Old Swedish harmonica music (and a harmonica with bells!)

Anything apart from the two mainstream default harmonicas (Solo-tuned fully-valved chromatic, and un-valved Richter 10-hole diatonic). Alternate tunings, different construction, new functionality, interesting old designs, wishful-thinking... whatever!
EdvinW
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Old Swedish harmonica music (and a harmonica with bells!)

Post by EdvinW » Wed Mar 13, 2019 8:32 pm

I found an album with traditional Swedish tunes for harmonica and accordion on Deezer today, called "Munspel & Handklaver" (or Harmonica & Accordion where it's available with English cover) It might be available on Spotify as well, and it seems the individual tracks can be found on Youtube.

The label has a page for it here:
https://musikverket.se/capricerecords/a ... n/?lang=en (English)
https://musikverket.se/capricerecords/a ... n/?lang=sv (Swedish)

The information on the Swedish page tells us that around 1900 harmonicas and accordions were already very popular, and the harmonica especially so in the northern province of Jämtland where a player called Lapp-Nils was influential.

The most curious track I think is track 8, "Polka (munspel med kockor)", which features a harmonica with bells! Link to the track on Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZB4DooEwrec
It starts with the history of the particular instrument, which I have transcribed in Swedish and translated into English:
"Det här spelet köptes av en ung pojk på Ryds marknad 1890 för 4 kronor 50 öre, och det har två klockor, och detta spelade han på tills han var 85 år gammal, eller 86. Då Dog han, och han hade sagt ifrån att jag skulle ha hans spel när han var död. Jag ska försöka spela ett stycke på det spelet, men det är ju ganska gammalt och slitet. Men det har sånahär klockor."

"This harmonica was bought by a young boy at the Ryd fair in 1890 for 4 kornor 5 öre, and it has two bells, and this he played until he was 85 years old, or 86. Then he died, and he had said that I should have his harmonica when he was dead. I will try to play a piece on this harmonica, but of course it's rather old and worn. But it has bells like this."

One could argue whether the recording does the bells justice or not, but I still think it's very interesting to hear! It's recorded sometime in the 70's in the home of the player, who is from the province of Blekinge in the very south of Sweden.
Edvin Wedin

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triona
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Re: Old Swedish harmonica music (and a harmonica with bells!)

Post by triona » Wed Mar 13, 2019 9:58 pm

Very nice! :D
And an interesting information about a part of old Swedish folk music that has been nearly forgotten.

I presume it must have been one of these harmonicas or a similar one. There had been some more. But these were the most popular ones:

Image

Image

The upper one made bei Ch. Weiss, the lower one by And. Koch. They were some of the first harmonica manufacturers, and both were from Trossingen, where Hohner has been too and still is up till nowadays. Both companies were bought and incorporated by Hohner in 1928.

These bell harmonicas were a popular gimmick about 100 years ago or back a little bit longer. There are existing only few which have outlasted. Sometimes they appear as an antiquity on ebay or platforms alike. I am not sure about whether Hohner did a small amount of replicas about 20 years ago.

EdvinW wrote:
Wed Mar 13, 2019 8:32 pm
One could argue whether the recording does the bells justice or not, ...
It sounds quite authentic to me, considering what kind of harmonica I presume him to have used.


dear greetings
triona


Btw: musikverker.se skriver om "handklaver". Jag känner till "dragspel". Vad är skilnaden?
Aw, Thou beloved, do hearken to the Banshee's lonely croon!
sinn féin - ça ira !
Cad é sin do'n té sin nach mbaineann sin dó


https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC1yI3H ... 9ktgzTR2qg

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triona
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Re: Old Swedish harmonica music (and a harmonica with bells!)

Post by triona » Thu Mar 14, 2019 12:14 am

If you - or anyone else - like to play harmonica with bells, here comes a little hint.
I use these for additional percussion:

Image

Image

These are finger cymbals like they are usually used by oriental dancers. The single bell with the pink ribbon is a temple bell from India or Nepal. All are made from solid cast bronze. They have the advantage that one can play them with any modern harmonica too. The cymbals are available in any good shop for dancer's supply. And they are not expensive anyway.


These I like to play as well:

Image

Image

These are Nepalese temple bells of bronze as well. Usually they are worn on the feet. As sweet as they sound, they are extremely assertive, even in a quite large band with very loud instruments. You might believe it or not. :D


And here is another example, where I played a bell ribbon with 3 tin bells (from 1:25), first hand shaken, second hip shaken. Maybe you like it too. :D

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zq1Vgwvockc


dear greetings
triona
Aw, Thou beloved, do hearken to the Banshee's lonely croon!
sinn féin - ça ira !
Cad é sin do'n té sin nach mbaineann sin dó


https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC1yI3H ... 9ktgzTR2qg

EdvinW
Posts: 110
Joined: Tue Jun 05, 2018 6:02 pm
Location: Sweden

Re: Old Swedish harmonica music (and a harmonica with bells!)

Post by EdvinW » Thu Mar 14, 2019 11:30 am

triona wrote:
Wed Mar 13, 2019 9:58 pm
Very nice! :D
And an interesting information about a part of old Swedish folk music that has been nearly forgotten.

I presume it must have been one of these harmonicas or a similar one. There had been some more. But these were the most popular ones:

Image

Image

The upper one made bei Ch. Weiss, the lower one by And. Koch. They were some of the first harmonica manufacturers, and both were from Trossingen, where Hohner has been too and still is up till nowadays. Both companies were bought and incorporated by Hohner in 1928.

These bell harmonicas were a popular gimmick about 100 years ago or back a little bit longer. There are existing only few which have outlasted. Sometimes they appear as an antiquity on ebay or platforms alike. I am not sure about whether Hohner did a small amount of replicas about 20 years ago.

EdvinW wrote:
Wed Mar 13, 2019 8:32 pm
One could argue whether the recording does the bells justice or not, ...
It sounds quite authentic to me, considering what kind of harmonica I presume him to have used.


dear greetings
triona
Thanks for the information and perspective! Do you have any information about which tuning was typically used for the bells, if they where tuned at all?
Btw: musikverker.se skriver om "handklaver". Jag känner till "dragspel". Vad är skilnaden?
You ask about Swedish terminology. Today, 'dragspel' and 'munspel' are the standard words used for accordions and harmonicas, respectively.

The Swedish word for the verb 'play' is 'spela', and 'spel' is the noun corresponding to that verb, much like the German noun 'Spiel' related to the verb 'spielen'. (In English, you normally play either a game or an instrument, while the noun 'play' is reserved for theatrical pieces.)

Like in German, the normal meaning of the Swedish noun 'spel' is that of either of the English nouns 'game' or 'play', but in some cases it is used about instruments, which German does as well in the word 'Glockenspiel'. ('klockspel' in Swedish means a set of bells, like in a church, not the same as the German 'Glockenspiel'!)

The word 'munspel' thous translates to "mouth-instrument", while 'dragspel' translates to "draw-instrument" or "pull-instrument". Since so few other instruments use this word, players of either instrument commonly refere to their instruments using only the word 'spel' when talking amongst themselves. A harmonica player might thus say that she carries "spel i A och G", refering to keys A and G.

For diatonic accordions with one or two lines of buttons, the most common word is 'durspel', or literally "major[as in major key]-instrument", unless they are simply considered 'dragspel'.

Though these are the most common words, there are several others which are more or less rare today. 'Dragharmonika' and 'munharmonika' are pretty transparent, but maybe less so 'handklaver'. The Swedish noun 'klaver', like the German 'Klavier', ultimately can be traced back to the Latin 'clavis', meaning 'key'. (In English, the word has ended up in words like 'clave' or 'clef') In German, it normally refers to a piano, but widening the term to include any set of buttons, or 'keys', is not that far fetched. The hand part probably refers to the instrument being hand-held, like the English 'handgun', or adjectives like 'handmade' or 'handcrafted'.

Summing up: As far as I know the words are synonymous, while the one is outdated and not in common current use.
Edvin Wedin

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triona
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Re: Old Swedish harmonica music (and a harmonica with bells!)

Post by triona » Thu Mar 14, 2019 9:23 pm

EdvinW wrote:
Thu Mar 14, 2019 11:30 am
Thanks for the information and perspective! Do you have any information about which tuning was typically used for the bells, if they where tuned at all?
I don't know. (I never have played one. The only ones I had ever seen were in showcases in museum.) But I guess most probably they are not. But it is not difficult to tune them. Just take a file for higher pitch, solder (or wax, resin ...) for lower pitch, or anything alike. Same procedure as on harmonica reeds, cymbals, jaw's harps, vibraphones etc. Anyway the bells are less sensitive than reeds, so you have no risk of damage.

And if you cannot get one, you can easily build one yourself. Just take some suitable bicycle bells and fix them to any harmonica by your choice. These are cheap and easily available in various sizes, sounds and pitches of loudness, some of them even with nice decorations. Or maybe you can find suitable parts of some old (i.e. mechanical) telephone bell or doorbell. They often used to have loud bells with a clear sound, and very often they even appeared in matching pairs. And those even look quite similar to the bells on the harmonicas shown in the pictures. Tuning is the same. (f.expl: http://deerbe.com/unt/21041-antike__kli ... eich_.html)

Or just try something of the small percussion I suggested in my second post above. The most of them are in free tuning as well. To tune them is the same easy as any bell etc.


@Btw: Mycket tack för förklarningen.

Någon frågan till: Vad är "darrton"? Är det det samma som "tremolo" på Tyka eller Engelska? "att darra" = "to tremble", "to vibrate", "to oscillate" låter anta det.


dear greetings
triona
Aw, Thou beloved, do hearken to the Banshee's lonely croon!
sinn féin - ça ira !
Cad é sin do'n té sin nach mbaineann sin dó


https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC1yI3H ... 9ktgzTR2qg

EdvinW
Posts: 110
Joined: Tue Jun 05, 2018 6:02 pm
Location: Sweden

Re: Old Swedish harmonica music (and a harmonica with bells!)

Post by EdvinW » Thu Mar 14, 2019 10:42 pm

triona wrote:
Thu Mar 14, 2019 9:23 pm
I don't know. (I never have played one. The only ones I had ever seen were in showcases in museum.) But I guess most probably they are not. But it is not difficult to tune them. Just take a file for higher pitch, solder (or wax, resin ...) for lower pitch, or anything alike. Same procedure as on harmonica reeds, cymbals, jaw's harps, vibraphones etc. Anyway the bells are less sensitive than reeds, so you have no risk of damage.

And if you cannot get one, you can easily build one yourself. Just take some suitable bicycle bells and fix them to any harmonica by your choice. These are cheap and easily available in various sizes, sounds and pitches of loudness, some of them even with nice decorations. Or maybe you can find suitable parts of some old (i.e. mechanical) telephone bell or doorbell. They often used to have loud bells with a clear sound, and very often they even appeared in matching pairs. And those even look quite similar to the bells on the harmonicas shown in the pictures. Tuning is the same. (f.expl: http://deerbe.com/unt/21041-antike__kli ... eich_.html)

Or just try something of the small percussion I suggested in my second post above. The most of them are in free tuning as well. To tune them is the same easy as any bell etc.
I have no intentions at present to acquire a bell harp, I just thought it was interesting as I never heard an actual recording of one before. But thanks for the info :)
@Btw: Mycket tack för förklarningen.

Någon frågan till: Vad är "darrton"? Är det det samma som "tremolo" på Tyka eller Engelska? "att darra" = "to tremble", "to vibrate", "to oscillate" låter anta det.
I'm not previously familiar with the word 'darrton'. It's not the standard Swedish word for 'tremolo', which is called the same in Swedish, but the word makes perfect sense listening to the recording. 'att darra' indeed means 'to tremble', or 'to shake', and I can not think of any better way to describe that recording of Elvira Madigan, no. 26, somewhere at the crossroads between tremolo and vibrato and just switching the note on and of with the button :P
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triona
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Re: Old Swedish harmonica music (and a harmonica with bells!)

Post by triona » Thu Mar 14, 2019 11:47 pm

Thank you.
EdvinW wrote:
Thu Mar 14, 2019 10:42 pm
I'm not previously familiar with the word 'darrton'. It's not the standard Swedish word for 'tremolo', which is called the same in Swedish, ...
No wonder that I did not find it even in Norstedts Stora Ordboken. Therefore my question.

EdvinW wrote:
Thu Mar 14, 2019 10:42 pm
... that recording of Elvira Madigan, no. 26, somewhere at the crossroads between tremolo and vibrato and just switching the note on and of with the button :P
Now I have found this:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fIdmp7Y8ajw

And yes, it sounds quite much like a tremolo harmonica. But not exactly.
I took along my Seydel Fanfares. They have a very strong - i.e. widely oscillating - tremolo vibrato compared e.g. to most tremolo harmonicas made by Suzuki which have a more flat vibrato. And I played the tune. With an embouchure similar to slightly bending I managed quite good to simulate the sound of this "darrton" accordion. :D

The accordion played by Gustav "Vappersta Lasse" Larsson most probably has doubled reeds with a good amount of cents' difference in tuning pitch. Because of the more constant airflow (wind pressure) of the accordion - at least potentially and compared to that what there is possible with a harmonica - the tremolo / vibrato sound (darrton) is definitely more stable and precisely repeatable than that is ever possible on a mouthblown tremolo harmonica.


dear greetings
triona
Last edited by triona on Tue Mar 19, 2019 8:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Aw, Thou beloved, do hearken to the Banshee's lonely croon!
sinn féin - ça ira !
Cad é sin do'n té sin nach mbaineann sin dó


https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC1yI3H ... 9ktgzTR2qg

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Brendan
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Re: Old Swedish harmonica music (and a harmonica with bells!)

Post by Brendan » Tue Mar 19, 2019 6:38 am

Since its related, there is some wonderful NEW Swedish and other Scandinavian harmonica music being performed and recorded beautifully by these two guys:

https://youtu.be/lkvTJceApzU

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triona
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Re: Old Swedish harmonica music (and a harmonica with bells!)

Post by triona » Tue Mar 19, 2019 11:50 am

Thanks for the link.
Its really great. :D

And here is the link to the channel:
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCwTo23 ... 88QnClsFIg

"New Scandinavian Harmonica" - including a march from the time of Gustav Wasa, 1496 - 1560. Not really new indeed. :lol: Anyway, harmonica was not yet that time. This might pass as new.

I purchased the whole album at once. Now it is running here up and down. :D


dear greetings
triona
Aw, Thou beloved, do hearken to the Banshee's lonely croon!
sinn féin - ça ira !
Cad é sin do'n té sin nach mbaineann sin dó


https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC1yI3H ... 9ktgzTR2qg

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triona
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Location: Aue / Germany

Re: Old Swedish harmonica music (and a harmonica with bells!)

Post by triona » Fri Mar 22, 2019 10:48 pm

Returning to the harmonica with the bells:
triona wrote:
Wed Mar 13, 2019 9:58 pm
I am not sure about whether Hohner did a small amount of replicas about 20 years ago.
And indeed they did in 2006.

http://www.sonor.com/fileadmin/hohner_g ... 13-web.pdf

Look at page 9 of the document, where there is also a picture:
"The Echobell, introduced in 2006, harks back to
bell-equipped models sold a century earlier."



dear greetings
triona
Aw, Thou beloved, do hearken to the Banshee's lonely croon!
sinn féin - ça ira !
Cad é sin do'n té sin nach mbaineann sin dó


https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC1yI3H ... 9ktgzTR2qg

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