The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #58633   Message #931675
Posted By: Bob Bolton
12-Apr-03 - 07:07 AM
Thread Name: 'Solo Tuned' Harmonica Question
Subject: RE: 'Solo Tuned' Harmonica Question
G'day again,

Vixem PM'ed me on a couple of issue ... and aked what the heck I meant by "Richter tuning" .... I had best explain:

This decribes what seems to most melodically inclined musicians as the "illogical" layout of the mouth organ/harmonica. It really revolves around getting a good set of basic chords ... and still letting you play a melody ... all in 100mm of wood/plastic and brass.

The three notes of the tonic major chord (C maj on a C harmonica) proceed across the 10 holes as 'blow' notes: CEGCEGcegc' ... a 10-hole/note C maj chord. The rest of the notes are 'draw' notes - lined up from hole 4 to hole 8, but getting 'out of step' beyond. Even worse, hole 3 has a B on the draw but there is no A (the "relative minor") and there is a repeated G on the draw at hole 2!

This is all about chords ... at the bottom end. The 'draw' G proceeds to B - then D = a G maj chord ... and the F makes it into a full G7 the "dominant seventh" of the key of C. This F plus its adjacent A is 2 thirds of the "subdominant" chord F ... and all of this adds up to the "three chord trick" that has sustained beginner guitarists for centuries.

As well holes 4, 5 & 6 - on the 'draw' give a D min chord (DFA) ... very important in the Dorian mode tunes that are so common in northern European and Irish music. Knowing what is there ... and how to slide the notes in between ... is what a grasp of "vamping" style is all about.

I hope some of this makes sense to you ... it took a few decades for it to make theoretical sense to me ... but I was happily playing it all for years before that!


Bob Bolton