Social Question

zensky's avatar

The harmonica gets a bad rap, eh?

Asked by zensky (13283 points ) June 17th, 2012

Observe and enjoy

Especially Bach and Mozart at the 4th minute.

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16 Answers

wundayatta's avatar

Does it? Seems to me that it gets a lot of respect—at least with the people I know.

tups's avatar

It’s like the coolest instrument ever. The best musicians uses it.

Roby's avatar

It’s the only insturment I can play well. I respect mine.

ucme's avatar

The wife plays a mean tune on my “mouth organ”

zensky's avatar

Did anyone bother to watch?

digitalimpression's avatar

@zensky I did watch, and it was amazing.

I love the harmonica, but I’ll admit, I only like it for its role in blues. For me, the twangy sound of it isn’t very well suited for other types of music. Yes, that’s just a personal preference.

For the blues, the harmonica is simply rockin.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@zensky Holy shit. That was phenomenal.

tups's avatar

@digitalimpression What about Bob Dylan, eh?

digitalimpression's avatar

@tups My personal preference doesn’t care how famous someone is/was. ^ ^

tups's avatar

@digitalimpression Oh, I’m not talking about fame. Only art.

wundayatta's avatar

Bob Dylan is all right, but I don’t think he is very proficient, technically.

I took a five day harmonica workshop and at the end of that time, I could do enough to perform in front of an audience, which is a pretty vague standard, I know. I can tell you that I play with other musicians, and they enjoy what I do, and I didn’t play any harmonica at all before that workshop.

I was able to learn how to bend notes a number of ways —both pushing and pulling. I was able to learn some patterns that would allow me to hang in with music in a variety of styles.

I did not learn how to play single notes, and I don’t have any proficiency with scales and knowing where I am, theoretically, on the harmonica. I do it all by feel. But I’m no different than a lot of musicians in that. I never practice, so when I perform, I’m practicing at the same time. No one seems to notice.

The guy in the video knew his scales and could bend notes perfectly. There are notes that you can’t play unless you are able to bend the nearest note up or down a half or full step. It takes a lot of practice to be able to hit those notes straight on. He was also good with his shading and coloring, and jumping between chords and single notes. He also seemed to be able to play two different notes at once that were separated by more than one hole, but that may have been my imagination.

So technically, he seems to have all the tools. That particular performance wasn’t really a musical performance as much as a show-off performance that was supposed to be humorous as well as musical. So I don’t think it was a fair demonstration of his musicality. There’s a harmonica player in my neighborhood who is even more of a classical harmonica player, I think. His tone is a lot cleaner that what I heard on that video.

Harmonica is an instrument that can cover a wide range of styles and competencies. It can sound horrible and it can sound amazing, just like most instruments. It’s fun to play, though.

tups's avatar

Technique is so overrated in music. It’s about the feeeeel, man.

wundayatta's avatar

Feel means a lot for sure. But technique allows you to do more. If you have both, your musical possibilities are much greater.

tups's avatar

I agree.

tups's avatar

But I do know a lot of amazing song with only two or three very simple chords.

deni's avatar

Does it get a bad rap? I love it and am specifically attracted to men playing the harmonica. Weird, but there’s something about the soul in it and the lip movement and oooooooooooooooooh

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