Blog

Me With My Harp and My Brother With His Club

Quartermasters Log Day 28, 30th June 2014

I laughed when my brother showed me a picture of the Gemini constellation today.  It depicts Castor holding a harp in one hand and a bow with arrows in the other, while Polydeuces wields a large club.  I found it very fitting, as I not only play a harmonica, colloquially known as a harp, but also often find myself making use of a fine instrument while Dave wields a slightly more brutal one.  The precision of a bow and arrow in skilled hands accompanied by the brute force needed to sometimes get the job done, that’s exactly why the two of us work so well together.

And while we both play the harp, I’ve been doing it for a few more years so I’m slightly more practiced at it, though I suspect that by the end of our first trip our skill levels will be about on par with one another.

I picked up my first harp around 2004 and I was…Terrible.  Truly, truly appalling sounds came from that cheap piece of junk…But over time and with much instruction I was able to coax the occasional note out of it…Then another and another.  Soon I was able to play the scales and the tedium of learning a new skill began.  I played those same scales up and down over and over again.  It was maddening to more than one roommate and even Motoko howled for me to stop.

It wasn’t long until I was able to play those scales well enough to justify the investment in a finer quality instrument. I spent the next several weeks researching and learning about the harmonica’s materials and construction before combing over endless variants produced by countless companies.

Finally I found the one, my Stradivarius.  The Hohner Marine Band Deluxe has quality brass reed plates perfectly tuned on arrival, which combines well with the beeswax sealed pear wood comb and tin jacket.  It’s more than just another musical instrument, it’s a work of art all by itself.

This is why I put a few more in the budget, Dave has currently upgraded from his plastic one to my learning harp and I’d like for the music we play together to be a little more palatable to the ear than that one is capable of.  I’ve also attached a little treat to my log entry today, a short clip of me playing the harp.  Enjoy.

‘We all do “do, re, mi,” but you have got to find the other notes yourself.’

-Louis Armstrong

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