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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Beelzebob
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Joined: Mon May 07, 2018 3:17 pm

Pentatonic harmonica

Post by Beelzebob » Mon May 07, 2018 3:31 pm

Has anyone ever made one? I see some that are called 'pentatonic tuning' on overblow.com, but I would tune the reeds to the pentatonic scale and keep repeating it with no doubled notes. You would be able to put four octaves on a ten-hole diatonic. I think one could play some fast runs on it and not worry about hitting a wrong note. I don't see it as being all that useful to professionals, but intermediates (especially those stuck for eternity in the intermediate quagmire like me) might find it good for jazz and maybe more.

CrawfordEs
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Re: Pentatonic harmonica

Post by CrawfordEs » Mon May 07, 2018 8:49 pm

Is overblow back up? It has been down for a while.
Pentabender and Fourkey are also pentatonic based tunings with maybe a bit more flexibility.

Alan
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Re: Pentatonic harmonica

Post by Alan » Thu May 10, 2018 12:02 am

I've ordered two harps from Seydel over the years based on the pentatonic scale, but neither exactly like you suggested.

Easy Third which was
CEG
DFA

So had the extra 4 in C but allowed for several other (major and minor) pentatonic scales.

The other was my Be Good tuning which is just 4 notes:
GD
BE

in a Seydel big six. That one gives you the G major pentatonic with one bend and also in E gives you 1,3b,5,7b.

I agree with you that they are fun to noodle around on and not worry about hitting sour notes, but would be probably not be that useful to a professional. I could see it being handy for a pro musician who's not a harmonica player but wants to add it in a bit.

Beelzebob
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Re: Pentatonic harmonica

Post by Beelzebob » Thu May 10, 2018 3:11 pm

What about the blues scale on a ten-hole? Three octaves and two notes extra. The three half-steps in a row would be weird, I know, but I have a friend in mine for this who wants to play music, esp blues, but just doesn't get it at all.

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triona
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Re: Pentatonic harmonica

Post by triona » Thu May 10, 2018 4:46 pm

Alan wrote:
Thu May 10, 2018 12:02 am
... Seydel ...

Easy Third which was
CEG
DFA
This is a very fine tuning. I play it too.
It is also known as "Do-It"-tuning or "Dale's Open Irish Tuning" (after its inventor Dale King).

And in fact, I use it preferrably on Irish tunes like reels and jigs.


I have a question concerning this tuning:

The difference between Standard Richter and Do-it is, that 2 draw and 3 draw are tuned 1 whole tone lower each. Is this valid for all keys?

So that for the key of G it were
G B D
A C E


or for the key of D
D F# A
E G B


Alan wrote:
Thu May 10, 2018 12:02 am
I agree with you that they are fun to noodle around on and not worry about hitting sour notes, but would be probably not be that useful to a professional. I could see it being handy for a pro musician who's not a harmonica player but wants to add it in a bit.
This is an idea that I had not yet considered about. Usually some people just criticize alternative tunings which intend to make playing easier as unnecessary. As well as chrom purists insist that only 1 chrom in C is enough, and there were no necessity of a chrom in any other key than C.

Indeed, a skilled professional might not need them. He can do everything with any standard tuning. For beginners the value is ambivalent. On one hand it allows a fast sucess in playing something nice. On the other hand he maybe will not learn it properly.

But for the professional of any other instrument it can be helpful to add another instrument more easily. I never thought about this considering harmonicas, because harmonica and jawsharp are my first instruments. But I have already experienced this on any other instrument I tried to add on for some occasions, like strings, percussion, brass and woodwind etc.


dear geetings
triona
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sinn féin - ça ira !
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IaNerd
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Re: Pentatonic harmonica

Post by IaNerd » Fri May 11, 2018 3:58 pm

Brendan shared some related thoughts here: viewtopic.php?f=9&t=135&p=739&hilit=pentatonic#p739

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