Spiral-DLT tuning (a working title)

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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Spiral-DLT tuning (a working title)

Post by IaNerd » Tue Sep 07, 2021 6:04 pm

In 2017 I introduced a tuning which bore similarities to Circular, Major Cross, MelodyMaker and PowerChromatic. As a result of some off-line discussion, Brendan Power and I agreed to call this tuning PowerChrom-Plus. Figure 1 (below) illustrates the prototype that I had made using Seydel’s Configurator. Figure 2 shows the same tuning but transposed to Cmaj/Amin.

After a while I decided that I wanted to make better use of the Amin octave starting at 1 draw. I was frustrated by not being able to play the melody of “Ain’t No Sunshine” on the low end; this requires three notes below the A: E, F and G. So I started to rethink this tuning.

Consider the tuning in Figure 3. It has the E below the first A – needed for “Ain’t No Sunshine”. Because it starts out spiral, it has all seven diatonic chords for Cmaj/Amin. There is a “reset” of the blow/draw pattern at holes 6 and 7. (By the way, this AB -- BC – DE – FG pattern appears to be new in itself).

I see this as being primarily an aeolian/ionian instrument. But it certainly could be used melodically in third position minor pentatonic; it does however lack a major I chord in that position. Fifth position minor hexatonic blues is another capability.

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Re: Spiral-DLT tuning (a working title)

Post by IaNerd » Wed Sep 08, 2021 12:11 am

In Figure 3 (above) we could lower the 7 blow by one semitone. This would make the 7 draw bendable.

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Re: Spiral-DLT tuning (a working title)

Post by IaNerd » Fri Sep 17, 2021 2:46 pm

Through Seydel's Configurator I have ordered two units tuned like Figure 3 (above) plus two units tuned like Figure 4 (below). These will be tested by expert players and also beginners. I will report back with any news.

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Re: Spiral-DLT tuning (a working title)

Post by IaNerd » Fri Sep 17, 2021 3:15 pm

Tunings like those in Figures 3 and 4 (above) can be made through Seydel's Configurator. I have looked for re-tuning alternatives that would be less expensive. My best effort so far is shown below. In this re-tuning, the upper end of the harp has an "inverted" -- as opposed to a "re-set" -- breath pattern. Some folks might actually prefer this. A strength of this re-tuning strategy is that Lee Oskar and other brand Natural Minor harps are readily available in all 12 keys.

I have ordered a LO in Amin and will be testing this re-tuning strategy.

Other "stock" Natural Minor harp models include the Hohner Marine Band, the Seydel Session Steel, the Suzuki Manj, the Easttop T2408, and various Kongsheng harps.

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Re: Spiral-DLT tuning (a working title)

Post by IaNerd » Fri Sep 17, 2021 5:52 pm

An even less expensive alternative ...

A 7-hole Kongsheng Baby Fat of Natural Minor tuning which is labeled as "D" (for its 1st position at 1 blow) can be re-tuned as in the post above. This results in a Cmaj/Amin harp, with full octaves for both modes/positions.

The Baby Fat Natural Minor is available in G, A, Bb, C, D and F. These would re-tune to Fmaj/Dmin, Gmaj/Emin, Abmaj/Fmin, Bbmaj/Gmin, Cmaj/Amin, and Ebmaj/Cmin, respectively.

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Re: Spiral-DLT tuning (a working title)

Post by Brendan » Fri Sep 17, 2021 6:59 pm

Looking forward to hearing these played :)

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Re: Spiral-DLT tuning (a working title)

Post by IaNerd » Tue Sep 21, 2021 12:31 am

Looking at the re-tuning at Fri Sep 17, 2021 9:15 am (above), I am now noticing that it is very similar to Major Cross by Tony Eyers; that tuning also is a derivative of Richter.

Both of these tunings feature a low side that is spiral tuned, followed by a high side that has an inverted breath pattern. My re-tuning has two more notes on the low end, and one fewer note on the high end.

The lower diagram below shows how a C Richter harp is different from a G Major Cross.

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Re: Spiral-DLT tuning (a working title)

Post by IaNerd » Sat Sep 25, 2021 5:55 pm

Update: I have re-tuned a G natural minor Baby Fat as per the post of Fri Sep 17, 2021 9:15 am (above). Note that Kongsheng labels minor harps by first position, whereas some other brands label their minor harps by second position. Buyer beware.

The re-tuned 7-holer works as expected and is fun to play.

I am now anxiously awaiting the two Seydel Classic Lows that are being configured as per Figure 3 (above).

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Re: Spiral-DLT tuning (a working title)

Post by IaNerd » Thu Oct 14, 2021 4:29 pm

I just noticed that assigning 1 draw as the tonic gives a continuously spiral-tuned lydian octave. "Isn't [that] lovely?" ;)

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