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Post by Devender Singh Rana on Mon Apr 03, 2017 8:11 am

We have started this channel for the sole purpose of "Learning & getting basics of tower chromatic harmonica"...since we didn't find any proper documentation abt it unlike other harmonicas on net. So its all about tower chromatic notes & playing here....and bout the way we trying learn it here. Smile

[Note: Aur bina bunaat piye yahaan kuch bhi bajane ka nahin ok? cooldude  ...Haan daaru bhi chal sakti par humaare gawn mein daaru pike drum bajaya jata yah kisiki bajayi jati only! knuppel2 ...melody instrument nahin....So in our band daaru is for drummer & bunaat for melody players. ...aur baaki ke sukey sant jus audiences only!  cooldude

So...Tower chromatic harmonica is a 24 slots based harmonica divided into 3 identical pattern based octaves of 8 notes each. Starting from left most reed slot...

Sa.......Re........Ga.......Ma...........Pa.........Dha..........Sa'..........Ni........& repeat

The real physical layout of tower chromatic notes

1. We choose to use all-sharp notation to depict black keys of piano cause in harmonica its easy to imagine that way for newbies ...all one have to is to associate sharp sign with just slider press.

2. Sharper versions of notes are shown with bright white font since they tend to sound brighter than main note of that slot...for easy recognition while playing.

3. Extra dim/darker notes are extra duplicate notes inserted at normally empty position of music scale since their is no note as such Ga# or Ni# on standard music scale.

So starting from left most hole/slot there are 24 consecutive blow/draw slots ...12 blows & 12 draws. Now that when you don't touch the slider. But when you press the slider at any note covers the normal note of that hole & uncovers the sharper version of that notes (piano's black key) which is on other reed plate. Like if you play Sa then press slider'll cover org Sa note and opens up Sa# situated on bottom reed plate. Which is tuned to generate lil higher frequency then Sa note but lower than Re note of pure scale. To get to any sharper version of any note just have to press slider at that note position without changing blow or draw...cause both org & sharper version falls on same blow/draw slot so blows or draws the same way.

Next octave Sa note slot is duplicated at 7th slot position of every octave. So you can blow Sa/Sa# combo at 7th slot position of prev octave as well.

Similarly Ma & Sa notes are duplicated at empty Ga# & Ni# position.

Another quirk is instead of duplicating 4th octave Sa at 3rd octave Ni# position tower people provided Re note of 4th octave ...which actually isn't present on instrument. So in this way you get 3 notes of even 4th octave on the tower harmonica. But I think what if they have removed 7th slot altogether then provide these extra notes though those the slots. No need to unzip 12 hole professional chromatic like this...this seems to be lil stupid to me Smile

Anyway so all in all tower chromatic got 12 different sounds in first two octaves & 12+3 = 15 diff sounds in last octave....all total 39 different tones in whole

in which one can play whole three octaves plus 4th octave Sa, Sa# & Re note.  cooldude

The simplified logical layout of notes

Note: Since this layout is designed to assist scales playing for newbies like me so I made it simple by arranging all sharp versions of notes on top row...that's the note you get on slider press position on that particular slot.

Caution: Secondly its for starting purpose help you get accustom with scale in early days of scale playing...till you haven't ingrained notes layout pattern mentally. Don't over use it. Smile


Sa, Ga, Pa notes are blow notes so are their sharper versions...

Re, Ma, Dha & Ni are draw notes. U'll need that! Wink


The more simplified version for actual scale playing

In this version we even hide extra redundant duplicate notes for better clarity of current playing scale. Extras you don't need to be shown... you just remember there is Ma note duplicated at Logically Ga# location & Sa note at bogus Ni# location. Rest there is extra duplication of next octave Sa note i.e european C note at 7th slot position of all three octaves  but you can forget it for now...its just particular trait of tower chromatic...but these first two duplication you'll find in every other chromatic 12-14-16 keys whatever except 10 slots one. 

And they simplify particularly the C# scale so much by just converting it simple pure C scale like simple playing pattern...if you choose to use those two redundant notes to play regular Ma or Sa notes of that scale. Which is kinda one popular music scale for sharper playing things.

...I think was the magic behind how come I was able to play songs while keeping slider all time just use to give brighter version of song that you usually can play on simple C

Hole pattern of 10 hole harmonica
Hole pattern of 12/14/16 hole harmonicas

Lil about piano octave & its analogy with Tower chromatic.
Piano octave consist of 7 white & 5 black  keys ...a total of 12 notes in a octave. Every note doubles in frequency on getting to next octave. like if current octave C note is 240 Hz it will be 480 Hz in next octave.

All note keys are distributed in geometrical progression series i.e. a, arr, arrr, arrr....

Since frequency need to be doubled in 12 steps so each step is multiplied by 'r' a value which is 12th root of 2


Sa note frequency x 12 times r = next Sa note frequency

Sa note frequency x 2  = next Sa note frequency 

multiplying 'r 12 times you get 2. Smile

???...did somebody say harmonic? ...humaare gawn mein abhi tak toh geometric hi chal raha hai. cooldude

Anyway 7 white keys notes are Sa  Re  Ga  Ma  Pa  Dha  Ni  or C  D  E  F  G  A  B.

while 5 black keys are sharper/tevr or diminished/komal notes of those 7 white keys notes. The names of these key are derived from corresponding nearby white key notes and adding sharper/diminish  suffix to it. So key 2 of octave which is a 1st black key can be called C# or Db i.e. diminishing D 

Same way in indian classical notation we use prefix teevra/komal to the nearby white key swar to represent them. Like 1st black key can be Sa# or Re(komal) ..all in all u can say Tevr/sharp suffix raises the tone of a note by semitone and komal/diminish decreases the tone by one semitone. But all this just nomenclature thing.

...secondly in harmonica which is basically a western instrument since you get a sharper note when you press slider denoting all by sharp notes seems more logical to least at ths primary stage of scale learning...but everyone had or can have his/her own choice or preference so....well it alll depends on

Basically what some ppl talk about reversing the slider...I think in that case it'll be more like Db Eb thing since then it'll be lower tone you wud be getting on pressing the slider....but I think Ga & Ni notes gonna create problem in that scenario since then it'll be those two extra redundant Ma and Sa note you'd be getting in normal scale...i.e. slider release position...I mean wont Ga & Ni notes go on slider press that case & redundant extra notes creating problem in that case? Smile

Tone & semitone distance of piano notes

The difference between two consecutive keys of piano scale when including all 12 octave keys is said to be semitone distance...and two semitone distances makes up to make a tone distance. So distance between a C key & C#(black) key is of a semitone while between C & D note is of full tone since there is one key inbetween i.e. C# key.  

So pure scale key pattern is at following semitone distance apart on piano octave...

-2- D -2- E -1- F --2-- G -2- A -2- B -1- C
---------------------       ----------------------
Sa    Re    Ga    Ma      Pa     Dha   Ni     Sa'

Note : Semitone distance is not equal between each note in frequency measure term. Actual Its cause its not linear scale but geometrical scale...where each next step is get by multiplying current value bt fixed ratio or multiplying factor rather than some fixed amount. In our case its 12th root of 2....means r when multiplied 12 times will give 2 as result. ...So you got double frequency in next octave. Smile

Anyway its all cause its a typical scale...not usual linear...kinda circular radiating scale kinda thing I suppose...but all then when we try dig lil deeper into sound thing. For now it just means that semitone distance also get doubled in all these 12 steps across the consecutive notes inbetween frequency difference also get doubled when you get across octaves. ...mmm somewhat like circle segment get increased at every increase of its radius....the bigger the radius ..bigger the corresponding difference. But all this research baad mein khabhi phursat ke time. Not now! Smile 

Now about some scale playing...
In piano there are 12 keys in an octave, of them 7 are white keys while rest 5 black keys or notes....but usual practice is to use a set of 7 notes out of them at a time for playing tunes which is also referred to as that particular music scale. 

There are 12 major key scales starting from every key of an octave.

Like 1st major key scale is C major scale which consist of all 7 white keys of piano. 

i.e. Sa  Re  Ga  Ma  Pa  Dha  Ni   or  C  D  E  F  G  A  B notes of European notation system.

To play it on tower chromatic you just need to blow & draw each slot in succession starting from left most slot which is Sa note & a blow slot. ...skipping 7th slot(redundant Sa) and drawing again for Ni note on next 8th slot before finally closing on to next octave Sa

So only caution is to take care that both consecutive notes Dha to Ni are draw notes while traversing.

Sa major scale playing sequence can be...

Note: only brighter notes are to be played for the required scale.

...and you can use any slot 7th or 9th to play Sa note of next octave. You can also use sharper slot of Ni note to play Sa note as well since this note is duplicated there as all in all 3 variation to play Sa note of latter two octaves ...all in 7th 8th & 9th slot position ...& likewise Smile

Sa# major key scale 

Now if you want to play C# major key scale...which is the next major key scale. All u got to do is to construct it know which 7 notes keys take part in that out of 12 of full octave. Now if you see the pattern of piano's keys of pure C scale is at distance  2 2 1 2 2 2 1 if we apply the same semitone distance pattern while assuming C# key to be pure C note of new scale we get C# major scale as...

Likewise you create all the rest of major scales assuming any key of piano octave to be C note of pure scale & traversing in pattern of 2 2 1 2 2 2 1 semitone distance of pure scale key pattern. 

Note: if you choose to use redundant notes Ma & Sa from what wud have been Ga# or Ni# had they been valid notes. It just brings whole C# scale to slider pressed position...just like C scale pattern ..just keeping slider pressed all the time... Wink

but remember no matter what it seems but Ga# & Ni# slots being blow/draw slot rather than draw/blow of normal Ma/Sa notes so lil difference will be there...u choose according to particular situation. I mean required actual note value or note delay whatever....but I say to try learn scale by using normal notes than these quicker note for start at least....being simpler to play with u just can switch to that notes mode anytime...most probably you already be doing that ..seeing them simpler to

Uses all total 6 notes of scale including 5 sharps. Ni note is not present. Smile

Flipping opposite scale is Ni which uses Ma & Ni normal notes instead of Sa & Ma notes of this scale...Ma note being common between both scale only difference between these scales is Sa# scale uses Sa as other only normal note & Ni scale uses Ni note. Not that bad to remember eh? Wink

Re major key scale 

Uses all 7 notes of scale including 2 sharps.

Flipping opposite scale is Dha# which uses Re & Dha notes from sharper lots rather than Sa & Ma in this case.

Re# major key scale 

Uses all total 6 notes of scale including 3 sharps.

Flipping opposite scale is Dha which uses Re, Ma & Pa notes from sharper lots 

Ga major key scale 

Ma major key scale 

Ma# major key scale 

Pa major key scale 

Pa# major key scale 

Dha major key scale 

Dha# major key scale 

Ni major key scale 


Some scales facts.... 

Sa       Sa       Re      Ga       Ma       Pa       Dha       Ni       Sa'         (scale notes)

Sa#     Sa#    Re#     Ma      Ma#     Pa#     Dha#    Sa'      Sa'#         (real notes)
Re       Re      Ga      Ma#     Pa        Dha      Ni        Sa'#    Re'          (real notes)
Re#    Re#    Ma       Pa      Dha#    Ni#      Sa'       Re'       Re'#        (real notes)
Ga      Ga     Ma#     Pa#     Dha       Ni       Sa'#     Re'#    Ga'          (real notes)
Ma      Ma      Pa      Dha     Dha#     Sa'      Re'       Ga'       Ma          (real notes)
Ma#    Ma#    Pa#    Dha#    Ni       Sa'#     Re'#     Ma       Ma'#       (real notes)
Pa       Pa      Dha      Ni       Sa'      Re'      Ga'       Ma'#     Pa'           (real notes)
Pa#     Pa#    Dha#   Sa'      Sa'#    Re#     Ma'       Pa'       Pa'#         (real notes)
Dha     Dha     Ni       Sa'#     Re'     Ga'      Ma'#     Pa'#    Dha'          (real notes)
Dha#   Dha#  Sa'       Re'      Ga'#    Ma'     Pa'       Dha'     Dha'#        (real notes)
Ni        Ni      Sa'#      Re'#   Ga'     Ma'#    Pa'#    Dha'#    Ni'           (real notes)

1. Ma# note is at exact middle position between two identical layout pattern of 6 notes each on both side of it if you include next Sa in lot. Ga-Ma transition being represented by Ni-Sa' in latter pattern. But its just one way of seeing things. Smile

2. Scales at same offset distance from both side of scale if you count in the next Sa as well have same number of black key notes...i.e C# and Ni# are at offset one from both side likewise are Re & Dha# with two black key notes.

3. Sa#, Ma#, Ni have 5 sharp notes.

4. Re & Dha# scales have 2 sharp note each.

5. Re# & Dha scales have 3 sharps.

6. Ga & Pa# scale have 4 sharps. 

7. Ma & Pa scales have 1 sharp.


Now some easy Sargams to perfect note control (C major)


albino     confused     albino     confused     albino     albino      confused       albino      confused      albino      confused      albino     albino     confused     albino
Sa    Sa#   Re    Re#   Ga    Ma     Ma#    Pa      Pa#   Dha    Dha#   Ni    Sa'    Sa'#   Re'   

albino     confused     albino     confused     albino     albino      confused       albino      confused      albino      confused      albino     albino     confused     albino
       Sa     Sa#   Re    Re#   Ga    Ma     Ma#    Pa      Pa#   Dha    Dha#   Ni    Sa'    Sa'#   Re'   

Why playing major scales or its various sargam combo or of any such scale so imp for newbie?...including me of course!

The answer is simple playing those scales which are simplest to play & covers all the keys of octave ln the process u get notes tones & their tonal differences set in your mind/sub-conscious mind. By going through various scales with various sargams u learn various blow/draw breath pattern along with their corresponding tones & tonal differences among them. like one learn various fingering patterns combo on piano keyboard. That makes one easier to get to the desired tonal difference of next note sub consciously or automatically if given enough practice.
Devender Singh Rana

Posts : 79
Join date : 2014-01-07
Location : H-no E-30 Kurmanchal Nagar, Lucknow - 16 (U.P.) India

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