Pentatonic tunings

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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IaNerd
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Re: Pentatonic tunings

Post by IaNerd » Wed Sep 05, 2018 12:04 pm

I show detailed diagrams of Pentabender, FourKey and many other tunings here: viewtopic.php?f=9&t=91#p560

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IaNerd
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Re: Pentatonic tunings

Post by IaNerd » Wed Sep 05, 2018 12:22 pm

Fun stuff:

A Seydel Big Six in Pentabender will give you one complete chromatic octave plus the next two semitones.

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Re: Pentatonic tunings

Post by oldstudent » Tue Sep 11, 2018 6:33 am

Brendan wrote:
Wed Sep 05, 2018 5:18 am
Out of interest: If you want all chromatic notes without bends, why not play a chromatic harmonica?
The motivation for pentatonic tunings was to be able to play all chromatic notes with bends, but without overblowing.
And the point of the discussion above is that we can have this in a little harmonica without a button.

Big chromatic harmonicas with buttons are nice too.

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triona
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Re: Pentatonic tunings

Post by triona » Tue Sep 11, 2018 1:05 pm

oldstudent wrote:
Tue Sep 11, 2018 6:33 am
Brendan wrote:
Wed Sep 05, 2018 5:18 am
Out of interest: If you want all chromatic notes without bends, why not play a chromatic harmonica?
The motivation for pentatonic tunings was to be able to play all chromatic notes with bends, but without overblowing.
And the point of the discussion above is that we can have this in a little harmonica without a button.

Big chromatic harmonicas with buttons are nice too.

Exactly!
I like to play both as well.
Each one for its specific intended purpose and sound.


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Re: Pentatonic tunings

Post by komayyamok » Thu Sep 27, 2018 12:29 pm

oldstudent wrote:
Sun Aug 19, 2018 11:54 pm
Thanks for the comments, CrawfordEs, Jazmaan, and Triona!
I played harmonicas with several different pentatonic tunings at SPAH, and I discussed them with some great harmonica players there. I particularly appreciated the opportunity to talk with Brendan Power. All these interactions were very helpful for me. Here are the main points that I learned at SPAH:

(1) If there is any pentatonic tuning that leading harmonica players might be ready to consider, it would be the simple one-key pentabender. People are familiar with diatonic harmonicas that have blow and draw notes only within one seven-note major scale, and they can appreciate the potential advantages of getting all of the other five chromatic notes as bend notes. But when PhenQ Diet Pills I tried to describe other pentatonic tunings that add more straight notes to reduce the number of required bends, people at SPAH generally reacted as if this sounded like a confusing and unnecessary complication.

(2) Among the various pentatonic tunings that I have discussed here, the one that I am least ready to demonstrate to others is the one-key pentabender, because it can require so many bend notes. I originally began to think about altered tunings because I was not good at bending, and my bends are still not so great. So you might not want to hear me play on a tuning that has the most bend notes.

(3) However, when it comes to playing simple tunes that stay in one major key, I found that there is nothing better than a pentabender. I spent a lot of good time jamming with people at SPAH. I found that improvising an accompaniment to a simple tune is easiest on the one-key pentabender (when it's in the right key for the tune). The two-key pentablues harmonica was also good for improvisational jamming on simple tunes, but pentabender was best. No matter what straight note you play on a pentabender, you are always in the right key; and you can shift between blows and draws depending on what chord the guitarist is playing (draws for the V and iii chords, blows for the IV and ii chords). And if the tune turns out to not be completely simple, so that you have to play a sharp or flat note somewhere, it is always available as a bend note.
However, the range limitations of the one-key pentabender (which has only one good position for playing a simple tune without bending) was a problem on my 10-hole pentabenders, as I sometimes found myself wanting to play above the high end of the instrument. So after SPAH, I ordered a couple of 12-hole pentabenders from Seydel.
It was dam dam dam true (Y)

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Re: Pentatonic tunings

Post by oldstudent » Wed Nov 14, 2018 3:06 am

I have a friend who loves music from India and the Middle East, and he wanted a harmonica to play a favorite song which is in the E harmonic minor scale. I realized that we can design a tuning with just four holes per octave in which the blow and draw notes exactly form an E harmonic minor scale and all the other chromatic notes can be reached with draw bends. (To do this for a major scale or a natural minor scale would require five holes per octave, as I showed previously in this thread.) The .[blow][draw]. layout for a 10-hole harmonica with this bend-chromatic E-harmonic-minor tuning is:
EF#.GA.AB.CEb.EF#.GA.AB.CEb.EF#.GA
The chromatic notes outside the E harmonic minor scale (F, Ab, Bb, C# and D) can all be reached by draw bends (C# being a deeper bend in the same hole with D). With just four holes per octave, this 10-hole harmonica as a range of 2.5 octaves.

Has anybody seen a tuning like this before?

The fourth of the scale (here A) appears enharmonically as both a draw and a blow note. If we wanted an extra unbent note, we could either lower the draw-A to Ab or raise the blow-A to Bb. Can anybody see any good musical reason to do one or the other?

I had Seydel make one of these, and my friend is very happy with it.

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Re: Pentatonic tunings

Post by EdvinW » Wed Nov 14, 2018 10:12 am

oldstudent wrote:
Wed Nov 14, 2018 3:06 am
I have a friend who loves music from India and the Middle East, and he wanted a harmonica to play a favorite song which is in the E harmonic minor scale. I realized that we can design a tuning with just four holes per octave in which the blow and draw notes exactly form an E harmonic minor scale and all the other chromatic notes can be reached with draw bends. (To do this for a major scale or a natural minor scale would require five holes per octave, as I showed previously in this thread.) The .[blow][draw]. layout for a 10-hole harmonica with this bend-chromatic E-harmonic-minor tuning is:
EF#.GA.AB.CEb.EF#.GA.AB.CEb.EF#.GA
The chromatic notes outside the E harmonic minor scale (F, Ab, Bb, C# and D) can all be reached by draw bends (C# being a deeper bend in the same hole with D). With just four holes per octave, this 10-hole harmonica as a range of 2.5 octaves.

Has anybody seen a tuning like this before?

The fourth of the scale (here A) appears enharmonically as both a draw and a blow note. If we wanted an extra unbent note, we could either lower the draw-A to Ab or raise the blow-A to Bb. Can anybody see any good musical reason to do one or the other?

I had Seydel make one of these, and my friend is very happy with it.
Since this is not a pentatonic tuning, further discussion might justify a new thread about this tuning. I'll happily discuss further if you start a new topic :) But I'll answer once here anyway.

I have been looking at a huge number of minor tunings, but I'm not sure if I've seen this one. Definitely never seen one built. It looks interesting.

One reason not to change them is that you would loose bendability in the changed hole. I'm not that familiar with Middle Eastern or Indian music, but to play Scandinavian music the major third (ab/g# in this case) is very useful, so I understand if you want it readily available. I would prefer to change the blow a, as the draw a is part of the V chord (the major dominant, B in this case), which is important in harmonic minor.

Another option, if you would sacrifice the ab/g# all together, would be to tune the blow a all the way up to a b. That way you would have BOTH the i and the V chords, arguably the most important ones in harmonic minor, at the cost of a note that might not be that important. This would loose even more bendability though, and I personally really like to have bendable fifths. You would just have to ask your friend if he would rather keep the expressive note or have a more useful chord structure.

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