From: Douglas Tate <;>;
Date: 16 Nov 95 08:27:43 EST
Subject: Punchy chromatic

Winslow replies to Kurt thusly:<;<;Chromatics can be played every bit as loud
as diatonics, but it's a matter of control - you can't punch them hard
like you can a diatonic, or they'll refuse to speak. Work on playing a
note, then increasing your wind volume and your body resonance once the
note is started. Then work on starting the note that way, without hitting
it hard.>;>;

You can punch a chromatic hard if you really want to by setting the reeds
correctly, main problem is that you limit the absolute volume range of the
instrument. There is a setting which allows very quiet starting of notes and
yet allowing a quite astounding howl (if such is your pomegranate juice).
I teach playing loudly with lowish set reads a different way to Winslow.
be an idea to try each and see which suits YOU best.

Try a light cough, the type you do when clearing your throat unobtrusively
type which comes from 80 cigs a day and 19 nights on the tiles drinking is
the right approach) If you find this fairly easy (most Homo sapiens do) try
playing G in hole 7 (#270) with this very light cough starting the note.
you need to do is stop the cough action halfway through and keep breathing at
the same level. (ie, don't let the 'throat' close at the end of the cough).
The action of the cough is to kick the reed into movement and then support
movement with a steady air pressure. With a little work you can start notes
ALL volume levels in this way. To my mind this particular technique is
fundemental and allows loud and soft accurate playing. I am speaking from
'classical' point of view but it is well adapted to most styles. Here we go
again ..... it is also a contributing factor in lengthening the life of a
as there is no undue pressure exerted.

As an aside, I have just received a copy of American Harmonica Newsletter.
There are some very good articles in there this month including a very
provoking piece about chromatics. If you don't know the address get in touch
with Phil Lloyd (

Douglas T

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