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!
Beelzebob
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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
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


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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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Brendan
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Re: Pentatonic harmonica

Post by Brendan » Sun May 27, 2018 2:10 am

IaNerd: thanks for posting that link. Re-reading my post I realised I'd made some mistakes. I've have now fixed them there and will explain here.

I initially gave the tuning the wrong name. It should be called Paddy-Richter Extended. Here it is over 10 holes:

CD. EG. AB. CD. EG. AB. CD. EG. AB. CD

I called it a Pentatonic tuning but strictly speaking it's not, because it has the 7th of the scale in there (B). A true major pentatonic would only have the 1-2-3-5-6 of the scale.

I guess you could call it a Hexatonic tuning. It's actually got two Hexatonic scales, C (first position) and G (second position):

CDEGAB - first position, pentatonic plus 7th
GABCDE - second position, pentatonic plus 4th

With the strict pentatonic scale, as with the standard major scale, you have the incongruity of an odd number of notes (5 in the pentatonic, 7 in the major scale) having to fit into the binary blow/draw pattern on the harmonica. Odd numbers are not divisible by 2, so something has to give: add a note, double a note, reverse the breathing pattern - those are the traditional solutions. In Paddy-Richter Extended I add a note, the 7th in the home scale of C, but here's how a true pentatonic tuning it would look with the other two solutions:

Double a Note
CD. EG. AC. CD. EG. AC. CD. EG. AC. CD

Reverse the Breathing Pattern (Circular Version)
CD. EG. AC. DE. GA. CD. EG. AC. DE. GA.

I haven't used either of these, but I do use a different doubled-note pentatonic scale with x-reed all-draw harps like the AsiaBend:

PowerPentatonic All-Draw Tuning
CD. EG. GA. CD. EG. GA. CD. EG. GA. CD

(In this case it's an all-draw harp, so the 'blow/draw' in each hole is replaced by 'slide out/slide in').

You can hear it here:
https://youtu.be/fjdlu2atodI

Triona, to answer your question: Yes that's correct for the key of D in Easy Third/Dale's Irish Tuning.

I think you asked a similar one in relation to another tuning somewhere else in the forum. The best way to think of tunings is as numbers of the scale. Therefore this tuning can be written as:

1-2. 3-4. 5-6. 1-2. 3-4. 5-6. repeated

Now it can easily be transposed to any key just by selecting the notes that correspond to those scale numbers.

This helps in playing as well. When I'm playing harp I never think of note names, only numbers in relation to my home note. That can be the key note of the tune, or the starting note of whatever position I'm in. It simplifies things a lot for swapping between harps in different keys.

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triona
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Re: Pentatonic harmonica

Post by triona » Sun May 27, 2018 11:33 pm

Thank you for the answer. It was the same answer that I got in the case of the other tuning. (It was the Spanish tuning.)

Seems to be a principle of the construction of a harmonica tuning layout in common, not depending on which type of tuning there is intended. Once a certain tuning works in one key, it can be transposed into any other key by replacing the notes by the respective other ones, everything strictly following the circle of fifths and the position of the notes in the respective scale. All the same pattern to follow, be it Richter, Paddy, Circular, any kind of minor tuning, etc, or any new special tuning, or any kind of chromatic tuning.


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

karl.nilsson
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Re: Pentatonic harmonica

Post by karl.nilsson » Thu May 31, 2018 8:03 pm

If I ever get confused with transposition between keys (happens every once in a while), I just print out the following image (because I lost the paper from last time I used it) and cut along the dotted line. Then I move the upper part relative to the lower and it comes out quite clear:

transpose.png
Transposition diagram
transpose.png (12.71 KiB) Viewed 2096 times

Cheers, Karl

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triona
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Re: Pentatonic harmonica

Post by triona » Fri Jun 01, 2018 10:24 pm

mycket tack.

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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