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Unusual autoharp technique

Jack Campin 08 Dec 09 - 08:47 PM
GUEST,guest 09 Dec 09 - 12:56 AM
Mavis Enderby 09 Dec 09 - 03:00 AM
MGM·Lion 09 Dec 09 - 08:28 AM
Jack Campin 09 Dec 09 - 08:41 AM
MGM·Lion 09 Dec 09 - 08:55 AM
GUEST,guest 09 Dec 09 - 08:57 AM
autoharper 09 Dec 09 - 12:24 PM
Bill D 09 Dec 09 - 12:33 PM
The Sandman 09 Dec 09 - 12:43 PM
Bill D 09 Dec 09 - 01:12 PM
autoharper 09 Dec 09 - 03:35 PM
The Sandman 09 Dec 09 - 03:44 PM
M.Ted 09 Dec 09 - 03:49 PM
M.Ted 09 Dec 09 - 04:40 PM
The Sandman 09 Dec 09 - 05:22 PM
M.Ted 09 Dec 09 - 11:24 PM
PHJim 10 Dec 09 - 10:26 AM
MGM·Lion 10 Dec 09 - 11:11 AM
Jack Campin 10 Dec 09 - 02:38 PM
MGM·Lion 10 Dec 09 - 03:02 PM
Jack Campin 10 Dec 09 - 04:06 PM
PHJim 10 Dec 09 - 04:12 PM
Mavis Enderby 10 Dec 09 - 04:13 PM
Jack Campin 10 Dec 09 - 04:45 PM
M.Ted 10 Dec 09 - 04:54 PM
MGM·Lion 10 Dec 09 - 10:49 PM
M.Ted 11 Dec 09 - 10:36 PM
MGM·Lion 11 Dec 09 - 10:49 PM
GUEST,DonMeixner 12 Dec 09 - 12:55 AM
M.Ted 12 Dec 09 - 01:44 AM
MGM·Lion 12 Dec 09 - 03:10 AM
M.Ted 12 Dec 09 - 01:22 PM
MGM·Lion 12 Dec 09 - 02:13 PM
Art Thieme 12 Dec 09 - 03:10 PM
The Sandman 12 Dec 09 - 04:52 PM
Jack Campin 12 Dec 09 - 07:11 PM
jrmw 12 Dec 09 - 07:18 PM
GUEST,hg 12 Dec 09 - 07:25 PM
jrmw 12 Dec 09 - 08:25 PM
Art Thieme 12 Dec 09 - 09:04 PM
GUEST,hg 12 Dec 09 - 10:58 PM
dav_byn 12 Dec 09 - 11:18 PM
M.Ted 13 Dec 09 - 02:08 AM
The Sandman 13 Dec 09 - 09:48 AM
GUEST,DonMeixner 13 Dec 09 - 09:57 AM
GUEST,DonMeixner 13 Dec 09 - 01:18 PM
MGM·Lion 13 Dec 09 - 01:32 PM
Jack Campin 13 Dec 09 - 01:33 PM
GUEST,hg 13 Dec 09 - 01:56 PM
GUEST,hg 13 Dec 09 - 01:58 PM
The Sandman 13 Dec 09 - 01:59 PM
GUEST,hg 13 Dec 09 - 02:25 PM
Jack Campin 13 Dec 09 - 02:29 PM
GUEST,DonMeixner 13 Dec 09 - 02:31 PM
GUEST,hg 13 Dec 09 - 03:34 PM
GUEST,hg 13 Dec 09 - 03:36 PM
M.Ted 13 Dec 09 - 03:45 PM
M.Ted 13 Dec 09 - 03:55 PM
PHJim 14 Dec 09 - 12:31 PM
MGM·Lion 14 Dec 09 - 01:59 PM
M.Ted 14 Dec 09 - 05:08 PM
M.Ted 14 Dec 09 - 06:55 PM
MGM·Lion 14 Dec 09 - 08:53 PM
M.Ted 15 Dec 09 - 07:48 AM
M.Ted 15 Dec 09 - 07:48 AM
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Subject: Unusual autoharp technique
From: Jack Campin
Date: 08 Dec 09 - 08:47 PM

Can any autoharp experts tell what's going on in this track, from the Excavated Shellac site?

Tysons Autoharp Band

The autoharp is tuned to an African pentatonic scale. What if anything are the chord bars doing?


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Subject: RE: Unusual autoharp technique
From: GUEST,guest
Date: 09 Dec 09 - 12:56 AM

This blog leads one down some lovely rabbit tracks of music from around the world. it sounds as if they destrun the harp and tuned to their five note scale as written...like a thumb piano?

Thanks for it.


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Subject: RE: Unusual autoharp technique
From: Mavis Enderby
Date: 09 Dec 09 - 03:00 AM

I'm more of an expert on Google than autoharp, but a bit of digging has found Johannes Mohlala as a more recent exponent of this style - this album cover (scroll down the page a little) suggests the tone bars are not used.

Thanks for introducing me to the Excavated Shellac site. I know what I'm doing this evening now...

Pete.


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Subject: RE: Unusual autoharp technique
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 09 Dec 09 - 08:28 AM

What point of using autoharp without tone or chord bars? ceases then to BE 'auto' doesn't it? Why not just a harp in appropriate tone [clarsach?], or lyre or zither or whatever?


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Subject: RE: Unusual autoharp technique
From: Jack Campin
Date: 09 Dec 09 - 08:41 AM

In this instance, the reason seems to have been availability. Autoharps are cheap and they had been imported into the region.

Maybe they retuned them with the strings paired, getting more power out of each note of the pentatonic scale and making a larger target to strike?


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Subject: RE: Unusual autoharp technique
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 09 Dec 09 - 08:55 AM

Good points, Jack. Thank you. But in that case is not your thread title a bit of a misnomer, as there was no actual autoharp technique, as such, being used; but an adaptation of an available instrument to another purpose - would you not agree?


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Subject: RE: Unusual autoharp technique
From: GUEST,guest
Date: 09 Dec 09 - 08:57 AM

The strings are not paired. I think they came off or were taken off and the chord bars taken off as well and played like a zither or thumb piano.


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Subject: RE: Unusual autoharp technique
From: autoharper
Date: 09 Dec 09 - 12:24 PM

Julie Davis plays an autoharp with a pentatonic scale string schedule. Mike Seeger could hardly keep his hands off this instrument when he first encountered it at a festival at which Julie and he performed.

The unusual autoharp technique you're hearing on this record sounds, to my ears, like they are ignoring the chord bars and plucking a repetitive melodic pattern on the open strings, obtaining a sound like a kalimba.

-Adam Miller


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Subject: RE: Unusual autoharp technique
From: Bill D
Date: 09 Dec 09 - 12:33 PM

It 'sounds' like the same series of notes played over & over. Whether they have tuned a few string to the set of notes they want and are just holding down one chord bar, or have removed or doubled some strings is hard to tell.


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Subject: RE: Unusual autoharp technique
From: The Sandman
Date: 09 Dec 09 - 12:43 PM

interesting up to a point but[imo] rather repetitive.


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Subject: RE: Unusual autoharp technique
From: Bill D
Date: 09 Dec 09 - 01:12 PM

...therefore superfluous is better than repetitive?


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Subject: RE: Unusual autoharp technique
From: autoharper
Date: 09 Dec 09 - 03:35 PM

On further listening, I am not convinced this instrument is correctly identified as an autoharp.


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Subject: RE: Unusual autoharp technique
From: The Sandman
Date: 09 Dec 09 - 03:44 PM

it sounds like that has been someone plucking up the inside of a piano,that has ben accidentally left out in the rain.


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Subject: RE: Unusual autoharp technique
From: M.Ted
Date: 09 Dec 09 - 03:49 PM

There are actually two antiphonal parts being played on the autoharp, and they create what is sometimes called a sound canvas for the other rhythmic instruments and the voices. The individual parts are simple, and repetitive, but over the course of the performance there is a complex interplay between of each of the parts that is neither simple nor repetitive.


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Subject: RE: Unusual autoharp technique
From: M.Ted
Date: 09 Dec 09 - 04:40 PM

As per Michael's comment that this is not autoharp technique, per se--assuming for a moment that the instrument is an autoharp and not a zither or folk kanun of some type, and also assuming that, as claimed, it has been used in this manner since it was adopted by this musical culture in the 19th century, then this is very definitely qualifies as "autoharp technique", and, in fact, is an older and more established system than the style that are more familar with.


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Subject: RE: Unusual autoharp technique
From: The Sandman
Date: 09 Dec 09 - 05:22 PM

well it may not be repetitive to you,but it is for me.


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Subject: RE: Unusual autoharp technique
From: M.Ted
Date: 09 Dec 09 - 11:24 PM

To each his own, said the lady...


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Subject: RE: Unusual autoharp technique
From: PHJim
Date: 10 Dec 09 - 10:26 AM

Some years back, George Foss (Captain Pentatonic) wrote a piece in the Autoharpoholic magazine called Going Pentatonic. He had retuned one (or more) of his Autoharps to a pentatonic scale and was successful at promoting this type of 'harp. After reading this I used a yard sale 'harp to make a pentatonic Autoharp and used it for a while before giving it to my brother. This was played as an Autoharp, with the chord bars, refelted of course, still on the instrument. I must agree with others who have said that once you remove the chord bars, an Autoharp is no longer an Autoharp, but becomes a zither.


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Subject: RE: Unusual autoharp technique
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 10 Dec 09 - 11:11 AM

I agree with PHJim. Even if the bars retained but unused, I would ask MTed - if someone with a sense of rhythm habitually turned a violin over & tapped rhythmically with his fingers on the back as he sang because the timbre of the resonance appealed to him, would that be a fiddle technique?


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Subject: RE: Unusual autoharp technique
From: Jack Campin
Date: 10 Dec 09 - 02:38 PM

The band that made that recording called it an autoharp, and you'd have a hard time arguing with them now.

My autoharp has "Autoharp" on the soundbox. Take the bars off and it'd still have that label attached, so I wouldn't argue with anybody who used the word for the result.

There is a piece by John Cage where the piano is played with the lid and keyboard cover down - you use it like a big cajon. It's still a piece for the piano.

Dick: listen harder to the vocals.


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Subject: RE: Unusual autoharp technique
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 10 Dec 09 - 03:02 PM

John Cage a kingsize pseud & I frankly couldn't give a flying u·no·wot what he chose to call anything, thanks Jack. I think he'd have done better to use it like a big dildo...

Labels don't prove a lot either: when I worked many years ago in the drink trade, they used to say that the way to make a fortune in England was to ship a sweet sherry and label it 'dry'.


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Subject: RE: Unusual autoharp technique
From: Jack Campin
Date: 10 Dec 09 - 04:06 PM

The Cage piece is a short song on words from Finnegans Wake, "The Wonderful Widow of Eighteen Springs". Nothing pseud about it to me.

There are several performances of it on YouTube and Spotify; I don't think any of them quite hit the spot with both the vocal part and the percussive accompaniment simultaneously, but most are worth hearing.


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Subject: RE: Unusual autoharp technique
From: PHJim
Date: 10 Dec 09 - 04:12 PM

Although it doesn't bother me if you call it an Autoharp, The name "Autoharp" refers only to instruments made by the Oscar Schmidt company and the companies who have had ownership of the name since. It, like "Dobro", is a brand name and its owners don't appreciate it being used to refer to other "chorded zithers" like Chromaharps or Evoharps. I guess they're afraid of the term becoming generic like kleenex or celophane.


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Subject: RE: Unusual autoharp technique
From: Mavis Enderby
Date: 10 Dec 09 - 04:13 PM

Similar but different. But still a fiddle technique...

Pete.


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Subject: RE: Unusual autoharp technique
From: Jack Campin
Date: 10 Dec 09 - 04:45 PM

The name "Autoharp" refers only to instruments made by the Oscar Schmidt company and the companies who have had ownership of the name since.

They may have conned the US legal system into agreeing with that, but autoharps were being made, labelled and sold as "autoharps" in the 19th century. Mine must predate Schmidt's trademark by about 30 years.

I presume the Lutheran missionaries who introduced the instrument to the Pedi brought something made in Germany, not an Oscar Schmidt product.


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Subject: RE: Unusual autoharp technique
From: M.Ted
Date: 10 Dec 09 - 04:54 PM

Michael--Flamenco guitarists, among others, tap the rasgueados on the top, back, and sides of their instrument, and, since it is part of the process of playing the music, it is indeed part of the technique.


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Subject: RE: Unusual autoharp technique
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 10 Dec 09 - 10:49 PM

Certainly, Ted; and a fascinating part of flamenco guitar technique at that: & we all do things like rat-tatting on the wood as we sing 'I'd make it into drums for me Bold Fenian Men', don't we? ··· but if they[/we] didn't use the strings at all it would be different, wouldn't it?


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Subject: RE: Unusual autoharp technique
From: M.Ted
Date: 11 Dec 09 - 10:36 PM

"Bold Fenian Men"? That's not happening here.


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Subject: RE: Unusual autoharp technique
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 11 Dec 09 - 10:49 PM

And your point is, Ted ··· ?


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Subject: RE: Unusual autoharp technique
From: GUEST,DonMeixner
Date: 12 Dec 09 - 12:55 AM

I was not moved or fascinated. That isn't to say in someones tradition it is brilliant work. I had a music teacher who used to suffer the clas with Ostenato (sp). That is what this recording reminds me of.

Don


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Subject: RE: Unusual autoharp technique
From: M.Ted
Date: 12 Dec 09 - 01:44 AM

Just that if I was rat-tat-tatting, it would be on something else entirely.

At any rate, as per Don Meixner's comment--everyone has different interests and tastes. But this music is "real" folk music, field recording type stuff, and not revival stuff, not contemporary music derived from roots music, or any such stuff, and I think, probably it sounds a lot more like the old forms of our American/Anglo-European folk music than we might first think. It makes me wonder how many of the self-professed folk music lovers here would have actually liked listening to "our" music, the way it was originally played.


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Subject: RE: Unusual autoharp technique
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 12 Dec 09 - 03:10 AM

I don't think you would, Ted, if you wanted to intro a rat-tat-tat drum effect into the middle of a song you were accompanying on guitar when the lyric demanded it — "when the drums begin to rattle [rat-tat-tat] and the pipes begin to play [back to strings]" - surely you see what I mean? Don't you ever do anything of the sort?

Nobody denies the traditional folk status of the piece of music under consideration. We are just disputing whether this can be described as an 'unusual [or for that matter any sort of] autoharp technique' as rubricated in the thread title.


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Subject: RE: Unusual autoharp technique
From: M.Ted
Date: 12 Dec 09 - 01:22 PM

I don't really don't know or play songs such as "Bold Fenian Men", so the drumming is lost on me.

As to the other, there is no dispute, the fact simply is that anything that you use to play music is an instrument, and any method of getting it to produce whatever sounds it is capable of producing is "technique".


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Subject: RE: Unusual autoharp technique
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 12 Dec 09 - 02:13 PM

The song is not Bold Fenian Men, but One Sunday Morning, which I learned from singing of Theo Bikel. Same effect used in many songs, e.g. Bonny Lass Of Fyvie.


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Subject: RE: Unusual autoharp technique
From: Art Thieme
Date: 12 Dec 09 - 03:10 PM

Once, in the 1960s, we had a strange elongated instrument come through our music store -- the Old Town Folklore Center in Chicago. It had keys/buttons to push that stopped the strings at various adjustable/changeable positions on the strings. Called a NAGOYA HARP, I think it probably was made in Japan. It sounded quite oriental--as does the instrument here -- to my ears anyhow.

Nagoya, I think, is a city in Japan.

Art Thieme


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Subject: RE: Unusual autoharp technique
From: The Sandman
Date: 12 Dec 09 - 04:52 PM

But this music is "real" folk music, field recording type stuff, and not revival stuff.quote.
here we go again making judgenments that are not based on quality but on labels,it must be good because its a field recording.
well its ok,but, sorry, I would rather listen to a really good revival singer interpreting a song well, Peter Bellamy singing Yarmouth Town,Tony Rose singing Banks of Green Willow, Jean Ritchie singing Loving Hannah,Martin Carthy singing Thorneymore woods[of course none of this is real folk music]


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Subject: RE: Unusual autoharp technique
From: Jack Campin
Date: 12 Dec 09 - 07:11 PM

Once, in the 1960s, we had a strange elongated instrument come through our music store -- the Old Town Folklore Center in Chicago. It had keys/buttons to push that stopped the strings at various adjustable/changeable positions on the strings. Called a NAGOYA HARP, I think it probably was made in Japan

We've had a long-running thread about it under the name "taishogoto". There is also an Indian instrument of the same type (organologically, it's a kind of clavichord) which is usually made using bits of typewriter or adding machine mechanism.

But this music is "real" folk music, field recording type stuff, and not revival stuff.
here we go again making judgenments that are not based on quality but on labels,it must be good because its a field recording.


Nobody's saying that. But southern Afica has its revival singers too, and what do you think they turn to for sources?


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Subject: RE: Unusual autoharp technique
From: jrmw
Date: 12 Dec 09 - 07:18 PM

Greetings. Pardon the intrusion from a newbie. I'm Jonathan, the person behind the Excavated Shellac site, and the owner of the record in question. There's been many people visiting my site from Mudcat Café, so I thought I'd pop by to view the discussion. I am glad to see that the post has generated such a variety of responses from very knowledgeable people.

To touch on a few questions that have popped up during the thread:

Regarding tuning - the Pedi do indeed remove the chord bars of the autoharp and tune the strings to their own scale. Whether or not the instrument is still an autoharp if the chord bars are removed, I cannot answer, and it certainly wouldn't be my place to do so. However, 95% all the writing on the Pedi's music by various writers and ethnomusicologists that I consulted refer to the instrument as an autoharp, regardless of the methods the Pedi use to play the instrument. Maybe further scholarship and discussion with Pedi musicians should warrant a change in the name of the instrument to "zither," - it could be a good subject of study. I naturally hadn't considered this and I appreciated the comments. Thanks to Jack Campin for posing the question and having an interest in the piece.

For MtheGM - the label to this piece is probably precisely what it was meant to be. In other words, it is safe to trust. Hugh Tracey, the ethnomusicologist who recorded this track, will probably always be in high regard. He was scrupulous in his notes about African music, wrote numerous books, and made thousands of recordings. This piece is catalogued by both the ILAM (International Library of African Music - founded by Tracey) and the South African Music Archive. (Both use the term "autoharp" for what it's worth.)

That said - I would hesitate to say that this is a "field recording." Field recordings tend to be marketed to adventurous listeners of another culture than the one recorded. This track was recorded in 1945/1948. If it wasn't recorded in a South African city studio (labels would pay for travel for musicians and this happened all the time), it was probably recorded on portable electric equipment in a structure that could double as a studio, with good miking capabilities. These records were marketed somewhat to curious westerners and the then relatively nascent study of international folk musics, but primarily the records were marketed toward the culture recorded. Tracey did release field recordings on both Gallotone and Trek – he also recorded and released lots of popular music he recorded in studios.

For those that find the piece interesting, I thank you again for visiting my site. I hope you poke around some more.


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Subject: RE: Unusual autoharp technique
From: GUEST,hg
Date: 12 Dec 09 - 07:25 PM

thanks jrmw for the information. Do you know the notes in the scale? I think your site is very interesting and I hope to see more of it soon.
harpgirl


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Subject: RE: Unusual autoharp technique
From: jrmw
Date: 12 Dec 09 - 08:25 PM

Sorry harpgirl, I do not. However, I should point out that some sources list the scale as 6 notes, though my primary source listed the scale as 5 notes.


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Subject: RE: Unusual autoharp technique
From: Art Thieme
Date: 12 Dec 09 - 09:04 PM

It seems from here, to me, that the autoharp body is serving as a convenient box and sounding-board for the actual instrument that these people have chosen to play as, essentially, a psaltery. Also, the strings can be conveniently tuned to whatever they desire their notes or scale to reflect using the tuning posts already installed. So using an actual autoharp in this way is perfect.

They might even grow a potted plant in it to enhance it being roots music. (Just a JOKE; no need for anyone to get bent oughta shape!! ;-)

In my previous post about the so-called Nagoya Harp, I was responding to the sounds I was hearing only as this musical performance was downloading, bit by small bit, into my computer. I only have a dial-up connection. Being unable to hear the whole piece, I was talking about my first impression of sounds I was hearing.

ArtThieme


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Subject: RE: Unusual autoharp technique
From: GUEST,hg
Date: 12 Dec 09 - 10:58 PM

arf!arf!....Art...

harpgirl


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Subject: RE: Unusual autoharp technique
From: dav_byn
Date: 12 Dec 09 - 11:18 PM

i just read all this stuff... wow!!! what a debate !!!! actually the autoharp really is a chorded zither.... for several generations they were referred to as autoharps... Oscar Schmidt called them autoharps.... one maker calls his instruments Dulci-harps... so call them what you will... but take the chord bars off one of them and it becomes a zither... tuned however you want... diatonic.. pentatonic... septonic... Phrygian.... and maybe just some crazy off the top of the head tuning.... it's all about the music !!!! thanks for reading...


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Subject: RE: Unusual autoharp technique
From: M.Ted
Date: 13 Dec 09 - 02:08 AM

I was looking for a way to qualify, and "field recording" was what popped into my head. Jack has used the term "Source music", and that really fits better. Beyond that, though, my judgement is that it's great music, and I extend my sincere appreciation to Jonathan for sharing it, and other wonderful recordings.


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Subject: RE: Unusual autoharp technique
From: The Sandman
Date: 13 Dec 09 - 09:48 AM

my aoplogies mted,Ithink the music is ok,unusual,interesting up to a point but it doesnt excite me wildly,just slightly different taste,hope I did not appear abrasive.


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Subject: RE: Unusual autoharp technique
From: GUEST,DonMeixner
Date: 13 Dec 09 - 09:57 AM

This could be a new thread actually.

How long does a song or musical style have to begone to make it's reemergence a revival? I'd argue that from a culture that relies on example and not written document to carry on a tradition then gone is gone after a few generations. You can't revive what you've never heard.
Bending a new instrument to your use and playing the old music you know on isn't revivalism is it?

Is it revival to play a formerly un accompanied song with guitar or is it revision?

Don


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Subject: RE: Unusual autoharp technique
From: GUEST,DonMeixner
Date: 13 Dec 09 - 01:18 PM

I didn't notice the clicky to the album cover before. Unless the photo was printed backward that isn't an Autoharp. I suspect that it is a chord zither. The variety with four chords at the long side and the rest are chromatic, high to low.

I imagine was already discovered and mentioned but I missed it in a hasty reread of the thread. So sorry if I am redundant.

Don


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Subject: RE: Unusual autoharp technique
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 13 Dec 09 - 01:32 PM

=== the fact simply is that anything that you use to play music is an instrument, and any method of getting it to produce whatever sounds it is capable of producing is "technique". ===

I remain exercised by this assertion. I just don't think it is the case. Children like to take 2 pencils, or 2 table-knives, or whatever, & use them as drumsticks on any surface handy. If one did this on the top of the family piano, would you regard that as 'unusual piano technique'? When [as has been confirmed in this case] the bars are removed, the instrument that started as an 'autoharp' can no longer be so named or described — by definition, you might say, as it is the use of the bars that account for the 'auto...' part of the instrument's name. Without them there is nothing 'auto...' [derived obviously from 'automatic'] about it, is there?


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Subject: RE: Unusual autoharp technique
From: Jack Campin
Date: 13 Dec 09 - 01:33 PM

You can see a light-coloured band across the instrument where the bars used to be (probably only three of them, like the first instruments called "autoharps" back in the 1880s). The strings are equally spaced, whereas on the chord zithers I've seen the chord sets are more tightly spaced than the melody strings. "Left-handed" autoharps like that one have been made to the present day.

But the result of removing the chord bars on an autoharp or ignoring the chords on a chord zither would be identical.


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Subject: RE: Unusual autoharp technique
From: GUEST,hg
Date: 13 Dec 09 - 01:56 PM

Oh now I see the picture. That is indeed a zither. It is not and has never been an autoharp. The band you see is not from taking the bars off because there were never bars on this instrument. Autoharp is the trade name of Oscar Schmidt and refers to a zither with the automatic chord bars attached to it.

harpgirl


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Subject: RE: Unusual autoharp technique
From: GUEST,hg
Date: 13 Dec 09 - 01:58 PM

Here is a photozither with a map of the chords at the bottom


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Subject: RE: Unusual autoharp technique
From: The Sandman
Date: 13 Dec 09 - 01:59 PM

look, its like removing the fret from a banjo the result is a fretless banjo,it is no longer aa5 string fretted banjo.
remove the bars from an auto harp, it is not an auto harp,its something else,and in this particular case it sounds like the inside of a piano that has been stood under a shower


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Subject: RE: Unusual autoharp technique
From: GUEST,hg
Date: 13 Dec 09 - 02:25 PM

The bars were not removed. It is a zither.


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Subject: RE: Unusual autoharp technique
From: Jack Campin
Date: 13 Dec 09 - 02:29 PM

Autoharp is the trade name of Oscar Schmidt

In American law only, and not in most people's usage anywhere. Probably more instruments were made and labelled as "autoharps" by other manufacturers in the decades before Schmidt registered the word than Schmidt themselves ever made. I'm certainly not about to stop calling my instrument an autoharp on Schmidt's say-so (it was made around 1900 and has a label saying "Müller's Autoharp").

I very much doubt if Schmidt's legalistic marketing chicanery had any force at all in South Africa in the 1940s. Tyson's band could call their instruments whatever they wanted, and we pretty much have to follow them if we want to make sense when talking about their music.

(And if Schmidt don't like it they can get stuffed. This proprietorial attitude to the English language really puts me off ever wanting to own one of their instruments - at least, not without scraping their logos off and putting a Hohner or Yamaha decal on it instead).


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Subject: RE: Unusual autoharp technique
From: GUEST,DonMeixner
Date: 13 Dec 09 - 02:31 PM

Maybe a left handed zither or a reversed photo but it is a zither. I owned one just like this years ago. Four chords on the long side tuned in C - F - G - Am. The chords were strummed with a my left thumb and the melody was played with my right thumb and index fingers.

Don


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Subject: RE: Unusual autoharp technique
From: GUEST,hg
Date: 13 Dec 09 - 03:34 PM

Muller's Auto Harp has an interesting chord set up. ABCDEFGHIJKL


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Subject: RE: Unusual autoharp technique
From: GUEST,hg
Date: 13 Dec 09 - 03:36 PM

I'd like one of these: The circle of fifths is right on the instrument

Muller Auto Harp


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Subject: RE: Unusual autoharp technique
From: M.Ted
Date: 13 Dec 09 - 03:45 PM

Good Soldier Shweik--No need to apologize--I actually have some sense of your musical tastes because I've read your posts over the years and listened to things of yours that you have posted in various places--I also know that you are inclined to listen to things in order to figure out what they're about, rather than strictly for entertainment--so we're good--


As for you, MthGM--check this One person rap with pencils, then try to do it yourself. If you have trouble recreating the sound (particularly that repeating snap sound), it's because you haven't mastered the technique for producing the sound--


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Subject: RE: Unusual autoharp technique
From: M.Ted
Date: 13 Dec 09 - 03:55 PM

Incidentally, the performer is known as Lyric AKA Lyrical God, the piece is called "Let this Beat Ride", the technique is called Penboxing, and he is from South Philly--


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Subject: RE: Unusual autoharp technique
From: PHJim
Date: 14 Dec 09 - 12:31 PM

The photo posted by Guesthg is commonly called a guitar zither. It was one of those instruments, like the ukelin that never really caught on. I have one hanging on the wall in my back room which I tuned up when I first got it, but never really used much. It's been hanging on the wall for about fifteen years now. It comes down only to be dusted. Mine was made by the Oscar Schmidt company.


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Subject: RE: Unusual autoharp technique
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 14 Dec 09 - 01:59 PM

As for you, MthGM--check this One person rap with pencils, then try to do it yourself. If you have trouble recreating the sound (particularly that repeating snap sound), it's because you haven't mastered the technique for producing the sound--

Ted - I didn't say it wasn't a technique; but it's a pencil-tap technique, & doing it on top of a piano would still be a pencil-tap technique, NOT a piano technique, wouldn't it?????


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Subject: RE: Unusual autoharp technique
From: M.Ted
Date: 14 Dec 09 - 05:08 PM

You can hit a cymbal or a snare, or a tom or a cowbell with the same drumsticks, and you'd be playing either the cymbal, the snare, the tom, or the cowbell, not the drumsticks. You don't play the pick, you play the guitar with the pick. And "penboxing" is a technique for using pencils to play rhythms on a desk or tabletop.


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Subject: RE: Unusual autoharp technique
From: M.Ted
Date: 14 Dec 09 - 06:55 PM

I really think this has more to with the prepared piano, and John Cage, than anything else. I have, rest assured, made note of your feelings in my little book, next to my list of Mudcatters who play the ukulele.

Here is something from Mr. Cage that you probably won't like at all, but it fits in with the discussion, owing to the fact that a piano is pounded on--Water Walk


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Subject: RE: Unusual autoharp technique
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 14 Dec 09 - 08:53 PM

Ted - I am glad, I think, to have seen that. But would you think the moments [2 I think] where he plays a single chord on the piano constitute 'piano technique'?

(Interested that you, like me, are a compulsive list keeper. I have an online file for the purpose [soccer goalkeepers, one of which I was in my youth, is one of mine: it includes Pope John-Paul ii, A Conan Doyle, Che Guevara, all 3 Tenors {Carreras completed amateur forms for Barcelona}, et al]. I have not contribd to thread on topic as it is in the past; but I *used* to play uke-banjo years ago b4 I acquired a proper banjo, so u might wish to add me to that list. Or not? Up 2U.)


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Subject: RE: Unusual autoharp technique
From: M.Ted
Date: 15 Dec 09 - 07:48 AM

As per "technique", it does, most definitely. If you have ever played a composed piece that required that featured a stab or hit in your part, you know how hard it is to get that single sound exactly right--as a trumpet player, I agonized over the penultimate sound in this piece Sleigh Ride , which also features the sound of a whip crack, played on the slapstick--if it doesn't come at exactly the right time, and if it doesn't sound like a whip crack, the piece is dead, so technique is everything--


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Subject: RE: Unusual autoharp technique
From: M.Ted
Date: 15 Dec 09 - 07:48 AM

Oh, and you made the "list"--


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