Post subject: History of diatonic harp: is it available?
Posted: Fri Sep 09, 2011 11:13 am
Joined: Wed Mar 30, 2011 10:55 am Posts: 20
Is there a reason because the normal range of Harps starts from G (Low) up to F (High) and not, for example from C to B? More, I'm looking for a history of harmonica since its creation: is there anybody who can help me? Thanks! Paolo
Post subject: Re: History of diatonic harp: is it available?
Posted: Fri Sep 09, 2011 12:55 pm
Joined: Wed Oct 13, 2010 7:17 pm Posts: 195
Paolo, A source over the years which has been invaluable to me for all things harmonica is www.patmissin.com, Pat is a great guy and very knowledgeable on the subject of all things harmonica. While I don't recall a specific section at his site that deals with the historical layout of the Richter Harmonica, he responds to emails and is happy to help. Please bear in mind that while Pat's site is free he does accept donations to keep it going, this is in no way a pitch for money on behalf of his site, however I myself feel compelled to contribute because of the value I put on his expertise. A veritible font of information. Good luck! Let us/me know how it goes as I find this an intriguing subject. Go Now And Blow Now Meaux Jeaux
While I may and do introduce him to others as "Our Club Historian Mr J_B", not so to embarrass him, rather out of great affection and high esteem for his good work, it's also a title/moniker which is richly deserved as well.
Not to embarrass him again, as he openly talks about it -- He does all of this sans any compensation, rather simply for the love of the instrument and sharing such knowledge with anyone/everyone who seeks it during the short times he is allotted working from a public access computer in his Pacific Northwest neck of the woods.
So if there is something that hasn't been found via Pat Missin and/or Wikipedia; or you would like more clarification and/or in-depth information pertaining to whatever you are seeking concerning harmonica history etal --
By all means, please and do keep Our Club Historian Mr J_B in mind!
The reason for the normal range of G to F in 10-hole Richter harp key selections is probably a manufacturers' choice. The Richter harp's reed placement system has been a standard reed placement industry - wide since at least 1858 (a guess, no one knows for certain). The manufacturers have their reasons, usually economical, for doing this or that.
Glass painter Joseph Richter (1812-1881) is usually agreed to be the designer of the Richter system in Haidau, Czechoslovakia (today's Novy Bor, Czech Republic). Some experts write that he set up the reed placement system as early as 1825-'27(?). He started the Joseph Richter company after 1830, exact date unknown. Others claim that he set the Richter system in 1879. The Joseph Richter company was in existence to at least 1900, when Joseph's wife ran the business.
Still others write that another Richter, Emmett Richter of Bavaria, Germany, designed the Richter system reed placement circa 1850 -'60. It's unknown if these two Richters were related. Not much is known about Emmett Richter.
Another Richter, plumber Anton Richter (1814-1885?), of Haidau, Czechoslovakia, started a harmonica company after 1830, in Haidau. It is suspected that Anton & Joseph were brothers. It is also hinted that Anton did sub-contract work for Seydel in the later years of his company (1880s). The Anton Richter company was in business until circa 1895.
The 1858 guess about Joseph Richter's introduction of the Richter system is based on facts. He was considered to be the most innovative of the 3 Richters, and he claimed to have used the Richter system after seeing it used in an accordion factory. Since the accordion was first patented in 1829, he couldn't have seen it used in an accordion factory before that date, and probably introduced it later. Also, he would have been aged 13-15 in the 1825-27 years, possibly too young to devise a reed placement system.
The major harmonica companies and lesser known harp companies used the Richter system as standard for the 10-hole diatonic harp starting with Hohner, in the late 1860s (a guess). The other companies followed, and by the mid 1880s, most harmonica companies used the Richter system, and continue to do so today.
Why is the G harmonica the lowest offered "normal range" Richter 10-hole, and why is the F harp the normal highest keyed harp? It's unknown, but a guess would be that those keyed harps G-F would be less expensive to make than the lower pitched reeds and higher pitched reeds, and lower in cost to the companies.
Not all of the major companies have the standard keyed harps ranging from G to F. By "standard," we mean the keys offered are standard tunings, not special tunings.
Huang standard tuned harps are from C through B. Lee Oskar harps are from low F to G in the standard tunings; Hohner has some models standard of G - F, some from low D to high Db, others at low G to F#, and some from low F to high F#. Suzuki harps are standard from low F to High G. In the 2005 catalog, the Seydel standard range is from C -B. Hering has standard models from Ab - G, and from A - G.
Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 0 guests
You cannot post new topics in this forum You cannot reply to topics in this forum You cannot edit your posts in this forum You cannot delete your posts in this forum You cannot post attachments in this forum