Melodically and harmonically versatile slide (or slide-diatonic) tuning

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!
Post Reply
User avatar
IaNerd
Posts: 454
Joined: Thu Aug 10, 2017 6:42 pm
Location: Iowa, USA

Melodically and harmonically versatile slide (or slide-diatonic) tuning

Post by IaNerd » Tue Jan 14, 2020 4:02 pm

In another discussion here viewtopic.php?f=9&t=612&start=10#p2821 I devised a chordal prefix for Inverted Bebop tuning. It has since occurred to me that this three-hole "prefix" could be repeated indefinitely to make its own tuning. This could be in either a half-valved "chromatic" (but not literally) slide harp, or in a Brendan Power Slide Diatonic harp.

One layer--probably the slide-out layer--would be identical to a Repeating Paddy, a.k.a. EDharmonica. With careful control of the draw-bending G to either F# or F, this layer of the tuning can be played melodically in many key/mode combinations (which I will not list here).

The other layer--primarily harmonic--provides complementary and highly useful chords across the harp. In first position (C) we have I, IV, V and vi chords. In second position (G) we have I, ii, IV and V chords.

NOTE: In the diagram below, the slide-in and slide-out labels are incorrectly switched.

download/file.php?mode=view&id=651
Attachments
2020-01-14 (2).png
2020-01-14 (2).png (128.88 KiB) Viewed 9367 times

EdvinW
Posts: 154
Joined: Tue Jun 05, 2018 6:02 pm
Location: Sweden

Re: Melodically and harmonically versatile slide (or slide-diatonic) tuning

Post by EdvinW » Wed Jan 15, 2020 10:58 am

This is a nice idea :) I've been thinking along similar lines: If you have complete I, IV and V chords in every octave you have all diatonic notes, so why not make a 3-periodic tuning where one combination direction of breath + slide position contains only notes from one chord? This still leaves the question of how to arrange these chords and what to do with the combination left over; setting it to a vi chord seems reasonable.

Your tuning has a property I like: While you need to vary the slide position, the direction of breath and which hole you're at to play, many passages can be played without simultaneously changing all three in the same time. This property is also found in Augmented, and the two are actually similar in several ways. For instance, with the slide labels as you point out in your note, one pattern for playing a C major scale would be identical to the pattern used to play a natural minor scale on an augie starting with blow slide out.
Edvin Wedin

User avatar
IaNerd
Posts: 454
Joined: Thu Aug 10, 2017 6:42 pm
Location: Iowa, USA

Re: Melodically and harmonically versatile slide (or slide-diatonic) tuning

Post by IaNerd » Wed Jan 15, 2020 12:32 pm

Thanks, EdvinW.

A further thought ...

The melodic layer of Paddy/EDharmonica could alternately be Regular Easy Third (see viewtopic.php?f=9&t=661#p2869 ) or Repeating Richter.

The harmonic layer could alternately be any two triads.

And all the combinations of such layers thereby!

Taken as a whole, we now can define a family of melody/harmony (typically) non-chromatic slide harp tunings.

User avatar
IaNerd
Posts: 454
Joined: Thu Aug 10, 2017 6:42 pm
Location: Iowa, USA

Re: Melodically and harmonically versatile slide (or slide-diatonic) tuning

Post by IaNerd » Wed Jan 15, 2020 2:37 pm

Just for fun, imagine one of these tunings in a 16-hole format. Over five octaves! Realistically, though, hitting those half- and whole-tone bends in the lowest and highest registers would be terribly difficult for most players.

User avatar
IaNerd
Posts: 454
Joined: Thu Aug 10, 2017 6:42 pm
Location: Iowa, USA

Re: Melodically and harmonically versatile slide (or slide-diatonic) tuning

Post by IaNerd » Thu Jan 16, 2020 2:21 pm

In the opening post of this discussion, I proposed this:

Slide out (melodic):
C E A
D G B
Slide in (harmonic):
C F A
E G C


I stated at that time that "careful control of the draw-bending G to either F# or F" would be necessary".

With that in mind, I now propose a different harmonic (slide-in) layer to accompany the Paddy/EDharmonica melodic (slide-out) layer ....

Slide out (melodic):
C E A
D G B
Slide in (harmonic):
C E G
D F# A


In terms of possible chord groups, this combination of layers is somewhat similar. In first position (C) we have I, II, V and vi chords. More significantly, in the second position (G) we have the highly useful I, ii, IV and V chords.

Granted, the pair of chord groups in the first post are probably more generally useful. The advantage of newer version lies in the existence and placement of that F# note in the slide-in layer. In the melodic layer, the sharped F (a half draw-bend) is harder to hit than the natural F (a whole draw-bend). Having a no-bend F# available in this same hole would be helpful. I find it highly significant that this "new" note makes a G major scale possible with no required bending.

Round-up of accidentals in this newer version: C#/Db (draw-bend), F#/Gb (straight note or draw-bend), G#/Ab (draw-bend), A#/Bb (draw-bend). Therefore, nearly full chromaticity (no D#/Eb) across the harp. Note that F is only achievable as a bend--but in both layers.

User avatar
IaNerd
Posts: 454
Joined: Thu Aug 10, 2017 6:42 pm
Location: Iowa, USA

Re: Melodically and harmonically versatile slide (or slide-diatonic) tuning

Post by IaNerd » Thu Jan 16, 2020 4:03 pm

I think it would be instructive to look at the tuning of the previous post in a slightly different way. We start where we left off:

Slide out (melodic):
C E A
D G B
Slide in (harmonic):
C E G
D F# A


Now let us transpose it such that G becomes C, etc.:

Slide out (melodic):
F A D
G C E
Slide in (harmonic):
F A C
G B D


Now we frame-shift it, to put the tonic in the lower left of the melodic layer:

Slide out (melodic):
A D F
C E G
Slide in (harmonic):
A C F
B D G


If we now consider C as being the tonic of first position, we have the following chords across the entire harp: I (Cmaj), ii (Dmin), IV (Fmaj) and V (Gmaj) chords.

Also, the tonic, major third, and fifth can be flatted by draw-bending. This is also true in Inverted Bebop, introduced here: viewtopic.php?f=9&t=612#p2619

The C major scale is played like this: [starting with slide-out] draw, blow, draw, blow, draw, blow, draw-with-slide-in, draw-with-slide-out. Interestingly, this has the same breath pattern as Inverted Bebop.

In a ten-hole format, this would be more than three octaves.

Round-up of accidentals in this newer version: C#/Db (draw-bend), D#/Eb (draw-bend), F#/Gb (draw-bend), A#/Bb (draw-bend). Therefore, nearly full chromaticity (no G#/Ab) across the harp.

ADDENDUM, Jan. 22, 2020:
The iii chord (Emin) can be implied with the slide-out dyad E-G or with the slide-in dyad G-B.
The vi chord (Amin) can be implied with the slide-out dyad C-E or with the slide-in dyad A-C.
Last edited by IaNerd on Wed Jan 22, 2020 4:41 pm, edited 2 times in total.

User avatar
Brendan
Posts: 565
Joined: Fri Mar 24, 2017 2:28 pm
Contact:

Re: Melodically and harmonically versatile slide (or slide-diatonic) tuning

Post by Brendan » Thu Jan 16, 2020 5:31 pm

Yes, the possibilities are endless if you think of a slide harmonica not as a Chromatic but as essentially a Slide-Diatonic. The slide notes can be configured in so many useful ways to add cool extra functionality, regardless of the base Slide-Out tuning.

You show some good options with the hexatonic repeated Paddy/ED layout Patrick, but getting these made in a slide harmonica will be expensive - as currently only Seydel offer alt-tuned chromatics.

A cheaper/easier option is to stick with the standard Solo tuning (or small variations that can be retuned easily from it, like Bebop), which are available from many manufacturers at reasonable cost, and in a variety of keys. There are lots of useful ways the slide-in notes of Solo can be reconfigured by anyone with decent skills to give various effects, from chords to extra bending options etc.

I've experimented with quite a few over the years, and they have come in handy for special uses. Virtually all the harps I used to play in the Riverdance Show were very quirky Slide-Diatonics, with some quite ideosyncratic slide notes to help me play otherwise impossible melodies! The only one I use regularly now is my standard Slide-Diatonic, mostly for Irish/folk tunes, but it's always fun to test other options, as I do from time to time. It's a never-ending cornucopia of delights :-)

User avatar
IaNerd
Posts: 454
Joined: Thu Aug 10, 2017 6:42 pm
Location: Iowa, USA

Re: Melodically and harmonically versatile slide (or slide-diatonic) tuning

Post by IaNerd » Thu Jan 16, 2020 6:49 pm

Brendan -- Thanks for those comments.

I have been exploring these repeating hexatonic tunings lately. This discussion viewtopic.php?f=9&t=652#p2828 is addressing the issue of cost. At 30 USD, the Easttop EDharmonica is a relatively affordable hex-tuned harp which, I am finding, has many hex-based re-tuning possibilities. I need to try them with a slide-diatonic assembly of yours. The ones I have on hand are intended for Seydel Sessions but they might also work on Easttops. I will report back on this.

As for Solo-tuned diatonics, I am unaware of any models other than Session Steels and Lucky 13s, which cost more than double the Easttops. If anyone can identify a low-cost Solo, please share that information. I would love to see a stock Solo-tuned Kongsheng Amazing 20.

As for re-tuning "real" chromatic slide harps, well this is my best stuff so far: viewtopic.php?f=9&t=612&start=10#p2813

Post Reply