Author Topic: Flat Slide  (Read 10479 times)

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Offline streetlegal

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Flat Slide
« on: January 19, 2013, 07:25:27 AM »
I thought I'd start a thread especially for those who have chosen to play flat slide. I made the change last year - I never felt really comfortable with sharp slide playing, so I decided to try playing flat slide to see how it would feel. It took me a few weeks to get used to the change, but once I had it felt like something had fallen into place.

I'm not sure why flat slide feels so right to me - but I am pretty sure that it changes the whole feel of the instrument. I don't have knowledge of music theory, but there is something I've heard of called 'the leading note' -  the way in which a note resolves, or paves the way pleasingly into the next note - which may have something to do with my preference for flat slide playing. If anyone else can give an explanation of exactly how flat slide playing differs from sharp slide in theory terms, I'd be grateful.
« Last Edit: January 19, 2013, 07:27:31 AM by streetlegal »

Offline SlideMeister

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Re: Flat Slide
« Reply #1 on: January 19, 2013, 12:27:28 PM »
After sixty years, other than possibly "Beer Barrel Polka" I personally have no use for it. ;D

joelong

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Re: Flat Slide
« Reply #2 on: January 19, 2013, 06:35:35 PM »
I've got one flat-slide chrom so far (G), and another on the way (D, orchestra tuning).  I think why flat-slide feels more natural to me is that the note a half-step below the tonic leads naturally to the tonic, whereas the note a half-step above the tonic doesn't lead naturally to the tonic, at least in Western music.  I'm undoubtedly influenced by the fact that I play a lot of Celtic music.

MickyG

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Re: Flat Slide
« Reply #3 on: January 19, 2013, 08:53:51 PM »
 :-[ I wish I knew what "flat-slide" was/is! :-[

MickyG

iowaplayer

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Re: Flat Slide
« Reply #4 on: January 19, 2013, 11:31:04 PM »
:-[ I wish I knew what "flat-slide" was/is! :-[

MickyG
micky:

if i understand things correctly:

on a regular chromatic, pushing the button in gives you the sharp of the note with button out.   on a c chromatic, hole 1 blow, button out = c, button in = C#

on a flat chromatic, pushing the button in gives you the flat of the note with button out.  on a c chromatic, hole 1 blow, button out = C#, button in = C
they accomplish this by flipping the slide over when reassembling the mouthpiece.

why some folks to that is the purpose of this whole thread.  it is also quite beyond my comprehension.

plain old boring orthodox iowaplayer :)

Offline smojoe

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Re: Flat Slide
« Reply #5 on: January 20, 2013, 12:47:18 AM »

Actually strange as this may seem..and I DO have a lot of strange things in my life, I know of at least THREE circumstances where a harmonica player has played with the 'Dry Irish' tuning. In one case, a player didn't want his younger brother playing his chromo, so he would reverse the mouthpiece to mess up his brother.
Well...it didn't work. The brother still learned to play..only he learned in the flat slide arrangemement.

In 2 other cases, the chromo already came with the slides in reversed. The players didn't know this was abnormal and learned to play them as they were assembled.

There was a case where I went to the large Lomakin music store in Pgh. and while there buying clarinet reeds, overheard a conversation where a customer was complaining that his chromo wasn't working. In this case, the man was a reader and wasn't able to follow music with it. I stepped in, looked into the mouthpiece and notified them that the slide was in backwards...no, upside down.

Took out my pocket knife and adjusted it and the customer was quite relieved...as was the sales person. But they still charged me for the reeds. If I had been a doctor, I could have charged a consulting fee..right?

Why a slide would be put in wrong is way beyond my comprehension.

smo-joe

MickyG

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Re: Flat Slide
« Reply #6 on: January 20, 2013, 02:05:52 AM »
:-[ I wish I knew what "flat-slide" was/is! :-[

MickyG
micky:

if i understand things correctly:

on a regular chromatic, pushing the button in gives you the sharp of the note with button out.   on a c chromatic, hole 1 blow, button out = c, button in = C#

on a flat chromatic, pushing the button in gives you the flat of the note with button out.  on a c chromatic, hole 1 blow, button out = C#, button in = C
they accomplish this by flipping the slide over when reassembling the mouthpiece.

why some folks to that is the purpose of this whole thread.  it is also quite beyond my comprehension.

plain old boring orthodox iowaplayer :)

lol...thanks iowaplayer,

I have enough problems trying to figure things out with everything the right way up!! :o

So I guess one would have to go "spring-less" too, or drill another hole in the other side of the slide?

Just curious...

MickyG

iowaplayer

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Re: Flat Slide
« Reply #7 on: January 20, 2013, 06:32:48 AM »
micky - yeah.  there was a thread here recently about drilling a new hole in the slide to allow flipping.

iowaplayer

Offline streetlegal

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Re: Flat Slide
« Reply #8 on: January 21, 2013, 06:52:10 AM »
Yes - I know that most players don't see the point of flat slide playing and won't be flipping their slides and that's fine. But what I'd really like to know is what the music theory people here think about how a flat slide approach differs from a sharp slide approach in the way that the music unfolds.

I think that Joe's point relating to the playing of Irish music is a good one - but in my view the advantages of the flat slide could equally apply to jazz playing. I just don't have the knowledge to explain why this should be so.

If anyone, out of curiosity, would like to experiment with flat slide playing you can do it by flipping the slide and removing the spring and tying your finger to the button. CX12 players can simply remove the slide from the button - carefully slip it out - and turn the slide over and push it back on. Only problem is once you have tried it, you might find that you have fallen in love with that flat slide 8)
« Last Edit: January 21, 2013, 06:59:53 AM by streetlegal »

Offline Grizzly

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Re: Flat Slide
« Reply #9 on: January 21, 2013, 08:26:57 AM »
Flipping the slide allows you to play the sharps with the slide out and the naturals with the slide in. As far as playing along with others, isn't this somewhat limiting?

Hohner and Seydel make harmonicas in B, which would put flat slide harmonicas in C, a real boon; and an Eb would make a nice E, but how often do people play an E harmonica? In fact, you could flip the slide on any harmonica if you had a use for a keyed harmonica a half step higher. But for common Irish keys, like D and G, it would mean the expense of buying separate reedplates to accomplish the same thing. Seydel might accommodate a "retuning," but not (so far) Hohner.

If I were really into Celtic repertoire, with its distinctive ornamentation, I'd certainly look into a flat slide harmonica.

Tom
working on my second 10,000!

MickyG

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Re: Flat Slide
« Reply #10 on: January 21, 2013, 10:57:42 AM »
Yes - I know that most players don't see the point of flat slide playing and won't be flipping their slides and that's fine. But what I'd really like to know is what the music theory people here think about how a flat slide approach differs from a sharp slide approach in the way that the music unfolds.

I think that Joe's point relating to the playing of Irish music is a good one - but in my view the advantages of the flat slide could equally apply to jazz playing. I just don't have the knowledge to explain why this should be so.

If anyone, out of curiosity, would like to experiment with flat slide playing you can do it by flipping the slide and removing the spring and tying your finger to the button. CX12 players can simply remove the slide from the button - carefully slip it out - and turn the slide over and push it back on. Only problem is once you have tried it, you might find that you have fallen in love with that flat slide 8)

I'm going to try the "spring less" configuration on my  soon-to-be delivered CX-12, so I will try "flipping" the slide too...after all I'm always on the look-out for a little extra affection ;)

MickyG

Offline Gnarly He Man

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Re: Flat Slide
« Reply #11 on: January 21, 2013, 07:54:20 PM »
I received a Hering chrom in B that was set up as a flat slide, and I converted it back to B for when I have to play with guitar players who tune down a half step.
Oh yes, I bopped it too, duh . . .  ;D

Offline SlideMeister

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Re: Flat Slide
« Reply #12 on: January 21, 2013, 08:51:56 PM »
Joey sed: Why a slide would be put in wrong is way beyond my comprehension.

Ditto!  The longer I play, the more I think Hohner (even if they didn't have the right idea to start with i.e. the original tuning of the first Chromatics) eventually got it right; including the sharp slide.

Offline streetlegal

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Re: Flat Slide
« Reply #13 on: January 22, 2013, 06:17:05 AM »
But still no thoughts on how playing flat slide differs in music theory terms from sharp slide? I'm not suggesting that one option is any better than the other as it effects chromatic playing - only that there is a difference which is significant. I know there are a few music theory big hitters on this forum, so maybe they will have something to add.

To make it simple, let's take the case of a jazz player playing a song tune in the key of C ( first on a C / C# sharp slide chromatic - second on a C / B flat slide ) and adding his own ornamentational improvisations. My contention is that the way he approaches that tune would be different if he played it flat slide - as dropping down a semitone on the push of the button opens up different more readily available playing patterns than he would play when pushing the button to go up a semitone. In my view it is the flow of the music that is changed and this is what makes the difference between flat slide and sharp slide playing significant.

So the question remains - just what is going on here?

Offline Grizzly

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Re: Flat Slide
« Reply #14 on: January 22, 2013, 08:27:36 AM »
Modern musical theory is largely immutable. Octaves are still octaves, the equal temperament scale is still the tuning most people use on chromatic harmonicas (with slight variations). Just to give two of may examples.

What you're talking about is differences in style, genre and approach to playing. If there is anyone playing jazz on a flat-slide harmonica, I haven't heard. If anyone using flat slide harmonica for Celtic cuts and rolls is also playing jazz on it, no one has come forth.

Not that it can't be done. Maybe flat slide tuning can facilitate jazz licks and improvs in some way, but I imagine the player would be sacrificing some of the things he can do with sharp slide tuning.

Tom
working on my second 10,000!

Offline Jason Rogers

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Re: Flat Slide
« Reply #15 on: February 01, 2013, 01:21:45 PM »
Please feel free to disagree with me, but in thinking about this abstractly, I've come to this thought:

This question of any difference in playing patterns on the C/B seems like it is almost more psychological than anything.

Isn't playing a song in C on a C/B flat slide chrom pretty much the same as playing a song in Db on a C/Db sharp slide chrom?

The only difference whatsoever is the difference in pushing IN the slide - to descend a half step - on the C/B vs. letting OUT the slide on the C/Db.  It just takes getting used to, but once you DO get used to it, you have all the same patterns you've always had.

I'm just throwing this out there.  I have not even tried using a flat-slide setup. 


Offline SlideMeister

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Re: Flat Slide
« Reply #16 on: February 01, 2013, 02:46:43 PM »
No.  8)

Offline Jason Rogers

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Re: Flat Slide
« Reply #17 on: February 01, 2013, 03:02:38 PM »
Right.   ;D   hee hee
« Last Edit: February 01, 2013, 03:06:07 PM by chespernevins »

Offline SlideMeister

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Re: Flat Slide
« Reply #18 on: February 01, 2013, 03:13:17 PM »
Yeah, maybe I'm weird, but the flat slide just seems Rong!  ;)

Offline streetlegal

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Re: Flat Slide
« Reply #19 on: February 02, 2013, 06:08:56 AM »
Resistance is futile - the only way is flat slide 8)

Offline SlideMeister

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Re: Flat Slide
« Reply #20 on: February 02, 2013, 10:12:34 AM »
Hey! Knock yourself out, StreetMeister!
Whattever floats yer boat!  ;D



@ge

Lo

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Re: Flat Slide
« Reply #21 on: March 18, 2013, 09:35:11 AM »
If I were really into Celtic repertoire, with its distinctive ornamentation, I'd certainly look into a flat slide harmonica.

Not only that, but if you played a lot of Baroque music with all its trills, I think you would find that a C/B chrom statistically covers a lot more of the called-for trills than a C/Db.
But that's just a music theorist's feeling. I haven't actually made up any stats, so I can't prove it.

Offline Grizzly

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Re: Flat Slide
« Reply #22 on: March 18, 2013, 11:01:12 AM »
I haven't studied it either, but there are several trills available on a C/C# that work in classical music: E/F, A/B, Bb/C, B/C, D/Eb, F/F#; and if you're clever, F/G all blow, with a change of slide and hole, and G/A, if you can get the change in breath direction to work for you. I've used a few of these in Baroque music; certainly a C/B harmonica would add more.

Tom
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jazmaan

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Re: Flat Slide
« Reply #23 on: March 19, 2013, 01:27:38 AM »
Speaking totally off the top of my head with no personal experience, it seems to me that perhaps a Hohner "Slide Harp" chromatic in Richter tuning, might benefit from flat-slide in that it would somewhat approximate the bending down of notes on a diatonic harp.  But not really, because the "bends" would only be half-step bends.   

Otherwise, it shoudn't make any difference whether you're using a "stab" on a flat-slde or a "release" on a regular harp to get a descending half-step.  Both should be equally efficacious and fluent.   A "release" seems more logical to me.  "Let it out" to go lower, "push it in" to get higher.  Kind of like daylight savings time's "Spring forward" "fall back". 

As for different styles of music.  It seems to me that the whole-step triplets that are ubiquitous in bebop usually start on the lower note then ascend to the higher note before returning to the lower note.  I'm sure there are reverse examples where the middle note is the lower tone, but I can't think of any jazz tunes based on that kind of reversed triplet that might benefit from a flat slide.
« Last Edit: March 19, 2013, 01:32:49 AM by jazmaan »

Offline streetlegal

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Re: Flat Slide
« Reply #24 on: March 19, 2013, 07:50:00 AM »
I know that there is some good reason to explain my preference for flat slide over sharp slide, but I can't explain it. All I can say is that I have found that the music flows easier with flat slide. When I was playing sharp slide I always felt as if I was swimming against the current - with flat slide I feel like I'm going with the flow 8)

Lo

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Re: Flat Slide
« Reply #25 on: March 19, 2013, 08:32:14 AM »
That is probably the best reason ever.

Offline Brendan Power

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Re: Flat Slide
« Reply #26 on: April 17, 2013, 12:23:26 AM »
All this talk... Streetlegal, you'd get your point over a lot more effectively if you show rather than tell. Can you post som clips of your playing with a flat slide?

Flat slide style is preferred by many who play Irish music on the chrom, and increasingly also by Indian chromatic players to play their classical and Bollywood music. Here's a very persuasive explanation and demo of its benefits in Indian music :

http://m.youtube.com/#/watch?v=UnQMgCiewks&feature=player_embedded&desktop_uri=%2Fwatch%3Ffeature%3Dplayer_embedded%26v%3DUnQMgCiewks

BP

Offline streetlegal

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Re: Flat Slide
« Reply #27 on: April 17, 2013, 06:36:44 AM »
My playing wouldn't be good enough to provide a fair demonstration of flat slide playing. I'm still in the beginner/improver class 8)

Couldn't get the youtube link to work unfortunately - I'd be interested to hear his thoughts on this.

Offline Jason Rogers

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Re: Flat Slide
« Reply #28 on: April 17, 2013, 06:39:28 AM »
Hi streetlegal,

I found I couldn't access the link either.

Try this one instead:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?client=mv-google&gl=US&hl=en&feature=player_embedded&v=UnQMgCiewks&nomobile=1

Offline streetlegal

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Re: Flat Slide
« Reply #29 on: April 17, 2013, 07:49:48 AM »
Thanks chespernevins and to Brendan and especially to Sumanta. This is a wonderful demonstration of how flat slide playing differs from sharp slide playing. This gentleman is a flat slide maestro 8)