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Re: A family of new modded-Richter tunings

Posted: Wed Jan 30, 2019 10:36 pm
by IaNerd
Largely inspired by Seydel's Big Six harps, I have devised many tunings with that six-hole format in mind.

Today I saw Kongsheng's announcement of a new seven-hole model. That got me to wondering: What if Super-Circular were extended to seven holes? What new chords--and chord progressions--could result?

Here is an attempt.

Progressions highlighted in yellow are made possible by the addition of the Ebmaj. This chord was not part of the original Super-Circular tuning.

CORRECTION: In the re-tuning diagram below, the blow layer should be: +1 +1 +1 -- +1 -- -2. ... iew&id=519 ... iew&id=520 ... iew&id=521

Re: A family of new modded-Richter tunings

Posted: Tue Feb 12, 2019 4:39 pm
by IaNerd
Let's take another look at the posting (above) of Sun Jan 06, 2019 3:22 pm. In particular, let's consider the melodic upper end, i.e. C - D# - F - G - A# / D - E - F# - A - B. When we consider this as a repeating module, we can play the following scales without any bends:

Major scales: C, G
Minor scales: Am, Em
Minor hexatonic blues scales: C blues, A blues, E blues, B blues

Re: A family of new modded-Richter tunings

Posted: Tue Feb 12, 2019 5:22 pm
by IaNerd
Continuing with the ideas posted just above ....

If we wish to construct a five-hole-per-octave melodic repeating module, and we are not matching it to a left-end chordal area, and we want to play as many common scales as possible, and we don't want to use slides or bending, then let's consider these two modules:

Blow: C - D - F - G - A
Draw: C# - E - F# - G# - B

Blow: B - C# - E - F# - G#
Draw: C - D - F - G - A

When we consider either of these as a repeating module, we have all the notes needed for playing the following scales without any slides or bends:

Major scales: C, G, D, A
Minor scales: Am, Em, Bm, F#m
Minor hexatonic blues scales: D blues, B blues, F# blues

Note that when C - D - F - G - A is repeated and played from one D to the next D, i.e. D - F - G - A - C - D, this is the D minor pentatonic scale.

I encourage forum members to state a preference as to putting the pentatonic scale notes in the blow layer (as in the first tuning above) or in the draw layer.

Re: A family of new modded-Richter tunings

Posted: Tue Feb 12, 2019 6:22 pm
by EdvinW
The first tuning is, if I'm not mistaken, the Newton FourKey tuning, and there is a good case for the first. The main reason is that if you would ever need the missing notes you could bend to get them. I know the whole point is to not have to bend, but in a choice between on the one hand a lot of notes without bending and the missing ones with bending, and on the other same notes without the extra, the first could seem like the better choice.

Also, in my opinion the first version the Em, F#m and A scales have better bends than in the second, and for Bm I would say it's a close call since you have the fifth bendable. I really like bendable fifths.

The second version has more of an emphasis on major scales, if you look at which notes will bend.

With a slightly better support for the minor scales and at least one good major scale, together with full chromaticism for emergencies, I think I would prefer the first version. Mu vote is for blow layer.

(Of course, I might want to transpose it so that the good minor keys are some more useful ones)

Re: A family of new modded-Richter tunings

Posted: Tue Feb 12, 2019 6:42 pm
by IaNerd

You are absolutely correct about it being identical to Newton Fourkey. I feel silly for not recognizing that myself. On the other hand, I feel pretty good about arriving at something which is known to have value.

I agree with the rest of your insightful analysis. Thank you.

I have never owned or played a tremolo harp, but Newton Fourkey seems like a very good candidate for one. Seydel can configure their Sailor Steel this way, and considering it's a Seydel with steel reeds, the price is reasonable.

Re: A family of new modded-Richter tunings

Posted: Tue Feb 12, 2019 10:52 pm
by EdvinW
It IS an interesting tuning, so I'm not surprised it's found again :)

Something that hits me: Would it maybe be a good idea to make a FourKey half-valved? It IS boring to have important notes in the blow plate, but maybe some of the lack of expressiveness can be regained if valved bends become available?

Another thing I had forgotten but now comes to mind: A nice feature with the Fourkey (and your other proposal of course) is that it contains one full melodic minor scale, both ascending and descending! (a-b-c-d-e-f#-g#-a-g-f-e-d-c-b-a)

Re: A family of new modded-Richter tunings

Posted: Tue Feb 12, 2019 11:17 pm
by IaNerd
To valve or not to valve ....

A good question. One that I am not qualified to answer. :roll:

Re: A family of new modded-Richter tunings

Posted: Wed Feb 13, 2019 3:12 pm
by IaNerd
ADDENDUM TO THE POST OF Wed Jan 30, 2019 5:36 pm (above):

Since the non-bent notes in that tuning are best suited for melodic play in the key of F major, I will re-cast the diagram in terms of the Fmaj chord being the I chord: ... iew&id=522

Re: A family of new modded-Richter tunings

Posted: Thu Feb 14, 2019 8:14 pm
by IaNerd
Here is the same tuning as the one just above, but transposed to C major instead of F major. ... iew&id=523

Re: A family of new modded-Richter tunings

Posted: Tue Mar 19, 2019 7:29 pm
by IaNerd
And now for a real departure ....

Here is a very unassuming, elegant little tuning for blues/pop/rock.

Holes 1-3 (below) are equal to holes 2-4 of standard Richter tuning. The first four holes of this tuning are for chugging the I and IV chords, and they also provide three tasty draw bends from one blues scale note to another, i.e. G to F, D to C#, and another G to F.

From the 4 draw and upwards through 10 draw, all of the the unbent blows and draws are from the minor pentatonic scale. Even for an inexperienced player, this should enable some really fast runs up and down two octaves of the minor pentatonic scale.

For the intermediate and advanced players, the bluest note of all--the C#--is right there as a tasty draw bend in holes 3, 6 and 9. These draw bends complete the minor hexatonic blues scale. There are also two G5s and a C5 for added flavor. Plus two F5s (not yet highlighted in the diagram).

ADDENDUM, March 24, 2019: See also this: ... 2075#p2075