Friday, February 20, 2009

Tongue Slap, Tongue Switch Shimmer, Vamping.

Isn't it great when you embrace a new interest to find it has a whole new language all of it's own. The examples in the title is a sample of the terminology which is used by players of the humble harmonica. They have some great descriptive terms for the way a harmonica can be played. Heaven only knows who created these terms, but as the harmonica (or Blues Harp as we players call it) has been going for many years, the history of it's own terminology could go back as far as when the harmonica was first taken back to the US by the soldiers from the first world war. It was embraced by the early blues officianados due to it's low price and ability to be played with feeling. I have put a little sample of me playing a harmonica here for your entertainment. In this example I use the various techniques in the title. In effect I am playing the main melody and accompanying myself at the same time. It takes a bit of tongue gymnastics to get it right and I haven't yet, but I'm improving all the time. It's not a blues tune, it's more like a folk tune of some sort.

Anyway, here's today's painting.

Early Morning Sunlight Shining through the Trees.

I hope you didn't mind the diversion away from painting but it is still art and there are many parallels. Colours = notes. Composition = composition. Contrast = hard and soft. etc. It's surprising how many beautiful haunting melodies use so very few notes, like a limited palette. A few notes or colours used wisely is more beneficial to the artwork than using all the colours in your palette or notes on the piano.


  1. It's all art, whether it's music or painting. Nice post.

  2. This painting wants to pull me right into that warm sunny spot = beautifully painted!


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