Author Topic: The new Wedin tuning for chromatic. Regular scales in many keys! And ornaments!  (Read 298 times)

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Online Edvin

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When I play the chromatic I use a tuning that's quite a bit different from the others. I've been using it since I picked up the chrom a few fears ago, and I think it's high time I'd to share this tuning with the SlideMeister community! I hope someone will find it interesting  :)

I suppose the tuning could be summarised as follows: Many comfortable keys, with regular breathing patterns and easy diatonic ornaments.

In an attempt to avoid immediately scaring people away with the tuning diagram, I thought I'd first show you what it does. I'm no virtuoso, but hopefully the clips give some idea of its potential. Listen to all of them or just the ones that seem interesting.

So. Here goes.

Pentatonic scales in most keys can be played with only two patterns. In the following clip I use a single breathing pattern to play a simple Irish melody in 4 keys, using the slider only to change between keys. A similar pattern gives 4 more keys, so in total 8 out of 12 key signatures have simple pentatonic scales that don't require the slider!

https://cloud.fripost.org/s/qnrkBskDjYs5xcc (Files are hosted at a server I'm a member of, no fishy "free-storage" site ;))

6 of these 8 key signatures allow you to regularly expand the pentatonic scales to full diatonic scales, without requiring awkward slider work. Thus, when playing by ear, it's very possible not to know what key you're in. In fact, in these 6 key signatures, there are easy diatonic ornaments (like trills) on every note! The effect might not be quite as extreme as with Brendan Power's slide diatonics, but you get it in 6 key signatures (each with major, minor, Dorian, Mixolydic etc modes!) and you have all chromatic notes for accidentals! The following clip demonstrates this with a Swedish tune in natural Bm, but it could be played just as well in Gm, Dm, Am or Em.

https://cloud.fripost.org/s/2Rx8tef4zxb7GSE

The real advantage, and my main motivation for developing this tuning, is that it facilitates playing ornaments in tunes that don't conform to standard major or natural minor scales.

In this clip I play a Swedish tune in Am where the third, the sixth and the seventh alternates between minor and major:

https://cloud.fripost.org/s/ydd8BtWJAkfYsaA

The following clip is a short doodle in the D Hijaz scale (D Eb F# G A Bb C D), to show that it might work reasonably for Middle Eastern music as well.

https://cloud.fripost.org/s/pb9kizTrZPcSd5q

Here's one more clip in Swedish (last one, promise!), this time in D melodic minor (D E F G A B C# D). I'm happy with this one.

https://cloud.fripost.org/s/DCzYi4nHkidK5tq

Finally, for reference, here's a longer clip (1:43) where I play the same short piece from an Irish melody in all 6 good keys using the same articulations. (as oppose to the others, this one's in major!)

https://cloud.fripost.org/s/ZL7rC7FLp8sYKje

And before anyone asks: Yes, it has the same range as Solo tuning. And yes, it has repeating octaves :)

Another post with a tuning diagram will follow shortly. Stay tuned!
« Last Edit: January 04, 2022, 01:21:44 PM by Edvin »
Edvin Wedin - Sweden

Offline streetlegal

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It's been a while since we've had a new alternate tuning system for chromatic posted here. So I'm looking forward to studying your diagram Edvin 8).

Offline Grizzly

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Okay, I'm hooked. Sort of. Let's see the chart, so I (we) can determine whether retuning a solo tuned harmonica is feasible.

Tom
working on my second 10,000!

Offline John Broecker

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Yes, I'm also waiting for the note placement chart.

Best Regards, Stay Healthy

John ("Note Charts") Boecker
Chechalutz of Charmonica
Born 12-27:French chemist Louis Pasteur (1822-'95),laws of vaccination, pasteurization; Johannes Kepler (1571-1630) astronomy, mathematics, philosophy

Online Edvin

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The note chart is appended. Have a look :)

It has the same range as orchestra tuning with three identical octaves, except the very top and bottom notes. It's 6 good major keys are Bb, F, C, G, D and A, with good minor keys Gm, Dm, Am, Em and F#m.

Use the following rules to climb up the scale:
To move up a full step from a blow note:
Move one hole to the right
or release the slide and draw.
To move up a full step from a draw note:
Move one hole to the right
or push the slide blow one hole to the right.
To move up half a step from blow note:
Draw one note to the left
or push the slide.
To move up half a step from draw note:
Blow in the same hole
or push the slide.
If you are playing in one of the good keys, these instructions are almost foolproof! If you happen to be playing an E note, a draw A or a blow B, you must choose the right option. What's beautiful is that the right option for these notes also work for neighbouring holes, so you can guess when in doubt!

These intervals can of course be strung together to longer ones. Going up a minor third can often be done by changing from blow to draw, going up a fourth can almost always be done by changing from blow to draw and moving one step to the right, etc. Of course, to move down the scale you just follow the rules backwards.

It might seem complicated, but because it always work the pattern can be learned quickly.

For instance: In the 8(!) pentatonic keys Eb, Bb, F, C, G, D, A and E you can ALWAYS apply the first choice for every rule and keep the slide stationary! See the appended phrase map for pentatonic scales!

As for ornaments: Half-note trills are produced with the slide. Whole-note trills are produced with jaw flicks, like trills between A and B on a standard Solo. Moving quickly back and forth between three or more consecutive notes in a scale has never been easier!

A few comments:
  • There are no double stops or chords. This is a melody instrument! ("If you wanna chug, find yourself a suck-harp" ;))
  • It shares some advantages of LeGato tuning, but because my tuning repeats every 4 holes it should be a much easier project to make from a stock chrom.
  • Keys A, D, F and Bb can be played without moving the slide.
  • Because both slide-in and slide-out notes are useful in most scales, flipping the slide upside-down is an option. In fact, since Dm and Gm are common in Swedish folk music and I play more minor than major, I mostly play flat-slide, including on all the recordings. I chose to present the sharp slide version here first because I thought it might appeal to more people.


Any comments or questions are very welcome!  :) There is more to be covered, but this is enough for a second post ... I already feel it's getting too long ;)

And Grizzly: I've bought both of mine customised from Seydel, but the retuning should be possible. Do you have any input on the retunability? The easiest way to try it is to program it into your midi harmonica, if you're fortunate enough have one.
« Last Edit: January 06, 2022, 07:03:19 PM by Edvin »
Edvin Wedin - Sweden

Offline Grizzly

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The lowest slide-out blow scale is A. I'm thinking that transposing it to C might be easier to modify a solo C, but I haven't studied it in detail.

OR: If I drop the first rank (BbAGA), adjust for range and tack it onto the other end, swap slide-in for slide-out for both blow and draw, would that work?

Tom
working on my second 10,000!

Offline Grizzly

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Db  Eb  F   G    Db  Eb  F  G    Db Eb  F   G
C    D   E    Bb  C    D   E   Bb  C   D   E   C
Bb  F   G    A    B    F   G   A    B   F   G    A
C   Gb  Ab  Bb  C   Gb  Ab Bb  C  Gb  Ab  Bb 

Transposed. Would not be easy to retune a solo tuned 12/48.

Tom
working on my second 10,000!

Offline John Broecker

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Hello, Edvin.

Your new reed placement system looks
good. Thanks for your note chart.

It's too late at night, for a closer exam
at this time.

If I was a "one harp fits all scales" player,
it would appear to be limited to a handful
of scales, rather than a fully chromatic harp.
Please correct me if this is an incorrect
observation.

As an old player (52 years of solo system),
my tendency is to stay with the solo system,
having explored other systems, with a limited
amount of time, limited amount of success.

Your system looks promising, especially for
younger players who are open to new ideas.
Thanks for your work, and your introduction
to a new reed placement system.

You have expanded the versatility of the slide
harmonica.


Best Regards, Stay Healthy

JB

 
« Last Edit: January 07, 2022, 12:42:03 AM by John Broecker »
Born 12-27:French chemist Louis Pasteur (1822-'95),laws of vaccination, pasteurization; Johannes Kepler (1571-1630) astronomy, mathematics, philosophy

Offline streetlegal

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I need to study this pattern a bit more - thinking of it from a flat-slide point of view. But the C flat-slde major scale (as I derived it from Grizzly's diagram) looks very playable to me - my preference is always to play the blow note when available - so that is the pattern I would follow for all of the major scales. This might or might not throw up some challenges - but every tuning layout has it's challenges.
« Last Edit: January 07, 2022, 06:10:03 AM by streetlegal »

Offline Grizzly

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My chart isn't flat-slide, just a transposition of the original chart.

Tom
working on my second 10,000!

Online Edvin

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Thank you all for the input!

 Grizzly:
Shifting the tuning, i.e. moving some notes from the top to the bottom is certainly possible. In that case, one should of course adjust the notes at the ends. I've done this in changing the two G#'s at the ends to a G and an A, as these notes are more useful to me than G#'s.

If I understand "swap slide-in for slide-out for both blow and draw" correctly, that is to simply, physically, put the slide in upside-down. I attach the corresponding note chart for this configuration. Is I briefly mentioned in my last post, this is how I normally play. I've appended a chart for this!

As for the key change you suggest: This would give the good keys Db, Ab, Eb, Bb and C. (A good trick to remember this is that these are the keys between the two blow notes in hole 1.)

I would label your transposition as being in the key of Db, after the flattest key. The one in my diagrams I would call Bb harp.


 JB:
Thank you for your kind words! :) Regarding your observation that this tuning seems limited to a few scales, I'd have to disagree though.

You are right in that this tuning has a few scales that are more comfortable, but even a person who only want to play easy keys could get by with two harmonicas since these "few" constitute 6 of the 12 scales. :)

Also, to get a fair comparison, you'd have to consider the more awkward keys of standard Solo tuning. I've not been playing Solo that much, but keys like D or A major seem HARD. There is no apparent underlying logic, except trying to think in terms of a C major scale with a number of sharps.

In contrast, what I call the "awkward" keys of my tuning (Eb, Ab, Db, Gb, B and E) follow the same logic as the comfortable keys! You just have to use an additional combination of the rules (release the slide and move one hole to the right to move up one half step) and keep track of the "boundaries" where you need to change your direction of breath.

Of course I'm biased, but in my opinion the hardest keys of my tuning are much easier than most keys on Solo.


 Streetlegal:
That scale is very playable indeed! The corresponding scales in my diagrams that are just as easy, without any slide work, are Bb, F, D and A. I've appended a phrase map with some slide-less major and minor scales! If you like blow notes, have a look at the G major scale, and maybe the C major one as well, in my charts. You'll find they can be played with only one note each as a draw. Tunes in the G and C major pentatonic scales can be played with only blows! ;)
« Last Edit: January 07, 2022, 06:53:10 PM by Edvin »
Edvin Wedin - Sweden

Offline streetlegal

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My chart isn't flat-slide, just a transposition of the original chart.

Tom

Yes indeed - but because I am a flat-slide player I am accustomed to 'deriving' the flat-slide scales from sharp-slide diagrams.

Edvin - the only thing that I can see might create a problem for me with this layout is the idea of 'going into reverse' to get the next note of a scale - as shown in your phrase maps for your 'slideless' scales - moving back one hole from the 3rd to get to the 4th note. I think that might take some getting used to.

(As an afterthought it would be interesting to see how this layout would work out on the Seydel slideless harmonica. I think there may be some advantages in the 'legato' style patterns on that instrument - but I think that would have to be explored in the Slideless Chromatics section).
« Last Edit: January 08, 2022, 06:04:10 AM by streetlegal »

Online Edvin

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My chart isn't flat-slide, just a transposition of the original chart.

Tom

Yes indeed - but because I am a flat-slide player I am accustomed to 'deriving' the flat-slide scales from sharp-slide diagrams.

Edvin - the only thing that I can see might create a problem for me with this layout is the idea of 'going into reverse' to get the next note of a scale - as shown in your phrase maps for your 'slideless' scales - moving back one hole from the 3rd to get to the 4th note. I think that might take some getting used to.

(As an afterthought it would be interesting to see how this layout would work out on the Seydel slideless harmonica. I think there may be some advantages in the 'legato' style patterns on that instrument - but I think that would have to be explored in the Slideless Chromatics section).

I prefer the flat slide as well. One nice thing about this tuning is that you don't have to retune it to get a flat-slide harp in a reasonable key. It's not like with Solo where tuning the slide gives you a Db instrument with accidentals.

Two points about the 'going in reverse':
First, if you look closely at the chart (either the flat or the sharp slide version, they are tuned the same!) you'll find that any scale can always be played left to right using the slide! I often use these alternative patterns to reduce jumps, to get a better pattern of blows and draws or to set up ornaments.

Second, at least for me personally, I don't often get confused going back and forth between this sort of tuning and more traditional ones. I think this is because the patterns are so different that they don't interfere. It's like how you might mix up words you've learned in Spanish with Italian words, but not with German words. Don't worry though, learning this "new language" is easier than learning Solo, at least if you play by ear.

I've had my eyes on the Nonslider since it was announced! It's high on my list, as soon as my budget allows :)
Edvin Wedin - Sweden

Offline streetlegal

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Yes - I see that there is a slide alternative pattern for the scales and as I like to use the slide that is the one I would naturally opt to play. I can also see the usefulness of the easy access to the pentatonic scales.