Re: What exactly is a bend?

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Posted by Jeremy Steinberg on January 13, 2003 at 08:52:35:

In Reply to: What exactly is a bend? posted by mark8498 on January 13, 2003 at 00:20:45:

: I read through the beginnign section, and even the post a bit below. I downloaded the examples, butit never really said how exactly a bend is done. So, uh, what exactly is a bend, and how is it done?

Hello -

Put simply, a 'bend' is a technique where you change the tone of a vibrating reed by changing the airflow to that reed, and therefore the pitch at which it vibrates. There are, however, different kinds of bends, for draw notes, versus blow notes. And there are different ways to bend, i.e., the pursing-lips approach vs. the tongue-block approach. Furthermore, bends - and basic play-ability - are affected by 'wind-savers', the strips of plastic, or teflon that rest on the surface of the channel that paired reeds vibrate in, and help to 'save wind' by sealing off the channel of the blow reed (when bending a draw note) or draw reed.

There are also bends where the paired reed (blow reed on draw bend, and draw breed on blow bend) will actually vibrate, and sound, rather than the reed you THINK you are bending.

Many professional players 'valve' their own diatonic harps, so that they can get more severe bends, and more 'air-tightness' in the playability of the harp.

There are videos that explain this in detail. Hope this helps.

It's hard to believe that basic bends aren't covered on this web site somewhere. Go looking! You're sure to find some information that will help your playing and practicing, even if you don't find exactly what you were looking for. Sometimes, the search alone, and what you learn during it, is worth the time and effort just for the process of learning!

Regards, Jeremy c/o

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