Author Topic: How to hold the chromatic  (Read 1130 times)

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Offline beads

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How to hold the chromatic
« on: July 15, 2023, 07:00:59 PM »
Philip Achille recently posted a tutorial about holding the harmonica.

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Offline Age

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Re: How to hold the chromatic
« Reply #1 on: July 15, 2023, 08:55:16 PM »
I guess I'm just bad! I see stuff like this as the same kinda "Knuckle wrapping, Classical bondage," that has more or less kept me away from classical music all my life. To me: IT JUST AIN'T ALL THAT COMPLICATED! There are people out there that subscribe to this kinda teaching to the letter, and wonder why they don't sound like he does, while at the same time time others play just as well and don't do any of that stuff. Nah! 8)

If it works for you; that's great, but I'd rather just play.  8)

"Stand like this,
head up,
shoulders back,
tip your pelvis up,
relax your fingers,
relax your jaw, 
tighten your neck,
relax your diaphragm,
put this foot here and that foot there,
hold this hand like so,
hold the button like so,
channel Chopin and Beethoven  yadayadayada."

Now enjoy yourself??? Impossible!

Sounds to me like "Eye on the ball," "Shoulder to the wheel,"  and "Nose to the grindstone!" and now lemme see ya get anything done working in THAT position!

Gimme a break!

Study the picture of one of my heroes below. It says it all for me (even the title of the CD - and in this case, especially the title) Sir Charles is a monster player, and he doesn't do any of that stuff and neither will I. Harrumph!  ;D
« Last Edit: July 15, 2023, 09:06:27 PM by Age »
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Offline Age

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Re: How to hold the chromatic
« Reply #2 on: July 15, 2023, 09:20:27 PM »
I don't wanna overcomplicate stuff. For me, I split the difference; half head and half hand movement. This reduces the effort of both componants by half. What could make more sense than that. (don't tell me, cuz I don't even care anymore. ;D)

The button finger? Again, who gives a rip? Whatever is so easy for me that it allows me to forget I'm even doing it, is how I roll. If it feels "organic" that's what I do. This way, all I hafta think about is the music. While all that other stuff would make a stuffy old maestro smile, it would only make me less of a player, and I couldn't afford that.

IMPO and YMMV of course. ;D
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Offline Grizzly

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Re: How to hold the chromatic
« Reply #3 on: July 15, 2023, 10:48:54 PM »
Did you actually watch the video? Did you pay attention to what he was saying? Little of what he said was rigidly carved in stone. Left hand (with some variation for hand size), move the harmonica instead of the head (uncompromising), which actually makes some sense. I'm with you on that, BTW; I see no harm in meeting large leaps with an opposite head movement, which is almost unavoidable, IMO. The alternative, stationary harmonica and searching head movement really is counterintuitive. But at least in this episode, he was very free about how a player would use the right hand. I don't take what he says as Gospel. It's the approach that works for him, which he is sharing.

Tom
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Offline Age

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Re: How to hold the chromatic
« Reply #4 on: July 15, 2023, 11:15:01 PM »
I watched up to the last minute or so and had enough. :P

No. Like I said, I'm not poo-pooing it per-say, just saying it's snot for me. :-\  As far as the "head movement," although he says not to move it, he does move his head as well! The way I see it, if he would loose that "move hand only" rule (that he breaks anyway) and divides the movements up evenly, he could be an even better player. (and we'd all like to see that)

The way I see it, anything we can learn from another player that actually works for us is gunna be a win-win; but for me (personally) I just see this particular technique as a loose-loose. :P ;D
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Offline streetlegal

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Re: How to hold the chromatic
« Reply #5 on: July 16, 2023, 04:43:53 AM »
This is similar to the video that was made by Wim Dijkgraaf 8) - he called it 'horizontal movement'. It does make a lot of sense to me, because if we can form the habit of moving the harmonica horizontally with the left hand (really the left arm), then that will help with our visualisation of the mouthpiece intervals - where our playing position is in relation to the notes we are trying to locate. We can think of it a bit like a manual typewriter. If the letter-face and the shuttle were both moving around, that would make things very complicated in a mechanical sense.

I agree though that this horizontal movement technique should not be too stiffly followed, because in that case everything including the playing would tend to stiffen up. So we don't need to play with a book balanced on our heads - just get facility in the left hand, so that it does most of the work - and of course the more automatic it becomes, the easier it gets.

Offline beads

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Re: How to hold the chromatic
« Reply #6 on: July 16, 2023, 01:41:41 PM »
In some of his videos his head does move a bit, so he is probably not suggesting we freeze like a statue. Most of the movement comes from one place, the left arm. Everybody is different, but you can't argue with the results he gets. I've watched some of his recent videos and there is no way I will ever be that good.
Interestingly, Max De Aloe, whose book I've been using, suggests the exact opposite method. He suggests moving the head and keeping the harp still. However, when you watch him, he does move the harp some.
It seems that each of these top notch players agree on one thing: most of the movement should come from one place. At least when first learning. Now, perhaps they are saying this because they are aiming this instruction at beginners. After all, if you are talking about how to hold and move the instrument, you are talking about a very basic first step. Perhaps at that point it is best to not confuse the beginner with combinations of movements. When I took golf lessons my instructor did the same thing. He had me learning isolated movements and then combining them later.
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Offline beads

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Re: How to hold the chromatic
« Reply #7 on: July 16, 2023, 02:05:23 PM »
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Offline Age

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Re: How to hold the chromatic
« Reply #8 on: July 16, 2023, 04:31:07 PM »
I'm genetically disposed to be lazy, and have always  split it right down the middle, cuz it takes the least amount of effort and yields the maximum result. (really, not rocket surgery) Besides, like Sammy sings it: "I gotta be me!" 8)
« Last Edit: July 16, 2023, 04:37:39 PM by Age »
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Offline Grizzly

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Re: How to hold the chromatic
« Reply #9 on: July 16, 2023, 04:59:12 PM »
working on my second 10,000!

Offline Age

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Re: How to hold the chromatic
« Reply #10 on: July 16, 2023, 05:42:16 PM »
Nope! In the first 15 seconds (which was as far as I watched ::)) ~I~ saw his nogin movin' all over the place. :)
« Last Edit: July 16, 2023, 05:44:18 PM by Age »
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Re: How to hold the chromatic
« Reply #11 on: July 16, 2023, 10:18:29 PM »
Like they train new hires…do as I say, not as I do.
Be fair, be square and obey the rules of the pack.

Offline streetlegal

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Re: How to hold the chromatic
« Reply #12 on: July 17, 2023, 05:56:32 AM »
If we think about how much the harmonica actually moves between notes, most of the time the movements are very small. This is why although I like the idea of horizontal movement with the left arm as the starting point, I think it is good to combine it with tilting the mouthpiece a little and this actually happens in combination with some small movement of the lips across the mouthpiece.

So imagine playing C5 up to G then down to B and back to C again. By tilting at each movement - say left hand up a little to play G at mouthpiece slight downward tilt and left hand down a little to play B at mouthpiece slight upward tilt - with C in the mouthpiece level position - and by playing notes G and B out of each side of the mouth ( G from the right side of the lips and B from the left side of the lips) with C in middle position, this in fact minimises the amount of horizontal movement for both mouthpiece and lips.

I have amended this because I found that I actually preferred tilting the other way around - but either way will work 8).
« Last Edit: July 20, 2023, 02:50:16 AM by streetlegal »

Offline RichChrome

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Re: How to hold the chromatic
« Reply #13 on: July 17, 2023, 04:53:16 PM »
He's such a fine player, a flawless performance.