From: Winslow Yerxa <;76450.32~ompuserve.com>;
Date: 08 Nov 95 16:58:07 EST
Subject: Diaphragm Bending (was C-spot)

TO: internet:harp~ARPLY.com

Mic'l Will asks further about "gut" bending:

When you play, do you normally play with a "large
resonance chamber" and breathe primarily from the
diaphram, as opposed to the lungs? Would this mean
that you are essentially bending ~naturally~ from the
gut, at least somewhat? I'm still concerned about the
advice offered in a previous post that a sore throat
from a lot of bending is because he wasn't bending
right, it needed to be from "down here" at the belly
level. Not to say that that advice is any better than
yours.

I don't think that "normal" K-spot or glug-spot (my word for
bending with a glottal constriction) will cause a sore throat. It
never has for me. Even when I've had a bad cold, I've never
experienced discomfort caused by playing the harmonica, although
the cold sometimes made it inconvenient.

As to good chest cavity resonance (including ribs, lungs,
diaphragm and whatever else might be involved) contributing to
bending, I'm doubtful. Johno's research indicates that the
resonant chamber *forward* of the C-spot - i.e. in the mouth and
maybe upper throat - is what causes bending, not whatever lies
behind, any more than the part of the fretted guitar string between your
finger and the nut directly influences the pitch between your
finger and the bridge. Possibly less so, because the remainder of
the guitar string has a potential vibrating length (does this
indirectly influence the pitch - or is it just the thickness and
tension of the string itself, independent of any non-vibrating
portion of its length?), whereas the open respiratory tract,
again according to Johno, has no specific resonant pitch. It may
be possible that there is a sort of "leverage" effect from having
good chest cavity resonance, but I doubt it. Popper bends as well
as anyone, despite his lack of resonant tone.

On the other hand, breathing from deep down is always a good idea
in general, unless you're heaving big gusts while playing so fast
that they slow you down - but then you can always breathe
shallowly from full lungs (the good old diaphragm).

To quote the medical advice offered in N.F. Simpson's play, "A
Resounding Tinkle" - "Breathe. Breathe all the time. And stay off
strong poisons of all kinds."

Winslow Yerxa
Harmonica Information Press
Z
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