Saturday, February 02, 2019

blow along

All our instruments series, episode 5

I've had my Hohner Piccolo harp for longer than I can remember, could be up to half a century, but I never quite got the hang of it. The spacing between the channels is a bit too narrow for my big mouth, so I tend to get more notes than I want to play. (Also, you need to breathe in for some of the notes, which can make playing a bit unpleasant, as you end up with the metal taste in your mouth.)

But the web assures me that it is a proper instrument and there are people out there who can make proper music with it, such as this guy who wrote a review of it on his harmonica website. He says it's only available in C, but mine is in G. The design, however, hasn't changed in all those years.

One of the things I may have attempted to play way back when is Neil Young's Heart of Gold. Looking that up on YouTube, I found an ancient video of Neil Young playing live in 1971, which is hilarious for two reasons. First he apologises for all those new songs that nobody knows, of which Heart of Gold was another example, which is ironic because it became a classic about three minutes later. And then, after a few minutes spent finding the harmonica in the right key, he says, "This one's in G, if anybody wants to blow along with me." Don't mind if I do, so here's my warm-up:

further down the line there will be bigger harmonicas, big enough for me to play an actual tune on them.

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