes. I am just a dabbler and was not very good and am getting worse.

 So what I described is called Classical tuning?  But you said you did not like that because you liked the blow C. What I described would maintain the blow C or in my case G as the start of the next scale. Is that still the same?

David

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Re: Blow draw pattern
« Reply #13 on: December 28, 2012, 12:11:12 AM »
Yes.

I have a C/D whistle set from Abell Flute (http://www.abellflute.com/whistle.html#); also an old wooden flute, a fife, two working piccolos and a sterling silver concert flute.

T
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Offline Gnarly He Man

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Re: Blow draw pattern
« Reply #14 on: December 28, 2012, 01:41:50 AM »
Classical tuning puts a blow B right next to a blow C.
If you thought getting the two Cs in unison with each other was annoying, try tuning the first one to B  :'( :o

Offline streetlegal

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Re: Blow draw pattern
« Reply #15 on: December 28, 2012, 07:01:48 AM »
I think that button accordions have this same draw A - draw B - blow C layout. So it may be something which carried over from one free reed instrument to another in the early days.

I agree that this makes things rather awkward. But that's just how it is - unless you are prepared to pay extra for a customised layout of your choice.]
« Last Edit: December 28, 2012, 07:04:09 AM by streetlegal »

D Mc

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Re: Blow draw pattern
« Reply #16 on: December 28, 2012, 09:13:53 AM »

 Wow, Tom. Chris Abell makes what others try to but never quite succeed in achieving. Do you have any recordings of yours?

David

D Mc

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Re: Blow draw pattern
« Reply #17 on: December 28, 2012, 09:35:06 AM »

 Thanks to everyone's input I have been able to narrow down my searches and read much more on this subject. What I found is that, classical tuning, as good as it sounds on paper has almost no practitioners that use it. Bebop tuning, like Gary offers, on the other hand is being used and a lot of folks are thrilled with it. So I believe I will be contacting him in the near future and have him do his magic on my little 270.

David

Offline Grizzly

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Re: Blow draw pattern
« Reply #18 on: December 28, 2012, 11:43:16 AM »

 Wow, Tom. Chris Abell makes what others try to but never quite succeed in achieving. Do you have any recordings of yours?

David
Sorry, no. They're lovely instruments. I knew Chris as a fellow flute maker at Brannen Brothers (www.brannenflutes.com) just as he was starting his company. I'm still there, BTW.

Tom
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Offline Winslow Yerxa

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Re: Blow draw pattern
« Reply #19 on: December 28, 2012, 07:26:06 PM »
Bebop tuning has one potential disadvantage - it introduces a non-scale note by replacing the left C with a Bb. So now you have a C scale with an added Bb. This may or may not be desirable to you. And to play a C scale, you still have to play the same pattern as before, and avoid the Bb.

One alternative is to replace the Bb with a Blow A. This gives you several desirable things:

An A minor chord as well as a C major chord in the blow notes.

You can play A or Bb as either blow notes or draw notes.

You have multiple ways of playing anything that involves an A or a Bb.

Who uses this tuning. I do, and so does William Galison. Maybe there are others as well.

D Mc

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Re: Blow draw pattern
« Reply #20 on: December 28, 2012, 08:30:21 PM »
 Thanks for that input, Winslow. So are you using what is called classical tune? This is all new to me, so a lot goes over my head.

 My understanding of what Gary would do with my key of G harp is;
 Blow  G BbC E
 Draw  A B D F

 With no change in the blow draw pattern to play the scale. So what are the down sides with this that I am not seeing?

David

Offline Grizzly

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Re: Blow draw pattern
« Reply #21 on: December 28, 2012, 09:10:02 PM »
D Mc: check out this page for definitions of altered tunings. Click on the names of the tunings for charts.

http://www.angelfire.com/music/harmonica/altered.html

Tom
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Offline Gnarly He Man

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Re: Blow draw pattern
« Reply #22 on: December 28, 2012, 11:22:13 PM »
Nope, Winslow is describing an alternate bebop tuning.

Bluesy

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Re: Blow draw pattern
« Reply #23 on: December 29, 2012, 03:39:13 PM »
Bebop tuning has one potential disadvantage - it introduces a non-scale note by replacing the left C with a Bb. So now you have a C scale with an added Bb. This may or may not be desirable to you. And to play a C scale, you still have to play the same pattern as before, and avoid the Bb.

One alternative is to replace the Bb with a Blow A. This gives you several desirable things:

An A minor chord as well as a C major chord in the blow notes.

You can play A or Bb as either blow notes or draw notes.

You have multiple ways of playing anything that involves an A or a Bb.

Who uses this tuning. I do, and so does William Galison. Maybe there are others as well.

Sounds interesting but for that much lowering - 3 half-steps - it might be better to replace the C reed with an A reed instead of using solder, no?

Tom/

Offline Grizzly

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Re: Blow draw pattern
« Reply #24 on: December 29, 2012, 03:42:04 PM »
An A reed for/from an A harmonica would work in that slot/chamber. An A reed from a C harmonica may be too long. Just sayin'.

Tom
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Offline Winslow Yerxa

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Re: Blow draw pattern
« Reply #25 on: December 29, 2012, 07:28:35 PM »


Sounds interesting but for that much lowering - 3 half-steps - it might be better to replace the C reed with an A reed instead of using solder, no?

Tom/

I've used both solder and reed filing with no problems in reed longevity, response, or sound

Offline Winslow Yerxa

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Re: Blow draw pattern
« Reply #26 on: December 29, 2012, 07:33:53 PM »
Thanks for that input, Winslow. So are you using what is called classical tune? This is all new to me, so a lot goes over my head.

 My understanding of what Gary would do with my key of G harp is;
 Blow  G BbC E
 Draw  A B D F

 With no change in the blow draw pattern to play the scale. So what are the down sides with this that I am not seeing?

David

If you follow the strict blow/draw pattern on a bebop-tuned harmonica, you get:

C D E F G A Bb B C

In other words, you get a C scale with a note (Bb) that doesn't belong to the C scale - it's in fact, a bebop scale, a scale used in jazz. And if you play a chord you get a C7 chord (the Bb being the note that adds the 7th). This chord doesn't always work in the context of the key of C.

By substituting A instead of Bb, you get a duplication of a note in the C scale, so it isn't a bebop scale anymore (and therefore not a bebop tuning, either). You also get a chord that can be seen as either C6 or Aminor7, both of which are highly compatible with the key of C.

However, now your blow-draw pattern has a redundancy:

C D E F G A(draw) A(blow) B B

So you have to choose which of the two A notes to play. Having that choice can offer several desirable options for phrasing - but you're trading off simplicity for opportunity.

D Mc

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Re: Blow draw pattern
« Reply #27 on: December 29, 2012, 09:00:05 PM »

 I am so glad I joined this forum!  You guys are great!  You all have given me a lot to ponder on and I like that.  This is not exactly a life changing choice and I'm sure I could make whatever tuning I choose work but learning the consequences of each change is fascinating to me.  It is also forcing me to learn more about music which is a good thing, too.

David

Bluesy

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Re: Blow draw pattern
« Reply #28 on: December 29, 2012, 11:11:06 PM »
Being a jazz player on harmonica I find the bebop tuning most helpful tuning yet devised. Descending arpeggios and runs are easier and diminished 7ths are assisted by having 2 Bb's, one a blow. The entire key of Bb is much easier on a bebopped chrome. Instead of having to deal with a draw tonic you've got a blow Bb (and a draw when you need it). The keys of Db, Eb Ab and F are more flexible and easier on a bebopped chrome. Aside from the key of G and C, most jazz and popular standards are written in flat keys - not all of course, but you have to look hard to find one that's not.
That's why I have every harmonica I play bebopped. It's my opinion that if we want to progress in our skills at the most rapid rate it is important for every horn in our larder to be tuned the same and to play them exclusively so as not to spin our wheels uselessly.

Bluesy/

Lo

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Re: Blow draw pattern
« Reply #29 on: March 19, 2013, 08:45:36 AM »

There is a tuning that uses a blow B and a draw C at the top of the octave, then repeats the same pattern for every octave. It's called Classical Tuning. It's not common. Gary made one for me; but I couldn't see the advantage it had over standard solo tuning.
One advantage is, as mentioned in the first post, the fact that the "draw higher than blow" pattern persists through the harmonica. Another may be the addition of some chords, as E minor, F minor, F major, F# major (on a C harmonica).
« Last Edit: April 09, 2013, 05:14:47 AM by Lo »