North Carolina harmonica players like Gwen Foster, Francum Braswell, and Dave McCarn took straight harp harmonica to new levels with their “raggy” styles. Here are my picks for the Top 10 best American Civil War songs. Ernest Stoneman took fiddler Emmet Lundy with him on a trip to New York City where they recorded two harmonica and fiddle duets with “Piney Woods Girl” and “The Long Eared Mule.” In 1926, he recorded harmonica with fiddle with “Fiddler Joe” Samuels, Hattie Stoneman, and Kahle Brewer. I even tried to infiltrate them, posing as a repentant child returning home from Rumspringa so as to unearth the ancient mysteries of the harmonica. The harmonica by now was played by everyone from paupers to presidents. He wasn’t a star, no known radio play, no newspaper mentions, and made a short trip to Atlanta to record his virtuosity in six pieces for Okeh in 1930 before returning to home life and dying four years later. Amazing article, I didn’t know of many of these guys and I’ve studied quite a bit. At Bristol, George Reneau of The Blue Ridge Duo recorded a few fiddle tunes like “Arkansas Traveler,” “Turkey in the Straw” (with dance calling by Gene Austin of “My Blue Heaven” fame), and the early 1900s pop song “Casey Jones.” Jimmy Smith recorded a medley of southern melodies and a “straight harp” raggy piece called “Mountain Blues.”. I wanted a fiddle, but my father was too poor to buy it, and when I heard of you I thought maybe you would send me one.” As was common at the time, a fifth grade education coincided with the latter years of school, thus explaining his attendance at the “High school”. Meanwhile, a fever of nationalism must have been sweeping the nation because the United States was growing its own crop of harmonica virtuosos, including African American pianist Blind Boone (b. Terrific. This completes the tour of the vibrant life of the harmonica in old-time music. 171 Chestnut Street, has it for sale, at the price of three dollars and a half.” That’s about $94 in today’s dollars, adjusting for inflation. Great stuff! Stevie Wonder even played the harmonica in some of his recorded songs. In addition to being a fine harmonica player and multi-faceted musician, singer, and comedian, Pete recorded commercially more than any other contemporary African American, with over 150 hit tracks. A draw is incidated with a number by itself. Harmonica made its debut in 1894 on-screen in “The Passing Show”: a 25-second scene with three African Americans dancing, one of whom was simultaneously playing the harmonica. E.F. “Poss” Acree recorded the “Missouri Waltz” and the “Chicken Reel,” Oliver Sims recorded “Hop About Ladies,” several from Henry Whitter like “Peek-A-Boo”. Herr Zirom was another harmonica playing import of P.T. These are the songs that will make your cowboy harmonica playing sound authentic. Alternate tunings are well utilized on the stringed instruments because, when taken to their extremes, those tunings produce distinctive and impressive abilities. Harmonicas are such small and versatile instruments that they are easily overlooked for playing music. There I found nestled deep in the blues section the compact disc “Harmonica Masters” from Yazoo. So in 1904, the same year as the first old-time harmonica playing was recorded commercially by Pete Hampton, some millions of harmonicas landed in the Christmas stockings of the century’s youngest generation. Acoustical and Physical Dynamics of the Diatonic Harmonica, ‘Pocket Full Of Soul’ Explores the Harmonica’s History, Harmonicas Are Hooty, Wheezy, Twangy, and Tooty. Some exceptions exist. The harmonica was invented in the 1820s as an aid for tuning pianos. These influences can all be heard in the playing of the harmonica masters of the 1920s and 30s. Dr. Bate played on the Opry until his death in 1936, Bailey played on the Opry until he was controversially fired in 1941, and Herman Crook played breakdowns on the harmonica on the Opry for over six decades. Quite a few old-time harmonica solos were also recorded. They both play well considering their tender age.” [Wichita Daily Call, Wichita KS, 26 May 1887]. . Licht, “Harmonica Magic:  Virtuoso Display in American Folk Music,” Ethnomusicology, Vol. Dr. Humphrey Bate and his Possum Hunters did have a powerful fiddle player on roughly half of their recordings. Give me a shout if you need any help please. A vagrant with a harmonica is worth a whole lot more than a vagrant without one, submitting Bob Dylan as evidence. Other artists capturing American life including Thomas Hart Benton and Norman Rockwell often featured harmonica in their art. At the turn of the twentieth century when Grand Ole Opry stars like DeFord Bailey and Herman Crook were still young children, the harmonica was “probably the most popular musical instrument,” and in 1904 “twenty million harmonicas were imported into this country. Musicians like Little Walter, Bob Dylan and John Lennon have played it, among many others. I have the dbl 24 key harmonica too that I would like to learn how to play. The harmonica was the first device that could promise a thousand songs in your pocket. DeFord Bailey used to go on tour with Roy Acuff and Bill Monroe because his name would draw the crowds. But they weren’t stolen for money, since by then they were often sold brand-new for less than $2.50 in today’s dollars. It should be the same all the way through, ’cause people that comes to see the Grand Ole Opry, they’re coming to see – what they expect to see – is the old-time music. I need to learn some more tunes and head down to the Floyd Country store jam! Here Craig Judelman gives answers to some of the most common questions oldtime fiddlers have. Some musicians learn a special technique called “vocaling.” To perform this type of playing, you would actually speak words or sing into the mouthpiece. Pete Hampton, an African American (b. While it is impossible to determine whether Pete learned these techniques from his elders and peers growing up in Kentucky, it is known that all of the harmonica techniques used in this recording were ubiquitous across racial lines and geographic boundaries. Others eventually caught on, and they began mass-producing harmonicas for both personal play and theater performances. FOLK SONGS vs. As a child in the 1870s he entered the music business, playing from town to town with his trio: Boone on harmonica accompanied by a tambourine player and a triangle player. 04. of 10. While Ralph Peer was busy setting the foundation for the Cracker-Barrel country-music industry, the harmonica was reaching its peak in popularity in the homes and hands of millions of real “folk.”. Unfortunately Lundy was upset that the harmonica was too loud in the recording and never made more commercial recordings, but he was recorded in Galax by Lomax in 1941. Another master, who played from the 1850s to the mid-1880s from St. Louis to Boston, was Herr Moritz Wallach. BOB DYLAN'S SONGS HARMONICA GUITAR 1964 VINTAGE SONG BOOK NOTATION CHORD LYRICS . The invisible magic of separating melody and rhythm on this simple folk instrument was revealed to the audience. It was invented in the early 1820s and reached the basic format we know today by 1825. Sousa’s popularity was in part the inspiration for the branding of the most popular harmonica model of all time: the Hohner Marine Band. The mund-harmonica, or mouth-harmonica, is also capable, in his hands, of performing a duet, and by means of some skillful method of tonguing, he gives a staccato bass accompaniment to some of his melodies.”. The recording generation of players grew up in the heyday of ragtime, early blues, and trad jazz, but would still be well rooted in the oral traditions of their communities. “It has changed a lot, but it shouldn’t have changed. The modern harmonica is thought to have been invented in Germany in the mid-1800s. The smaller one plays the banjo and he does not look much larger than a good-sized baby. What strings should I use? Thanks Seth for all the rare clips and information on the players whose music was preserved in those recordings for us to be inspired by now. Ernest Stoneman recalled that, as a child, “I wore out a wheelbarrow load of harmonicas trying to learn to play them.” It was estimated that there were solidly 13 million harmonica “players” around this time, and that number rose to nearly 40 million by the 1960s [M.S. Between the three of them (Dr. Bate and his Possum Hunters, DeFord Bailey, and The Crook Brothers) 21 78-rpm recordings were issued 1928. In terms of raw talent, power, drive, and rhythm with a solo harmonica, no one was better than Kyle Wooten of Lumber City, Georgia. Due to its affordability and sheer quantity, however, it’s pretty safe to assume there were more fiddle tunes being played on harmonica than on the fiddle at some point in our history. 1” Jones, who played fiddle tunes in the cross position while playing guitar, singing, and humming into, presumably, a stovepipe. In 1929, Spouse proved that even a sweet, but boring tune like Old Folks at Home could win a national harmonica contest given enough variations and speedy jig-time conversions. 8tracks radio. Hopefully a new crop of old-timey harmonica players can repopulate the genre, moderating my ever-growing suspicion that the instrument is simply too difficult for old-time musicians to learn. This article has mostly focused on standard tuning in old-time harmonica because, in my opinion, it is the only good way to compete on volume with a strong fiddler. These books typically include cowboy favorites that have been around since the 1800s. He played “Home, Sweet Home” so well that the old veterans fairly raised the roof with their applause. A chromatic harmonica uses a sliding bar either on the mouthpiece or on the back of the instrument to direct airflow across the desired reed. Listeners, omitting the first commercial recording of harmonica in history would mean diminishing Pete Hampton’s lived experience as he came of age in the peak popularity of the “Coon Song” genre. Hotz company) and was one of six people known to be recorded playing the quills (a precursor to the harmonica predominantly played in African American tradition). Perhaps one of the first harmonicas for sale in this country was advertised in a Philadelphia newspaper as such: “There has been brought to this city, from Paris, a new musical instrument, recently invented in Switzerland, and called Harmonica. ballad and in the creation of local songs. His favorite contemporary old-time harmonica player is Dave Rice of Ohio via Oklahoma. or Best Offer +C $22.89 shipping estimate. Thanks so much for the free the free Christmas music. He also includes a refresher on the finer points oldtime bowing, applicable to many other tunes as well. Paperback. This was also the first appearance of African Americans in the moving pictures. The Great Harmonica Songbook: 45 Songs Specially Arranged for Diatonic Harmonica. I enjoyed this super informative article and all the sample clips of the players considered ‘old-time’ as opposed to ‘blues’. Francum Braswell was also a talented artist and drew a scene of a square dance with a harmonica player accompanied by a fiddler. In the old-time music world, all one needs is a single piece of anecdotal evidence from a ten-year old to prove that the fiddle was barely available to the poor people of the nation: “I am in the fifth grade and go to the High school building. His songs have been recorded by Bob Dylan, Peter Case, and John Hammond Jr. Jefferson's crucial early work has been collected on "King of the Country Blues." He passed on that style to me used for playing song melodies. Dr. Bate, the “Dean” of The Grand Ole Opry, would also make the first appearance on WSM (on a show that would later be renamed The Grand Ole Opry), followed by DeFord Bailey and The Crook Brothers band, a string band featuring duet harmonicas with banjo and two guitars. The fiddle is, of course, the main instrument in old time music. The musician places the mouth on the mouthpiece over specific holes to play desired notes. C $63.80. My teacher told me of you [Santa] the other day. The harmonica and fiddle were only recorded together once for Dill Pickle Rag, though never playing at the same time, likely due to the unique melodic variations each invented. There were also plenty of post cards, cabinet cards, and other media showing harmonica as a part of family making music. Purchase a simple 10-hole diatonic harmonica in the key of C. You will also want to purchase a couple of campfire songbooks. $16.99. That’s the way it started out, and it’s not supposed to be a change in it.”  – Herman Crook, 1974, Old-time is like the Amish community of music with its baked-in resistance to change (outside of Ithaca and the recent adoption of plucked upright double bass). A follow-on article ought to detail its decline and the attempts to maintain the tradition: from the Great Depression to field recordings and contemporary players. Absolute Beginners - Harmonica Hal Leonard Corp. 4.4 out of 5 stars 990. Also, the curve on the cover plate and slightly smaller size might make it feel strange to some players. The Great Harmonica Songbook: 45 Songs Specially Arranged for Diatonic Harmonica Hal Leonard Corp. 4.3 out of 5 stars 77. Auld Lang Syne Battle Hymn of the Republic Big Rock Candy Mountain Blue Moon Blueberry Hill Camptown Races by Stephen Foster Clementine Dixie Dueling Banjos Danny Boy by Fred E. Weatherly El Condor Pasa Puff The Magic Dragon by Peter Paul and Mary Jingle Bells Hoochie Coochie Man by Unknown Whiskey In The Jar Fly me to the Moon We Wish You a Merry Christmas Swing Low, Sweet Chariot by Harry Thacker Burleigh Greensleeves Oh Susana Sweet Home Chicago White Christmas by U… Enjoy!--Hey all. Barnum’s menagerie in the mid 1860s. So you don’t have to hunt on the YouTubes, the superlative prose here is supported by 26 of the most relevant recorded examples. Spouse as an example of sonorous excellence without syncopation. Ralph Peer relied upon Stoneman’s fame and relative fortune ($3600/year) to attract talent to Bristol Tennessee, the site of the “Big Twang”, where the Carter Family and Jimmie Rodgers made themselves discoverable. 211-221]. At first, he played harmonica duets with his brother for six years and then, when his brother left the band to become a police officer, Herman incorporated a fiddle into the band to share the melody line. Let’s start with a bit of history, written by winners and people of authority and high moral standing in their communities. The mouthpiece of the harmonica helps the musician by making blowing and drawing air through the reeds more comfortable. Paperback. The term “cross harp” wasn’t defined until the 1960s in an effort to taxonomize harmonica playing to set “blues” playing apart from standard, “straight harp” hillbilly music. A harmonica consists of an outer case made out of plastic, wood, or metal called the “comb.” Inside the small case sit reeds that vibrate when the musician blows or draws air through the 10 holes on the edge of the instrument. Bountiful will be afflicted to-night, and if the troupe succeed in getting out of that settlement alive, they will persecute Sandy next week. Sousa’s marches would be booming in their ears as well. That drove the industry to economically-disadvantaged parts of Europe, where workers shifted back and forth between working in traditional agriculture and taking industrial jobs. Some variation of this mouth organ dates back approximately 1,000 years to Asia. Others include The Blue Ridge Mountaineers (Clarence McCormick), The Blue Ridge Entertainers (Gwen Foster), Gid Tanner and his Skillet Lickers (Fate Norris), Luke Highnight’s Ozark Strutters (Luke Highnight), The Red Fox Chasers (Bob Cranford), The Floyd County Ramblers (Walter Boone), the Aiken County Stringband (unknown harmonica player), Herschel Brown & His Washboard Band (unknown), the Carolina Ramblers String Band (unknown), the Cherokee Ramblers (Skinny Anglin), Da Costa Woltz’s Southern Broadcasters (Price Goodson), and Richard Cox & His National Fiddlers (unknown). The two decades following this saw some harmonica recorded when artists were still flirting with the idea that the instrument could be taken seriously by real musicians. . The original intent of the instrument was to use it as a pitch pipe in conjunction with other instruments. He never parted from his harmonica playing during those years and “organized a minstrel company in the regiment” to entertain the troops [The Music Trade Review, 1911]. That’s not an easy thing to accomplish, but speaks to the versatility of the instrument in this genre as well as its popularity at that time. His playing is said to be remarkable, and the house of his parents is overrun with callers who come to hear him. by Hal Leonard Corp. 4.3 out of 5 stars 78. A lot of people do not think that these little wind instruments can play actual chords, or full, unaccompanied songs for that matter. In 1879, an article from Girard, Kansas notes such a scene: “Gay Times in Jail – For about two days last week the little jail back of the court house was filled to its utmost capacity. Place the other hand over the harmonica to make a tight seal with both hands. One was African American Sam “Stovepipe No. This effect can be repeated and controlled to have rhythm on, off, and between the beats of a simple or syncopated melody. C $9.95. THE BLUES. The first harmonica and fiddle duet on record was recorded in 1925. 24, No. For example, "3+" means to blow on the third hole. This harmonica is an updated and improved version of the Seydel Session, a must-have for every blues player. Jan 4, 2021 - Explore Ben Wer's board "Gospel songs- harmonica tabs", followed by 101 people on Pinterest. My goal in playing the harmonica was to understand the techniques of these old masters and to recreate some of their magic. The term “harp” comes from an earlier incarnation of the harmonica called an aeolian, or wind-harp. Only 12 left in stock (more on the way). The music was frozen in time and documented with the commercial recordings of the 20s and 30s and with the field recordings that followed. He switches out of cross position for Fisher’s hornpipe. One of the first things you’ll wanna learn on the harmonica, and which will open up the world of playing songs for you, is how to deliberately only play one note on the harmonica – instead of hitting a couple of notes at the same time – which is essentially the “default” sound of the harmonica.There are two main ways to The harmonica was firmly established as a cultural icon by the 1870s, for better or worse: “The youths of Salt Lake are preying upon neighboring settlements under the guise of giving “harmonica” concerts. This is a classic tune which every fiddler learns - it’s a good beginner's way of getting to sound fiddley.You play the melody on one string, and use the open string next to it as a drone, which creates a double stop. Eight out of every ten went to supply the needs of the small boy, the greatest exponent of harmonica music.” (The Sun, New York, May 28, 1905). Unlike the usual folky and happy vibes that the harmonica is associated with, here the harmonica puts the whole song into the saddest mood that made this song one of the most popular funeral songs ever. A number of famous musicians have incorporated the harmonica into theater stage performances and recorded music. This little detour should really lay to rest any claims that Bob Dylan’s mouth-breathing was the beginning of traditional harmonica playing. Seth’s great-grandmother played the harmonica (a 1920s Flying Ace from the F.R. It was easy enough for even the youngest children. 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