traditional instrument spectrum

traditional instrument spectrum

Harp, Pipes, Fiddle, Whistle,Flute. What next in the spectrum desirability,
I think we groan when that hourglass shaped flight case which conceals that instrument of torture the djembe appears in the session?

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VAF

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Vernacular Architecture Forum?

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I’ll give you a clue, bk: the first word’s "Vulcan".

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LOL!
I had a prostate biopsy recently, and the instrument resembled a VAF!

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TMI !

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Sorry if I offended anyone!

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Assuming that, by harp, you mean harmonica, an excellent list. 😀

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its a long time since i saw a harp at a session

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Very good Harp player at the Royal Standard session in Cambridge a few years ago.
great harp (harmonica) at the Harp session in Glasbury in Powys, He’s also one of the excellent bodhran players I mentioned earlier!

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I never figured out why they called the blues harmonica a ‘blues harp’. It’s the harp bit I don’t get. Duh.

And I see someone is trying to sell a VAF :

"FORSALE: VULCAN ARSE FLUTE- A Selamderen 13 hole with D#/ Gnat integrated drone system. There is a 4 string regulator and a triple fipple with five sympathetic blow back valves tuned to a chord of Bnat diminished. I have been using a Ferengi style anuspiece as Humans are more similar to Ferengi than Vulcans in that area of anatomy- ladies may prefer the Cardassian style anuspiece. By using proper petomanic technique I can get a full chromatic five octaves out of it (but absolutely no D’s at all). Its natural mode/ key is, of course, K blunt demented seventeenth, the traditional Vulcan tuning."

I think he might be mixing up his Cardassian with his Kardashian.

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No bottom D?

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(Thread’s gone mad. Someone’s just put the words "excellent" and "bodhran" next to each other. 🙁 )

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Why is a harmonica called a harp? Here’s Pat Missin:

"In many parts of the American South, the harmonica was popularly called mouth harp, French harp or just plain harp, a term now used by blues harmonica players the world over. The term is partly inspired by the Aeolian harp, a stringed instrument that is left outdoors to be played by the wind, whose name was taken from Aeolus, the god of the wind. Early names for the harmonica were Aeolina, Aeolian and Mund-Aeoline, which stressed this link with the Aeolian harp. As the earliest harmonica-like instruments were little more than a few reeds attached to a reedplate that was held to the players lips, the resemblance to a harp was quite pronounced. The introduction to Instructions for the Aeolina, or Mund-Harmonica, published in New York in 1830 proudly boasts:

‘THE AEOLINA from the originality of its construction and the beauty of its effects, is a decided novelty in the musical art; the expressive sweetness of its tones, the richness of the harmonies it renders, and the contrasts of its exulting swells and dying cadences, realize the poetical descriptions of the harp of Aeolus and greatly surpass its practical results; while the regularity of its scale gives it advantages of the most important kind, which that instrument does not possess. From the close resemblance of its tones to those of this harp of the winds and from the analogous circumstances under which the sound is produced in both instances, the name of the Aeolina has been derived.’

The word harp has also been used to describe many instruments other than the stringed harp, including the Jew’s Harp (also called Jaw Harp or Mouth Harp and often known in some parts of Germany by the name MundHarmonika) and the Aeols Harfe (literally air harp). .."

More on Pat Missin’s website under FAQ. It’s a goldmine!

"~ a vibrating tongue of metal." ~ hmmmmm! 😉

The jaw harp or Jew’s harp also is the same principal as the harmonica, a vibrating tongue of metal…

~ a free reed excited by wind… 😀

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"I think we groan when that hourglass shaped flight case which conceals that instrument of torture the djembe appears in the session?…"

Not at the sessions I go to, because the player is very good on it, and knows when less is more and all the normal session etiquette stuff.

He is also the scene’s sole Irishman!

That is to say, from Ireland. Others are Irish beneath the skin, but have grown up as Geordies, Smoggies and other versions of the North-East human fauna.

Perhaps one day the Vatican will spend some of its fortune on restoring them, scrubbing away the deforming grime and restoring them to their pristine image, as per Michaelangelo’s paintings in the Sistine chapel. It will no doubt conclude the restoration by giving them truly dazzling loincloths.

Fortunately, I would not qualify for this 🙂.

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"More on Pat Missin’s website under FAQ. It’s a goldmine!"

Of misinformation….good name, it seems.

"Aeols Harfe (literally air harp)" Erm….no. Literally (in German Äolsharfe or Aeolsharfe - either spelling a compound word) it translates as "Æolian harp". After "Æolus" (German "Aiolos"), who was the supposed god of the wind (as touched on by Pat Missin-formation earlier). Most common word for ‘air’ in German is, of course, ‘Luft’.

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OK, a goldmine of information about anything important to do with harmonicas. I’ll leave it at that. If you email Pat with news of his error, he’ll change it. Or put you right!

Steve (strictly non-German speaker)

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[*The jaw harp or Jew’s harp also is the same principal as the harmonica, a vibrating tongue of metal…*]

Only difference being, you don’t get much sound when you suck a Jew’s harp 🙂

Grossest scene I’ve witnessed : drunk guitarist at open-air event persuades harmonica player to let him borrow his harp. Guitarist takes a bite of a Cornish pastie, chews a bit, then plays on the borrowed harmonica.

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"OK, a goldmine of information about anything important to do with harmonicas"

If you go into a shop in Denmark and ask for a ‘harmonika’, you’ll come out with an accordion.

"I’ll leave it at that. If you email Pat with news of his error, he’ll change it. Or put you right!"

I wouldn’t waste my time. He’d have to put a good few Germans "right", too. Look "Aeolsharfe" or "Äolsharfe" up in any German dictionary (and any dictionary worth its salt would give the etymology) and you’ll see how wrong the guy is.

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The Traditional Instrument Spectrum sounds rather akin to the various spectra of disability or sociopathy one cannot help reading about, willy-nilly, in the papers etc. I do not like reading them, because they are gloomy and I invariably conclude I am somewhere on them. But perhaps my take is misguided.

It occurs to me that they are gloomy because okayness seems to be the capacity to go to Tesco and back without committing a crime, getting oneself sectioned or incurring a serious accident out of lack of capacity to recognise hazards. This presents okayness and normality as something particularly bleak and dull. And everything else is sub that, somewhere down this or that spectrum.

And I scratch my head, and think. And I notice that some people in the ‘somewhere down this or that spectrum’ are, actually, quite happy, their impairments (actual or supposed) an irrelevance to this.

And I think, great.

And then I have another think, about the Traditional Instrument Spectrum.

It is this:

It exists. Depending from the raft of instruments that sound well, is a tail of instruments whose sound from level to level is one of increasing dreadfulness. The ‘sound’ here may be a product of the player, the nature of the instrument, or a combination of these and other factors - anyway, there it is.

And the more dreadful it is, the happier the player is!

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Hey weejo. Stop fretting. Pat (who I do not know personally) has produced a massive website that is an amazing resource for harmonica players. Amazing resources usually contain errors here and there (read yer bible lately? 😀) Just because he’s allegedly cocked up summat or other in German about a peripheral issue (I mean, no-one died because of a bit of German mistranslation about harmonica history fer chrissake!) doesn’t mean you have to diss the bloke’s whole output. Did he once buy you a dodgy pint or something?

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" Pat (who I do not know personally) has produced a massive website that is an amazing resource for harmonica players."

It may well be a resource for moothie players. However, the man seems to pass himself off as a "researcher" and a "historian" - it says on his website:

[Welcome to www.patmissin.com, the internet home of harmonica player, teacher, technician and historian Pat Missin, bringing you a whole heap of information about the harmonica and related musical instruments.]


"Just because he’s allegedly cocked up summat or other in German about a peripheral issue (I mean, no-one died because of a bit of German mistranslation about harmonica history fer chrissake!) doesn’t mean you have to diss the bloke’s whole output. Did he once buy you a dodgy pint or something? "

You’ve missed the point. For someone who claims to be a reseacher and a historian, you’d expect his writing to reflect his ‘profession’. You’d expect some kind of referencing to his claims - " The term is partly inspired by the Aeolian harp,..Early names for the harmonica were Aeolina, Aeolian and Mund-Aeoline" etc. - What is that based on? Buschmann’s "Aeoline" wasn’t a moothie, at any rate. If you wonder why I should find this annoying, let me quote Pat Missin:

[When I first started with the harmonica, I was amazed at how hard it was to find useful information about it. Things are a lot better these days, but there’s still a lot of misinformation about. Especially when it comes to writing about the instrument’s history, it seems like most people simply repeat what they’ve read elsewhere else, mistakes and all. I hope my website goes some way to fixing that situation.]

http://sd2cx1.webring.org/l/rd?ring=harp;id=23;url=http%3A%2F%2Fdfwhoot%2Eblogspot%2Eco%2Euk%2F2010%2F02%2Fharping%2Don%2Dpat%2Dmissin%2Ehtml

Let’s not forget that the passage you quoted from his website was in response to a question as to how the moothie got to be called a harp. You "repeated what you read elsewhere".
I’m not "dissing his whole output", rather just pointing out one of his errors (and there are more in that passage). If there are some glaringly obvious errors in a piece, then it does follow that you might take the rest with a pinch of salt. When the guy describes himself as a "historian" it does make it rather amusing. The finer points (like German grammar and etymology) are important if you want to be taken seriously in that "profession".

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Hmm…looking at the man’s website, it becomes clear how mixed up he is.

He is relying on adverts and catalogues. He assumes that the moothie is known as an "Aeolina" or "Aeolin", yet seems oblivious to the fact that Buschmann is credited with the invention of the word "Aeoline" (which could be pronounced "aeolina" and Anglicised to aeolin - it was a free reed keyboard jobbie). The other reference to "Mund-Aeoline" [sic] would tell you that this is much the way "harmonica" came to being (where there was a distinction between "Mundharmonika and Handharmonika).
He puts forward a case for Essbach’s "French Harp" being a candidate for the origin of the moothie being known as a harp, but (it might be there, his site isn’t that well organised) doesn’t mention Christian Messner’s manufacture of moothies in Trossingen (c 1832) going under the name of "Mundharfe" (mouth harp). As for his reasoning behind the "Aeolsharfe" being a free reed instrument, this is based on a single advert for a free reed contraption being marketed under that name. It doesn’t take much to establish that "Aeolsharfe" is a German word for the conventional Æolian harp (he uses capitals erratically in German compounds as well - "MundHarfe" etc).

I don’t know why I find this so irritating - perhaps it’s his own claim of him being a historian and waffling on about misinformation.

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I can’t see anything wrong with Pat Missin’s translation: ‘aeolisharfe’ is a compounf word which refersa specifically to the instrument we call Aeolian Harp, Wind Harp, or Air Harp. So any of those terms can legitimately called a literal translation.

Even if you split the word, ‘aeolis’ translates to aeolian, which whilst its root might lie with Aeolis, its meaning is "pertaining to, acted on or by, or due to wind or air." So ‘Air Harp is still a legitimate literal translation.

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Don’t start, Skreech. It’s not a "legitimate literal translation". You haven’t even got his "German" word right. He calls it "Aeols Harfe", when, in fact it is the compound "Aeolsharfe". The literal translation is "Aeolian harp", whether you can stretch the word "Aeolian" to mean "acted on by the wind" it is not a literal translation. The literal translation is "harp of Aiolos". Look up "literal".

Moreover, the Aeoline might even have been an invention of Bernhard Eschenbach. Whatever, it wasn’t a name originally applied to a moothie, but a plagiarism used for marketing.

The guy is not the best historian I’ve come across.

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Should read "literal translation is "Æolian harp" or "harp of Aiolos".

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"Even if you split the word, ‘aeolis’ translates to aeolian,"

Different "Aeolian", in that context. "Aeolis" was an area of Asia Minor. As said earlier, this concerns Aeolus or Aiolos - Αἴολος even.

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It’s all Greek to me!

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Sheesh. I wish I hadn’t mentioned it now. Helium has been turned into lead. 🙁

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HARmonica
HARp

They sort of sound the same

Pat Missin’s website is like most websites. It contains information, some of it is useful, some of it is true….

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some of it is useful, some of it is true….

Some of it is utter sheight.

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"Helium has been turned into lead."

Just pointing out that the goldmine may contain iron pyrites.

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ARSENal

ARSENe Wenger the Arsenal manager

Who knows what it all means?

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I was recently at a session in Brixton and a chap played a small djembe most skillfully, appropriately and musically.
I was once at a session in Wimbledon and the small group of people playing very good Trad Irish were playing silver flute, viola, baritone ukulele, 5 string banjo and a trumpet*. Just goes to show, again, that it’s the player and not the instrument.

Also ‘box’ seems to be a distinct absence from the ‘spectrum of desirability’ above.

*there was no trumpet, it actually was half a pint of winkles…

You can’t beat Gracie Fields…

I took me harp to a party but nobody asked me to play
The others were jolly and ‘earty but I wasn’t feelin’ so gay
They might have said play us a tune we can sing
But somehow I don’t think they noticed the thing
I took me harp to a party but nobody asked me to play
So I took the darned thing away
They asked Mrs Morgan to play her mouth-organ
And somebody else did a dance
They Let Mrs Carter perform a sonata
But I wasn’t given a chance
A north country person called Sandy McPherson
Played bagpipes and took off his coat
While both the Miss Fawcetts bust out of their corsets
In trying to take a top note
But I took me harp to a party, nobody asked me to play
The others were jolly and ‘earty but I wasn’t feelin’ so gay
I felt so ashamed at not strikin’ a note
That I tried to hide the thing under me coat
I took me harp to a party but nobody asked me to play
So I took the darned thing away
They sang Home Sweet Home and The Banks of Loch Lomond
And All the King’s Horses, then Trees
While nephews and nieces kept playin’ their pieces
And spreadin’ their jam on the keys
A daughter called Lena, played her concertina
We all played ridiculous games
‘Til old Mr Dyer, set his whiskers on fire
And a fire engine played on the flames
But I took me harp to a party but nobody asked me to play
So I took the darned thing away!

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If it helps unravel the harmonika mystery any, over here in the States where we coined the term Blues Harp, Hohner is a very common harmonika brand. Hohners are so common, I didn’t even know anybody else even made harmonikas until I was 35.

…and Hohners were made in Germany

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BLooZ harmonica playing- the most unmusical noise in the world…

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"and Hohners were made in Germany"

In Trossingen, in fact - from around 1857 - where Christian Messner had already been turning them out in l fairly large numbers for some years, to the extent that in Trossingen, the instrument was apparently known as a ‘Mundharfe".
Aiolos didn’t get a look in.

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Where did that stray ‘l’ appear from?

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is ‘mundharfe’ german for "mouth harp" by any chance? It almost doesn’t matter because over here if we heard some german immigrant calling them a ‘mundharfe’ we’d say "this fella called it a mouth harp" when somebody asked us what we were doing there blowing into that metal thing

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"is ‘mundharfe’ german for "mouth harp" by any chance? "

Yep. See an earlier post.

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Are you sure it isn’t German for Yew’s Harp?

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so not to change the subject, but in the realm of stringed session wrecking machines, what would folks rather see show up?

Bouzouki? Banjo? Guitar? Ukelele? …Tenor Ukelele???

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A home-made bass banjo showed up three times at our session—made from a bass drum cut shallow, with a length of 2x4 for a neck. On the third appearance (after the heaviest of hints, during the first and second ones) we agreed to tell him that he was welcome to attend our session—but that the monster he had created was not welcome, at all, at all.

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Whilst ‘ukelele’ is an accepted variant, the more generally accepted spelling is ‘ukulele’.

Tenor banjo is surely a main stream Trad instrument!
‘Zouk, although also mainstream now, is always a bit strummy: all plec and string noise and no real tone or notes.
Whereas the baritone uke is perfect for backing, the tenor and concert/ treble ukes are a bit plunka plunky for Trad Irish. It’s the re-entrant tuning.
Six sring devil is always dreadful! Esp the DADGAD botherers!

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John Galt "A home-made bass banjo showed up three times at our session made from a bass drum cut shallow".

Was it made from a Lambeg bass drum, John?

That would be SOME banjo!

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The zouk is really a mixed media sculpture of a set of tonsils.

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[*’Zouk, although also mainstream now, is always a bit strummy: all plec and string noise and no real tone or notes*]

Isn’t that the predominant sound at close range? Like a fiddle can sound scratchy and scrapy when you sit right next to one?

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The perfect session instrument — Octave mandolin/mandola. Come on then, let’s have it!

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"Are you sure it isn’t German for Yew’s Harp?"

It’s German for ‘mouth harp’. It has been applied to the ‘jaw’s harp’ and the moothie.

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What about ‘gob iron’ (for harmonica)? I’ve only ever heard it mentioned on here, in past threads. I can’t remember the context, whether the term was used affectionately or pejoratively.

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homemade banjo with a 2x4 for a neck? Sort of makes the 6 string devil seem rather harmless, doesn’t it

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When I got my first harmonica, at the age of eight (that would be 1955, in the American South), every adult I knew called it a "French harp." I didn’t hear "blues harp" until about twenty years later.

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A rose by any other name… 😀

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He’s got some nice sisters. Sod the rose…

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A old guy in New Orleans claimed that the term French Harp as used in the South was a term of derision, because of the French-speaking descendants of the Acadians who had been relocated to Louisiana (aka Cajuns) not being able to afford anything better (aka ‘a real instrument’).
Now, whether or not you can believe everything an old guy says in New Orleans, that is another question!

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Or everything an old guy says on the Internet… 🙂

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Harmonica= tin sandwich

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French Vulcan arse tin sandwiches