Pentatonic harmonica

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!
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Re: Pentatonic harmonica

Post by EdvinW » Wed Jun 06, 2018 12:58 pm

I kind of like the idea of a pentatonic spiral tuned harmonica!

Many tunes are pentatonic, and why add more notes than you need? It would reduce the distance one has to move to get around the scale. Many stray notes deviating from the pentatonic scale could be bent, and the odd number spiral gives you the choice of putting the tune in the octave that works best.

If you put a TurboSlide on it it I like it even better!

I mean look at this pattern:

Code: Select all

Slide:	b		g#	c#	f	b		g#
Blow:	c	e	a	d	g	c	e	a
Draw:	d	g	c	e	a	d	g	c	
I would remove the magnets over the e's and lower the magnets or find stronger ones to bend every g all the way down to an f (see comment on this at the end), and use this to play melodic Am.
It has a number of interesting features:
1. There are Am chords BELOW each tonic, which any Paddy player knows to be nice. Any note in the triad could be extended to a chord.
2. It has the dominant major E on the blow side when the slide is pushed.
3. The major parallel C is available everywhere.
4. You could even find an open subdominant D in each octave.
5. With bending all the notes are there!

I've never tried to make a TurboSlide lower a note a full step before, so I'm not sure how well it works. I hope the f# would be reasonably easy to reach by half pressing the button. One could just use a normally calibrated magnet and overblow the d/e hole. With so many chords I think I would do ok with only having every second f easily available.
Edvin Wedin

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Re: Pentatonic harmonica

Post by Beelzebob » Tue Aug 21, 2018 3:07 am

Brendan Power: "Reverse the Breathing Pattern (Circular Version) CD. EG. AC. DE. GA. CD. EG. AC. DE. GA."

Sorry I'm super late responding. I think I might not understand what reversing the breathing pattern is. I see that the root changes from blow to draw to blow to draw as you go up the harp, but I don't see that as a problem. I would want some of the root notes to be a draw note. I think I could get some fast runs out of this through two or more octaves, am I mistaken? I'm sure I'm overlooking something and of course Brendan probably knows more about this stuff than anyone.

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Re: Pentatonic harmonica

Post by triona » Tue Aug 21, 2018 11:15 am

Beelzebob wrote:
Tue Aug 21, 2018 3:07 am
... I would want some of the root notes to be a draw note. I think I could get some fast runs out of this through two or more octaves, am I mistaken? ...

I guess this could be one of the intended main features of tunings like this - besides the intention to avoid enantonics / redundances for the sake of a wider range / more octaves covered by a minimum of holes / reeds.

As for the same breath pattern in each octave versus reversing breath direction between each adjacent octave: Both of these principles of construction have their own advantages and disadvantages for the player regarding playability, comfort, intuitivity etc. And the advantages and disadvantages of each can exclude themselves sometimes. The choice depends on what aspects you want to optimize a tuning. There is no jack of all trades device.

The possibility of bending and overblowing or easy playing of a maximum of chords are other aspects among some more.

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Re: Pentatonic harmonica

Post by IaNerd » Sat Sep 01, 2018 7:20 pm

From above: "Indeed, a skilled professional might not need them. He can do everything with any standard tuning."

This is true of only in the very limited sense of single-note play. Richter and some alternate tunings are actually pretty slim in terms of chordal play. Which is fine, if you want to work within those limits. But tunings such as Circular make a much fuller use of the harp's inherent polyphonic possibilities. Tunings such as PowerBender make fuller use of draw bending. I predict that Brendan's Booster technology will reinvigorate some tunings based on their newly-boosted overbending qualities, and will even inspire new tunings with Boosting in mind.

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