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Chord Req: How to play Bm on an autoharp?

Arnie 01 Dec 07 - 06:01 PM
Malcolm Douglas 01 Dec 07 - 06:28 PM
McGrath of Harlow 01 Dec 07 - 06:43 PM
Songster Bob 01 Dec 07 - 06:47 PM
Dan Schatz 01 Dec 07 - 07:15 PM
wysiwyg 01 Dec 07 - 11:01 PM
GUEST,observer 02 Dec 07 - 12:34 AM
Arnie 02 Dec 07 - 08:35 AM
wysiwyg 02 Dec 07 - 10:16 AM
wysiwyg 02 Dec 07 - 08:53 PM
open mike 03 Dec 07 - 12:32 AM
12-stringer 03 Dec 07 - 04:10 AM
TJO 03 Dec 07 - 10:10 AM
Midchuck 03 Dec 07 - 10:17 AM
wysiwyg 03 Dec 07 - 10:46 AM
GUEST,Jim 03 Dec 07 - 01:10 PM
The Fooles Troupe 04 Dec 07 - 12:09 AM
Art Thieme 04 Dec 07 - 12:12 AM
GUEST,OLD - TIMER 04 Dec 07 - 04:37 PM
GUEST,leeneia 05 Dec 07 - 04:44 PM
GUEST,Joe in Austin 13 Apr 12 - 12:27 AM
Bert 13 Apr 12 - 03:31 AM
Tootler 13 Apr 12 - 01:31 PM
Joe Offer 13 Apr 12 - 08:00 PM
GUEST,Teresa 22 Jun 16 - 10:59 PM
GUEST 12 Dec 16 - 11:07 AM
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Subject: Chord Req: How to play Bm on an autoharp?
From: Arnie
Date: 01 Dec 07 - 06:01 PM

My wife has recently acquired an autoharp and is currently learning to play it. It seems reasonably basic to strum, but the chords are of course fixed and it has no Bm. As I play a tune on guitar that has a Bm, is there an equivalent on the autoharp??


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Subject: RE: Chord Req: How to play Bm on an autoharp?
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 01 Dec 07 - 06:28 PM

Mine (a cheap 12-bar job of unknown age and manufacture) has a Bm bar, though it is labelled in the 'continental' styles: 'H moll / Si min'. With a little ingenuity it is possible to customize bars to provide different chords or to 'pick' chords not pre-selected, but you might find it easier to buy an instrument with a larger selection of chord bars if you lack H moll.


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Subject: RE: Chord Req: How to play Bm on an autoharp?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 01 Dec 07 - 06:43 PM

Or play the tune in a key which uses whatever minor chord she has opn the autoharp.


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Subject: RE: Chord Req: How to play Bm on an autoharp?
From: Songster Bob
Date: 01 Dec 07 - 06:47 PM

First, get an extra bar and some autoharp felt. If you start with a D major, you can cut out the B notes, and glue those pieces of felt to fill in the A notes in the D chord.

Or buy a spare chord bar from the Autoharp company; they sell 'em. Like harmonicas, autoharps have limited chords/notes. That's the nature of the beasts.

Bob


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Subject: RE: Chord Req: How to play Bm on an autoharp?
From: Dan Schatz
Date: 01 Dec 07 - 07:15 PM

Oscar Schmidt makes conversion kits, so you can upgrade from a 12 bar to a 15 or 21 bar, which gives you much greater flexibility. Alternatively, Luthiers might be willing to make up a chord bar set for you that is interchangeable, so you can pop in whatever chords you need.

The simplest thing to do is to find a chord bar that you and your wife never use or plan to use, buy some felt, and cut a Bm chord bar. Lindsay Haisley does this all the time - when he goes into the studio, he generally finishes the day with a ring of cut felt around him, since he's always cutting new bars on the fly.

Good luck!

Dan


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Subject: RE: Chord Req: How to play Bm on an autoharp?
From: wysiwyg
Date: 01 Dec 07 - 11:01 PM

No arrangement is final. She can experiment with using other chords in the key the song is in, and depending where this occurs a major chord may work quite well. I did have Bminor's made for my harps but they were cut wrong, so for years I didn't have the use of them and made out fine just changing the arrangement. Especially if she is not playing solo, the alternate chord need not be an issue.

Also she can try experimenting around the chord buttons to play 2 chords at once, and she may get a compatible-sounding resulting chord that will work for her on an existing arrangement. It will be a thin sound in that spot, but may work.

Another work-around is to simply retune the whole harp so that playing it in Am-marked chords actually results in playing in Bm, etc., if that is the most commonly-played in key for your group. Her arrangements will need to be transposed to appear in the key that matches the chord names on the buttons she's using. (Using this example, of course that also means that she will not be able to conveniently play in Am.)

But it is true that people who play with autoharpers learn to respect the chords they DO have, especially when the person is newer to playing.

~Susan


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Subject: RE: Chord Req: How to play Bm on an autoharp?
From: GUEST,observer
Date: 02 Dec 07 - 12:34 AM

retuning an entire harp up or down is generally a bad idea. Problems with the pins and the wood result, strings can snap, wood can warp and it is normally just not done.

what mcgrath said


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Subject: RE: Chord Req: How to play Bm on an autoharp?
From: Arnie
Date: 02 Dec 07 - 08:35 AM

I don't really relish the retuning idea having watched my daughter spend an afternoon doing it the first time! Also, the diy option with bits of felt seems a bit fiddly. I think I'll stick to the easy options, such as playing the guitar in a different key or my wife simply missing out the Bm chord altogether. Thanks for the suggestions folks.

Arnie


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Subject: RE: Chord Req: How to play Bm on an autoharp?
From: wysiwyg
Date: 02 Dec 07 - 10:16 AM

G/o, that's odd, we did it for FIVE YEARS with no 'harp trouble at all. Tuned up, tuned down..... Also have swapped strings that were not supposed to go for the notes specified when the string set was getting a bit thin. No ill effects.

Arnie, I am sure not suggesting to retune it just for one song. What I tried to convey was that it is one option if Bm is the most-used key she wants to play in, and then you'd probably leave it tuned that way.

What it really depends upon is the singing key; if a singer can only cover most tunes' range in a particular key, then of course it's worth it to stay in the alternate tuning. (The late Rick Fielding BTW agreed with me on that point.) I believe there is a name for this retuning approach in the array of Italian musical terms (something like "scordiatura") that my husband heard about for violinists. Fiddle strings are far more fragile that autoharps, so if they do it, that ought to tell us something.


I'm also highly skeptical of the "just swap in a new chord bar" idea. Rick modified a harp to do that, but it wasn't simple. I have a Chromaharp made to do it, and with that you swap in and out a whole set for the key you want to play in, with one trayfull of chord bars. You could set up the trays however you wanted, but it was designed to do it. Most autoharps' chord bars are not so easy to get at that you could just zip in a chord bar.


The 21-bar harps (at least the Schmidts 21's) are especially hard to work on because the teeth the chord bars ride up and down upon are fragile plastic and single teeth easily break off when being worked on. When my husband works on mine, we always make sure to have extra chord-bar holders for just that reason. It's not just him-- pro repairers have encountered the same issue. I'd love a set in stainless, but the sizing of the 21-bar harp would make that an expensive thing to machine as a DIY.

Also on a 21-bar the chord bars are much thinner, but still the set takes up so much of the 'harp top that playing on the far ends of the bar set gives a very poor sound. Those far ends are the seldom-used chords-- the ones you would most likely to want to re-purpose to place the Bm. If you choose to do that eventually-- I did-- be sure to place the Bm as far in from the edge as you can stand to lose another chord-bar. Mine is 2 or 3 in from the outside edge of the chord bar set, and still sounds muddy, but then I seldom use it.

Another idea would be that in the spot where the Bm occurs, she could pinch-play a beat or two where the melody or a harmony for that phrase occurs. I do not play melody, so I'm not sure where that pinch would neeed to be.

It's hard to maintain a strum pattern if you are skipping a phrase entirely, so she might want to try that alternate-chord approach I described above.

~Susan


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Subject: RE: Chord Req: How to play Bm on an autoharp?
From: wysiwyg
Date: 02 Dec 07 - 08:53 PM

Correction-- for scordiatura, you could tune Dm down to Bm on a 15-bar (if I recall correctly) or, better, Cm down to Bm for a 21-bar.

~S~


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Subject: RE: Chord Req: How to play Bm on an autoharp?
From: open mike
Date: 03 Dec 07 - 12:32 AM

B minor would have a flatted third in it..
that would be d flat or c sharp
maybe you can play 2 chords at once..
the "B" and another that has c#?
on second thought, each c# is probably
dampened in the B chord, so this would
probably not work...maybe 2 other chords
would form the notes needed for B min.?


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Subject: RE: Chord Req: How to play Bm on an autoharp?
From: 12-stringer
Date: 03 Dec 07 - 04:10 AM

A minor (so to speak) correction:

The Bm triad is B - D - F#.


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Subject: RE: Chord Req: How to play Bm on an autoharp?
From: TJO
Date: 03 Dec 07 - 10:10 AM

Do you have a D major chord?

The notes for a Bm chord are B-D-F#.

The notes for a D chord are D-F#-A.

Hold down the D bar, check at the base of the autoharp to see what the notes are on each string, and pinch to get as many of the D and F# notes as you can without hitting the A strings. As long as there's another instrument sounding the B note, it'll sound OK, even if the autoharp itself sounds a bit thin. It's not as hard as it sounds, and it's something you need to learn to do as you get better on the autoharp anyway.

You can try a similar work-around with the E7 chord, which has notes E-Ab-B-D, by just playing the B and the D notes. It's a little harder because there's two note to avoid, the E and the Ab.

Good Luck,
T.J.


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Subject: RE: Chord Req: How to play Bm on an autoharp?
From: Midchuck
Date: 03 Dec 07 - 10:17 AM

Make up a bar that plays only Bs and F#s. What folkies would call a "drone B," rockers a "Power B," and people who were vain about their knowledge of theory a "B5." Then you can use it when you need either a B Major or minor.

Peter


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Subject: RE: Chord Req: How to play Bm on an autoharp?
From: wysiwyg
Date: 03 Dec 07 - 10:46 AM

That sounds cool, and swap it in permanently where an unused chord is farthest from the outside end of the chord bar set.

~Susan


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Subject: RE: Chord Req: How to play Bm on an autoharp?
From: GUEST,Jim
Date: 03 Dec 07 - 01:10 PM

Depending on the song, a Bm7 might work out fine. Since a Bm7 contains B,D,F# and A, your wife could play a D chord while you play a Bm chord and the result would be a Bm7. It might work.


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Subject: RE: Chord Req: How to play Bm on an autoharp?
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 04 Dec 07 - 12:09 AM

One trick that players of piano accordions with less than a full set (Listen JiK - I'm talking about the INSTRUMENTS, not the PLAYERS :-P) of bass buttons do is to 'fake' any '7th' chord by just playing the chord itself, in much the same way as Jim suggests. The note with the pitch of the '7th' SHOULD be somewhere in the tune (orif some other instrument like a guitar is playing along) if it is really all that important.

I was trying to find it, but I'm not at home right now: there is a site out there which shows how to generate extra chords with combinations of the Stradella Bass Buttons on a P/A, - there should be a link somewhere in this maze of threads here at Mudcat...

Basically this guy has done all the hard work, but you can 'easily' work it out from first principles of music scale theory! :-)


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Subject: RE: Chord Req: How to play Bm on an autoharp?
From: Art Thieme
Date: 04 Dec 07 - 12:12 AM

Make an A minor, and play it 3 frets up the neck!

ART


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Subject: RE: Chord Req: How to play Bm on an autoharp?
From: GUEST,OLD - TIMER
Date: 04 Dec 07 - 04:37 PM

ANY ONE EVER HEAR OF THE "HARP DOCTOR " its worth a google .A good clinic.Meantime dont have a harp attack or harp-quake !


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Subject: RE: Chord Req: How to play Bm on an autoharp?
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 05 Dec 07 - 04:44 PM

When I'm playing guitar, I find Bm hard to finger. But Bm is usually played for a short time, so I just hit my D string a couple times, and it's quickly over.

Try isolating a couple D strings on the autoharp and plucking a little pattern with them when Bm is called for. Attention should be on the vocalist when she shifts into the minor, anyway.


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Subject: RE: Chord Req: How to play Bm on an autoharp?
From: GUEST,Joe in Austin
Date: 13 Apr 12 - 12:27 AM

Play the tune up 3 half steps
G -> B flat
Bm -> Dm
C -> E flat
Em -> Gm
A7 -> C7
D7 -> F7


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Subject: RE: Chord Req: How to play Bm on an autoharp?
From: Bert
Date: 13 Apr 12 - 03:31 AM

Just use D instead, like Leenia says it is soon over. Betcha most of your audience won't notice the difference.


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Subject: RE: Chord Req: How to play Bm on an autoharp?
From: Tootler
Date: 13 Apr 12 - 01:31 PM

I had a similar problem with my ukulele last night (though it was my own fault). For some reason I couldn't finger Em properly and just muted the strings, so I just played G instead in the end. Worked OK in the circumstances and I doubt most people noticed. This is much the same as Bert's suggestion of playing D instead of Bm


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Subject: RE: Chord Req: How to play Bm on an autoharp?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 13 Apr 12 - 08:00 PM

Try an Autoharp capo.....works great for me....


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Subject: RE: Chord Req: How to play Bm on an autoharp?
From: GUEST,Teresa
Date: 22 Jun 16 - 10:59 PM

So how do you know where the felts hit the strings if you wanted to make a new chord bar? I know what notes on the piano build all the major and minor chords, but when you cut the felt and glue it to a chord bar, how do you know where to cut? Do place the felt on the strings and make marks to know where to cut and where not to. I like the idea of making a B5 power chord, then you could use that for aB minor or major.


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Subject: RE: Chord Req: How to play Bm on an autoharp?
From: GUEST
Date: 12 Dec 16 - 11:07 AM

I had a similar question about how to play A major on my 12 chord autoharp. Found that playing A minor and A7 together works, although not a very rich sound. I figured it out this way: the A7 chord eliminates the C note and the Aminor eliminates the B note.


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