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Thread: Chromatic Harmonica

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    Senior Member clavichorder's Avatar
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    Default Chromatic Harmonica

    I am starting to get really fascinated by the possibilities of this instrument. I wonder if anyone knows anything about purchasing one and learning to play? Or any cool performance videos. I found these:





    Last edited by clavichorder; Apr-16-2013 at 05:00.

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    Senior Member KenOC's Avatar
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    Lots of these. Do an Amazon search for "chromonica." I used to have one, cost about ten bucks. But look at the prices now!


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    For people of my generation, when you say (chromatic) harmonica one name springs to mind - the late great Larry Adler.

    Try a search for him to see what he did.

    Music begins where words leave off. Music expresses the inexpressible.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Taggart View Post
    For people of my generation, when you say (chromatic) harmonica one name springs to mind - the late great Larry Adler.
    Or, as in my case, the late also grate Tommy Reilly! (Google him!)





    /ptr
    Je suis Charlie ~ I am a certified OrgaNut! (F.—I.W.)

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    Senior Member clavichorder's Avatar
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    All cool links and suggestions!

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    Quote Originally Posted by ptr View Post
    This remains the only classical piece I know to feature a harmonica so prominently.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mahlerian View Post
    This remains the only classical piece I know to feature a harmonica so prominently.
    Reilly had a number of composers write pieces and "concertos" for him, I have 3 or 4 albums he recorded for Chandos with music by composers like Malcolm Arnold, Heitor Villa-Lobos, James Moody, Robert Farnon, Gordon Jacob, etc, mostly things that are in a lighter genre but often quite entertaining!

    /ptr
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    Great stuff..! Glad to see you've twigged on its advantages!

    I have a Gregoire Maret Suzuki rosewood...absolutely gorgeous rosewood. I haven't played it in years though I have very woody warm memories of it. At one point I was performing Bach flute sonatas on it...same octave range.

    Get a 12 holer chromatic....some good fora like Slidemeister will help you out. I wasn't a Suzuki CX fan but the Gregoire Maret is deep and woody rich. It really won me over.

    If its your first chromatic harmonica, some cheap but decent ones by Hero and Tombo will get you started. Reed fatigue is a problem but its easier to replace on higher grade harmonicas. Seydel do a stainless steel reed version called the Saxony. This is a stunner - very distinctive sound and the orchestra version goes down to alto G which is more useful for classical music.

    Of course you could get a 14 hole and have both, but the hole confusion makes it annoyingly less agile and covering it with the left hand isn't as natural. Yeah I like 12 holers

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    Sr. Moderator Taggart's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Head_case View Post
    Get a 12 holer chromatic....
    Sounds like a case for the Specialist - see Tales of Lem Putt for more detail.
    Music begins where words leave off. Music expresses the inexpressible.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Taggart View Post
    Sounds like a case for the Specialist - see Tales of Lem Putt for more detail.
    That's me okay

    12 holers are very flexible! They have huge advantages over 14 holers. Less is more

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    Senior Member clavichorder's Avatar
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    Thank you Head_case for the great information.

    I've seen too many people with this instrument seeming like it was a really cool thing, to not want one really badly.

    A 12 holer by Hero or Tomba? Or a Saxony by Seydel? Alright.

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    There's a huge price difference between the cheaper bargain decent Tomba/Hero brands and the more classy Seydel Saxony! The Suzuki CX12 is a nice player too, as are some of the Hohners. Make sure you get an airtight harmonica - nothing is worse than a leaky one which makes you expend all the air before finishing a phrase, with low volume, little attack and no back pressure.

    I remember Musicians Friends in Canada were doing some very good deals on harmonicas a while back - sometimes they sell instruments at incredible discounts. You shouldn't find it very difficult to make the transition to reading stave music unless you get a specialised tuning (like diminished or Irish tunings). A standard CEG (these are the blow notes) and the rest of are the draw notes (A, F, D, B) rising and falling along the 12 holes, with the slide for accidentals, makes it really intuitive.

    It's nice to see people realise it is a classical instrument, and not just consigned to wah wah blues or folk.

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    Senior Member clavichorder's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Head_case View Post
    There's a huge price difference between the cheaper bargain decent Tomba/Hero brands and the more classy Seydel Saxony! The Suzuki CX12 is a nice player too, as are some of the Hohners. Make sure you get an airtight harmonica - nothing is worse than a leaky one which makes you expend all the air before finishing a phrase, with low volume, little attack and no back pressure.

    I remember Musicians Friends in Canada were doing some very good deals on harmonicas a while back - sometimes they sell instruments at incredible discounts. You shouldn't find it very difficult to make the transition to reading stave music unless you get a specialised tuning (like diminished or Irish tunings). A standard CEG (these are the blow notes) and the rest of are the draw notes (A, F, D, B) rising and falling along the 12 holes, with the slide for accidentals, makes it really intuitive.

    It's nice to see people realise it is a classical instrument, and not just consigned to wah wah blues or folk.
    I suppose I'd just ask to figure out if its airtight?

    Musicians Friends in Canada? Is that a store with an online website of something?

    Its a good thing I like classical, blues and folk.

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    Senior Member PetrB's Avatar
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    Having met with and spoken with a number of 'harp' players over the years, whenever this particular model came up in discussion, each player reported this about the chromatic harmonica:

    Cool, but an instrument which is very cumbersome to handle / play.

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