Saturday, December 24, 2011

zindagi hans ke bitayenge

Paresh Bhatia has been training scores of school children in harmonica playing. Some of his disciples like Aditya Chalishazar and Devansh Shah have turned out excellent players, drawing applaud from audience at public performance. Today, as part of Christmas celebrations, Paresh Bhatia and Aditya played this song by the side of the Parimal Garden lake.




Tuesday, December 6, 2011

A TRIBUTE TO DEV ANAND – Hai Apna Dil To Aawara

I could not resist myself but to do another special tribute song to EVER GREEN SUPERSTAR DEV ANAND.  He loved Harmonica. He was the one who encouraged young R D Burman to play the harmonica in this film song.  All Indian harmonica players love to play this song.  I always feel happy when I play this song on Harmonica
 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0MdyhAnblrU
 Dev Saheb is not going to Rest In Peace in Heaven and he won't offer the God the lead role.

Shirish

Tribute to Dev Anand - GATA RAHE MERA DIL

GATA RAHE MERA DIL
I have played today (04th Dec 11) and uploaded this song from his Film “Guide” as a “TRIBUTE to Bollywood screen legend DEV ANAND” who passed away after “ROMANCING WITH LIFE”.  He passed away in London at the age of 88 on 3 December 2011 (4th December 2011 by Indian time) due to a cardiac arrest.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h3Wt9oShuAM

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Tribute to Dev Anand

The Harmonica Club of Gujarat paid tribute to ever green actor Dev Anand during their Sunday meet at Parimal Garden. All members played impromptu a song from Dev Sahab's film. Here are some videos:


















Thursday, November 10, 2011

Shivang Shastri at NHL Bristol 2011

Shivang Shastri is 13 year old  and he played `pavane`by Faure at NHL Bristol 2011
Shivang's family is from Ahmedabad.  His grandfather was in GEB Ahmedabad
His father is a Doctor living in Brmingham.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yR-ZomuQRug

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Evergreen Karun

He goes by the name of Evergreen Karun on Youtube. He is visually impaired and is 75 years' old. He has been playing harmonica for more than 50 years and has been a student of legendary Milon Gupta. Karun has given several public performances in the USA where he has been living now. He is originally from Shillong.

This is what he writes about himself by way of introduction on his Youtube channel:

" I am an artist by profession, and have been performing music on the harmonica as a hobby for the last fifty years. I learnt this art from the late Milon Gupta, the famous harmonica maestro of India in the mid-'50s. I enjoy playing both Eastern and Western music, and have performed the harmonica (or mouth organ) at various public performances in the United States and in India. 


I am a member of the Society of the Preservation and Advancement of the Harmonica (www.spah.org) since 2000. I am now visually handicapped due to macular degeneration since my early 30s, and playing the harmonica is my life."


Here are a few of his renditions:


1. Main Shayar to nahi




2. Lara's Theme from Dr. Zhivago





You can visit his Youtube channel at http://www.youtube.com/user/EvergreenKarun

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Collector of Harmonicas: Amzad Khan

Automobile engineer Amzad Khan from Baroda has made amazing progress in the last four years that he picked up harmonica. Since then, he has collected more than a dozen harmonicas, some of them rare pieces. I first heard him play in 2007, when he had just started learning the instrument. Today, Amzad Khan, popularly known among his friends as Babubhai, plays to perfection several popular Hindi film songs. We present here some of his renditions.

1. Jawaniya ye mast mast




2. Awara Hoon




3. Bekaraar karke humein yu na jaayiye




Saturday, October 29, 2011

Apoorva Bhatt weaves music

The Harmonica Club of Gujarat has some gems without who this tiny musical instrument would not have gained popularity among the generation next. One such gem is textiles engineer from Baroda, Apoorva Bhatt. He has taught scores of young people the art and craft of playing mouth organ. A perfectionist, Apoorva rehearses several times over before his public performance. However, his friends and fans have captured on video several of his renditions off guard. Here are some samples.

1. Jyoti Kalash Chhalake


2. Dil Ek Mandir Hai



3. Dil Ki Girah Khol Do


Master of detailing: Apoorva Bhatt

Textiles engineer Apoorva Bhatt has been playing harmonica since he was a toddler. "I learned mouth organ in my cradle," he says. And, it shows. He has been playing the instrument with perfection. Apoorva Bhatt has also been training young harmonica players of Baroda to popularize the instrument among the young generation. We present here a song he played at the Rajpath Club, Ahmedabad recently.




Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Thank you Sirishbhai

I received the following surprise message on my email from Sirish Swami from London on my 60th birthday. Thank you Sirishbhai for such a lovely gift.


Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Combo occasion

Wishing all the Dearest members of HCG a very happy Diwali and prosperous new year ahead.
Wishing ND a very happy Birthday.


Sunday, October 23, 2011

Sagar Kinare by Sirish Swami

Literally from across seven seas, Sirish Swami has brought to us this wonderful rendition of the song Sagar Kinare from the film Sagar.





Wednesday, October 19, 2011

MAJOR & minor SCALES

By Major we understand something relatively great or bigger in size & by minor we understand some thing comparatively smaller in size or dimension. Scale means a unit of measurement. Major scale is an arrangement of notes in a particular ascending ( increasing ) order with certain value of frequency for each note. Similarly Minor scale is an arrangement of notes in a particular order with the increase oder of frequencies just like the major scale but with an exception that for some specific notes the frequencies are lesser as compared to their position in a Major scale. This I have explained in the video below. Please feel free to comment because its through discussion only we know the things.

MINOR SCALES IN MUSIC

The Minor scales have been classified mainly into three categories. They are Natural Minor, Melodic Minor & the Harmonic Minor.

Natural Minor three notes get flattened & they are E, A & B. For the scale C natural Minor we can write the scale structure as C,D,Eb,F,G,Ab,Bb & C.

For Harmonic minor two notes gets flattened & they are note E & note A. For the scale C Harmonic minor we can write it as C,D,Eb,F,G,Ab,B & C.

For Melodic Minor its a bit confusing to grasp. There is a clear difference in the ascending & descending order of the scale.

Ascending order is C,D,Eb, F,G,A,B & C

Descending order is C,D,Eb,F,G,Ab,Bb& C

This I have explained in the video attached here with.



Monday, October 10, 2011

SORRY FOR THE PREVIOUS POST

The renditions were in the scales of A minor & C minor. It was a mistake for mentioning the key as C major .

BAHARON PHOOL BARSAO IN ' A minor & C - MAJOR '

Please listen to the harmonica renditions of the above song in both A minor & C minor scales played by me with the help of my Suzuki Chromatic harmonica model SCX - 64. As all of us know that SCX 64 of Suzuki, Super 64 & super 64 X of Hohner come in the key of C only. In the videos I have explained where to take the key note for C major & A minor with the same harmonica.

Monday, October 3, 2011

SHARPS, FLATS & FREQUENCY

In Music, so many times we come across the terms SHARP & FLAT. Some one says the note is F SHARP & some one says the scale is A FLAT etc. By practice we just accept & say C SHARP, E FLAT, F SHARP & A FLAT like that. Often during the rehearsals we hear that the guitarist adjusting the strings & listening to the pitch of the singer screams out the scale is B FLAT. Now let us understand what are these SHARPS & FLATS. By practice we identify a note as F# but why dont we say G FLAT for this when both are true because when the note F ascends it becomes F# or when the note G descends it becomes G FLAT. Finally F# & G FLAT are the same.
By the word SHARP we mean something ' pointed ' or ' piercing'. Imagine we are at the base of a steep mountain. Standing at the ground level we observe the tip of this cliff & we say its pointed or its sharp. It means we are at the base & our point of concentration is the highest level being our point of observation. It means by making a travel from base & proceding forward/ higher we acheive the highest point which we have confirmed as SHARP. Putting the same logic in music when we take a NOTE of a particular frequency & give an increment to its frequency we arrive at a particular frequency where the note gets SHARPENED, at that instant we say that the second note is the SHARP of the first one. The reverse order is also true. Thats,when we start decresing the frequency of the note we get the lower frequency where we say the Note is FLAT of the first one. Therefore SHARP & FLAT are inter related.
We conclude that the increase in frequency of a note to a particular value is the SHARP of that note & the decrease in frequency of a note to a praticular value is the FLAT of that note.
For example when note F steepens it becomes F# & when the same note F# widens that becomes note F.

Now coming to the word FREQUENCY & what does it mean in actual. The word frequency is dervied from the word 'Frequent' which means OCCURING OF AN ACTIVITY DURING A PARTICULAR TIME WITH AN INTERVAL. When the time interval , which we say GAP as a lay man , is more than the occurence , we say its less frequent & Vice versa. In music, frequency means the vibration of sound waves & the time interval is considered as one second. Therefore the frequency of a particular musical note is the vibration of its sound waves per second. Internationally the frequency of the note A is taken as the reference & all the rest of the notes have been designated with respect to this A note. The frequency of vibration of sound waves for this note A has the value 440 Cycles per second. According to the name of the scientist of its discovery the unit of frequency is also known as HERTZ & in short written as HZ.. Note A has the frequency of 440 HZ. This A belongs to the fifth octave & denoted as A4. About the OCTAVES it will be explained in the future posts. This note A has been taken as the reference because in olden days A was taken as the start with the notes of the scale as A,B,C,D,E,F,G & A of the next octave. You can observe in a key board all these notes are the white keys. Gradually due to the advent of the Major & minor scales this notes pattern of A scale became the A minor scale. This A was replaced by the note C as the threshold creating the C scale with the notes as C,D,E,F,G,A,B & C of the higher octave in the ascending order of the scale. This C scale has all the white notes on a key board making it the C Major scale with all the notes being the natural ones.
As regards the concept of OCTAVES, MAJOR , MINOR SCALES & CIRCLE OF FIFTH etc we will discuss in the future posts.

Friday, September 30, 2011

BAHARON PHOOL BARSAO - SARGAM

I am herewith giving the notations of the song in SARGAM. Please note that these are the notations when you play a C chromatic harmonica creating the scale of A minor. Please dont get confused that the note ' GA ' is not the komal ' ga ' of the base raag Shivranjani. With these notations note ' C ' becomes the ' ga ' of scale A minor. Therefore ' GA ' here, is the ' PA' of A scale.Please note that this ' PA ' position remains unchanged irrespective of the scale being a Major or a minor.
Some friends have requested for the hole numbers, since the notation pattern is still to be learnt by them. Our next posting of the same song identifying the hole numbers for practising this song.

BAHARON PHOOL BARSAO = GAGA MA DHA DHANISA... .SA..SASANISA

MERA MEHEBOOB AYA HAI = SASASASA NI- DHA-MAMADHANI-NI

MERA MEHEBOOB AYA HAI = NI - NIDHA DHANISA-SA-NISANI - DHA - DHA

HAWAON RAGNI GAO = GAGA MA DHA DHANISA... .SA..SASANISA

MERA MEHEBOOB AYA HAI =SASASASA NI- DHA-MAMADHANI-NI

MERA MEHEBOOB AYA HAI =NI - NIDHA DHANIre - re -NISANI-DHA - DHA
****************************************************************************

O LAALEE PHOOL KI MEHENDI = GA'GA'MA'SA' - SA'- SA'GA'GA'MA'SA' - SA'

LAGAA IN GORE HATHONMEIN =SANISADHA - DHA MA SADHASADHASA-SA

UTAR AA EI GHATAA KAAJAL = GA'GA'MA'SA' - SA' - SA'GA'GA'MA'SA' - SA'

LAGAA IN PYARI AANKHONMEIN = SANISADHA - DHA MA SADHASADHASA - SA

SITARON MAANG BHAR JAO = GAGA MA DHA DHANISA - SA - SASANISA

MERA MEHEBOOB AYA HAI = SASASASA NI - DHA - MAMADHANI - NI

MERA MEHEBOOB AYA HAI = NI - NIDHADHANIre - re - NISANI - DHA - DHA

Friday, September 23, 2011

CROWDING OF NOTES

While writing the notes I have carefully adjusted the gaps & checked in the draft also. I found it to be in order, but after its published I was surprised to see them all getting crowded making very difficult to understand. I am again arranging in a phrased manner so that there wont be any confusion in understanding. I regret the inconvenience caused. As all of us have the conventional Chromatic harmonica in the scale of C you can play this song as per the notes. By doing so you will be playing this song in the scale of A minor in this C scale harmonica. Here you are taking the start ( Key note ) as E. To play this song in the scale of C minor in the same harmonica you have to take the start ( Key note ) as G which is 3 semitones ahead of E.

BAHARON PHOOL BARSAO = EEF#A ABC-C-CCBC

MERA MEHEBOOB AYA HAI = CCCC B-A-F# F#AB-B

MERA MEHEBOOB AYA HAI = B-BA ABC-C BCB-A-A

HAWAON RAGNI GAO = EEF#A ABC-C-CCBC

MERA MEHEBOOB AYA HAI =CCCC B-A-F# F#AB-B

MERA MEHEBOOB AYA HAI = B-BA ABC#-C# BCB-A-A

****************************************************************************

O LAALEE PHOOL KI MEHENDI = E'E'F#'C'-C' E'E'F#'C'-C'

LAGAA IN GORE HATHONMEIN =CBCA-AF#CBCBA-A

UTAR AA EI GHATAA KAAJAL = E'-E'E'F#'C'-C' E'E'F#'C'-C'

LAGAA IN PYARI AANKHONMEIN = CBCA-AF#CBCBA-A

SITARON MAANG BHAR JAO = EEF#A ABC-C CCBC

MERA MEHEBOOB AYA HAI = CCCC B-A-F# F#AB-B

MERA MEHEBOOB AYA HAI = B-BA ABC#C# BCB-A-A

These are the basic notes. we can add flavour to it by vibrato or putting some accidental notes. please operate the slider gently either with your fore finger or the thumb. Please dont hit it with your palm since its very delicate.

We are open for any corrections and suggestions since we learn though our mistakes & errors.

BAHARON PHOOL BARSAO

BAHARON PHOOL BARSAO

I am herewith giving the notations of the song Baharon Phool Barsao. The song is from the movie SURAJ. The movie was released in 1966 with Rajender kumar & Vyjayanthimala in the lead. & the Hyderabad born Ajit as the villain with Sri Gajanan Jagirdar, Umashankar vyas, Lalitha pawar & Mumtaj in the supporting roles. Gajanan jagirdar was the principal for the Film & television Institute of India at Pune ( FTII ) for some time. In this movie singer Sharda ( Sharda Rajan ) made debut as the playback singer with her maiden song TITLI UDEE, which is very popular even till today. Maestros Shankar-Jaikishan had tuned & composed music for the songs written by Shailender Ji & Hasrat jaipuri Sahab. This song is basically in the raag Shivranjani. I am highly greatful to Mr Saitejas of Bengaluru for correcting me that this particular song is in the raag MISHRA SHIVRANJANI which is derived from the route SHIVRANJANI. Its due to the presence of the note C# when you play the A minor key on a C chromatic harmonica at a few places.

Please note that this post is not in link to my the previous post. The previous post is for the beginners who are keen to know the positions of the notes in harmonica.

Before commencing to play the song please note that the NOTES = C, C# , E , G , Ab are the BLOW NOTES & the NOTES = D , Eb , F , F# , A , Bb & B are the DRAW NOTES. For the FLATS & the SHARPS you have to use the slider when you are playing a C chromatic harmonica to derive these notes. Below I am giving the notations . Please play a C chromatic harmonica.

BAHA RON PHOOL BARSAO , MERAMEHE BOOB AYAA HAI

EE F#A ABC-C CCB-C CCCC BA-F# F#AB-B

MERA MEHEBOOB AYAA HAI

B-BA ABC-C BCB-A

HAWAON RAAGNI GAO , MERA MEHEBOOB AYAA HAI,

NOTES ARE SAME AS THE TOP NOTES

MERA MEHEBOOB AYAAHAI

B-BA ABC# -C# BCB-A


O LAALI PHOOL KIMEHENDI LAGA IN GORE HATHONMEIN

E'E'F'# C'-C' E'E'F'#C-C C'BC' BA AF#C' BC'BA-A ( E' IS THE 'E' OF NEXT OCTAVE )

UTAR AA EI GHATAA KAAJAL LAGAAIN PYAARI ANKHONMEIN

E'-E'E'F# C - C E'E' F'#-CC C'-BC'BA AF#-C' BC'BA-A

SITARON MAANG BHARJAO , MERA MEHEBOOB AYAA HAI

(THE SAME NOTES OF BAHARON PHOOL BARSAO CONTINUES HERE AFTER TILL THE END )


MERA MEHEBOOB AYAA HAI

BAHARON PHOOL BARSAO.................................

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

FOR BEGINNERS

There are many enthusiasts who like to play harmonica. We welcome them with a warm heart & ready to share our experience, observation & the problems we faced towards learning of this TINY but MELODIOUS musical instrument. As far as Chromatic harmonica is concerned the conventional one is the 12 hole in the key of C. These 12 holes covers 3 Octaves. By OCTAVE we mean eight notes viz C , D , E , F , G , A , B & the C of the next series. These three octaves are known as the Lower Octave , The Middle octave & The higher octave. The note in between the note C & note D can be achieved by the operation of the slider. This intermediate note is known as C#. In the octave of a particular scale there are 12 notes including the Flats & the Sharps. As for example for the scale of C the notes are as mentioned below.

C , C# , D , Eb , E , F , F# , G , Ab , A , Bb , B .

HOW TO GET THE NOTES OF AN OCTAVE ON A CHROMATIC HARMONICA

C = Blow at the holes 1 , 5 , 9 with slider out

C# = Blow at the above holes with slider in

D = Draw at the above holes with slider out

Eb = Draw at the above holes with slider in

E = Blow at the holes 2 , 6 , 10 with slider out

F = Draw at the above holes with slider out

F#= Draw at the above holes with slider in

G = Blow at the holes 3 , 7 , 11 with slider out

Ab =Blow at the above holes with slider in

A = Draw at the above holes with slider out

Bb = Draw at the above holes with slider in

B = Draw at the holes 4 , 8 , 12 with slider out

B# = Draw at the above holes with slider in ( This is C note only but sounds sweet at landing )

C = Blow at the above holes with slider out ( This is the C of the next octave )

C# = Blow at the above holes with slider in ( This is the C # of the next octave )

HAVE A GOOD PRACTICE . ALL THE BEST.

Our next post will be the notations for the song Baharon Phool Barsao .

Monday, September 19, 2011

NOTES , TONES & SCALES

Before proceeding into the notations & songs I would like to share a bit of my knowledge about the Scales, Notes & Tones from concept point of view which is highly essential for the inset of Concept.
TONE means a sound of a certain frequency. Sometimes the tone is pleasant to the ear & some times it is pungent to the ear. The pungent one we term as NOISE and the pleasant ones we chose to put them in order making a garland of NOTES which is known as SCALE. We identify each note by a name depending upon their frequencies. Putting these set of notes in ascending order of their frequencies & making a chain is the SCALE. As each NOTE has a name, similarly each SCALE has a name. Conventionally the scale starts with C as the reference having the notes ascending order staring with the note name C.
There are 12 NOTES viz C , C# , D, D# ( Eb ) , E , F , F# , G , G# ( Ab ) , A , A# ( Bb ) & B .
similarly 12 SCALES with the same names as the NOTES. In a particular scale there are seven notes in total.
Example Scale ' C ' = C , D , E , F , G , A , B & again C of the next octave.
The Major & Minor concept of the SCALE , FLAT & SHARP NOTES I will explain latter.

I will upload the song BAHARON PHOOL BARSAO with the original song then the play of the same song in the original scale on harmonica.

Finally for the understanding & grasp of the song I will give the notations of the song.

Friday, September 16, 2011

CONCEPT OF MUSIC

I thank all the members of The Harmonica Club Of Gujarat for giving me this golden opportunity of sharing my rudimentary knowledge in music to one & all. My special thanks to Mr Nachiketa Desai & Mr Tapan Bhat for having a lot of confidence in me towards the successful implementation of these efforts .

As all of us know MUSIC is one of the important streams of Fine arts, which soothes the heart & gives total relaxation to the body & mind. As far as Science is concerned Music is the combination of certain sound frequencies set up in a particular order, which is very soothing & pleasing to the ears.And as far as Arts is concerned Music is DIVINE which is something beyond explanation.

Let us take a travel towards the Science Of Music, try to understand the rudiments, practice it & finally let us feel that we are blessed by Mother Saraswati to be successful in our efforts.

Finally let us utilise our scientific knowledge in Music to glorify this FINE ART.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Teach yourself Harmonica


We are pleased to announce that veteran harmonica player Ramakrishna Sabnavees from Hyderabad has kindly agreed to guide the visitors to this blog on how to learn to play this tiny musical instrument, a long-felt demand expressed by hundreds of music enthusiasts.

Sabnavees, an engineer by profession, is also a self-taught harmonica player and has painstakingly learned the theory and put it in practice over the last five years. He used to play harmonica during his college days but had given it up because of the compulsion of his profession only to pick up after a long gap. Once he decided to take up harmonica he plunged himself into both theory and practice. The result is today he has become a guru who inspires young harmonica players.


Sunday, September 11, 2011

Guru-shishya parampara

When three years ago the Harmonica Club of Gujarat was formed, there were only six 'middle-aged' men who got together with the mission to popularize this small musical instrument which was fast becoming extinct because of the advent of electronic keyboard.

Today the HCG has over 30 members, half a dozen of them school children in the age group of 10-15 years. The man who deserves credit for attracting the generation next is Paresh Bhatia, who turned 50 last Septmber 11. Bhatia had not only introduced harmonica in his music class in a leading public school of Ahmedabad, but also gave personal tuition to anyone and everyone who wished to learn how to play this instrument.

It is Bhatia Sir's efforts which have given the music world child prodigies like Devansh, Aditya, Mihir and Pratham who have not just learned the 'Sa, Re, Ga, Ma' but can today play popular tunes from olden days, decades before they were born.

The result of this Guru-Shishya parampara was witnessed at a public performance of the Harmonica Club of Gujarat at Ahmedabad's premier Rajpath Club on September 10, 2011 where the kids outshone the veterans in presenting scintillating and romantic numbers.

We present here a few of the numbers played by the child prodigies.






Saturday, August 6, 2011




Sirishbhai is humility personified. Despite my repeated appeal to him to post his videos on the Harmonica blog, he has not obliged me. "You have made me a co-author of the blog, how can I even think of posting my own video," he said.

But, how can his humility deprive our music lovers from listening to this excellent rendition? So, I am using my prerogative to post Sirishbhai's video here.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

An Evening with magician mouth organist Ashok Bhandari

Ashok Bhandari, popularly known as Jadugar Bhandari, took the trouble of driving down from Janakpuri, Delhi, to Vaishali in Gaziabad, to spend an evening with me. These days, he is busy in the greening of Delhi campaign, organizing tree plantation events all across the national capital. His events management company was involved in building the brand 'Experience Delhi' during the commonwealth games. The brand building campaign involved specially designed T-shirts, wrist band, socks, keychain, mugs etc.

"I have not been playing harmonica for almost an year," he said when I asked him which were the latest numbers he played. I requested him to play a number which he has yet to upload on youtube. Here is the number:


Monday, July 18, 2011

Wah Taj - Madhur Bhatia comes calling


Madhur Bhatia was inducted into the Harmonica Club of Gujarat last Saturday as an honorary lifetime member. He had come all the way from Agra, his home town, to meet the members of HCG which held a get together at Bansibhai Gajjar's home. We were regaled by Mr. Bhatia's excellent rendition of old Hindi film numbers.

Mr. Bhatia has been playing harmonica since he was seven-year-old. "My father, who played violin, encouraged me and gifted me my first harmonica," he says. Since then, Mr. Bhatia has been playing the instrument. He plays by ears, without having any formal training in music. One wonders how he is able to follow all the minute details of a song, including the prelude and interlude background music.

We present here some of the songs he played on Saturday night:






Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Chhupa Rustom comes out his closet

Nachiketa ji namaskar
I m sorry I m late in my reply & hope u will excuse me. I belong to Distt Poonch of J&K state now settled at Jammu city. So far as my journey of music is concerned it is in my veins nerves & blood from my childhood. I was lucky enough to have a company of good highly talented friends. Our teachers always encouraged us & we used to sing in school, national as well as religious functions esp. during navratri when we used to manage a small orchestra & I used to play harmonium & banjo for the ramleela & continued till my graduation. when I was in 10+2 during 1967 that one of my friends gifted me a small ordinary harmonica (Kohinoor) where from my harmonica journey started & soon I was able to play in various functions. I did B.Sc. from govt degree college Poonch & came to Jammu where I started learning violin from a teacher but due to my immediate selection as Range Forest Officer in J&K Govt State Forest Deptt during 1971 was deputed to forest research instt Dehra Dun to undergo 2 years rigorous training in the northern forest rangers college. The busy schedule didn't allow me to carry on my violin practice. I was very lucky to have my batch mates from north eastern states highly talented persons & very experts in flute violin guitar etc. we framed a college orchestra & performed in college as well as outside functions & got applause. After completing the training I came back to my state where my hectic busy schedule started. Our work starts from where road connectivity & inhabitation ceases so harmonica became my passion, best friend & used to play under the snow clad mountains in the lush green pine forests on the bank of a milky stream with the melodies of 50s-70s. Can't explain how enjoyable it was. I retired as D F O (DY Conservator OF Forests) during 2005 & leading a retired relaxed life. I joined YouTube during 2009 where in I came in contact with highly talented persons. I have two sons the elder one a doctor & excellent guitar player & the younger an engineer who always insisted & encouraged me to do some thing with my harmonica. It is a matter of great pleasure & fun of proud for me that great persons like you & the harmonica fraternity have encouraged me with generous comments liking my uploads exhilarating, elating & invigorating me.
Thanks& regards
Sincerely yours
Jagjit Singh Isher
157 sector-1 lane-9 Nanak Nagar Jammu
(J&K)_180004
Mob 09419106747

Saturday, July 9, 2011

A Chhupa Rustom: Jagjit Singh Isher

I stumbled upon three videos of Jagjit Singh Isher on youtube the other day to discover this Chhupa Rustom. Unfortunately, I don't know much about him. My request for his details has not yet elicited a response. However, for the benefit of harmonica lovers, I am presenting here these videos.





Thursday, June 23, 2011

Genius at his best: Apoorva Bhatt

Textiles engineer Apoorva Bhatt has been playing harmonica since he was a toddler and has mastered the instrument. He is a perfectionist who does not miss a single note while playing any song, howsoever difficult and complex it may be.

We are pleased to present here some of the most difficult songs he has played:

1. Dil Ek Mandir Hai - Title song



2. Jyoti Kalash Chhalake




3. Yaad Na Jaaye



Friday, June 3, 2011

Child prodigy

My one year nine month old grandson, Maitreya, had started blowing and drawing the notes on harmonica when he was hardly six month old. Today, he picked up Chrometta 12 and started playing while sliding the harmonica from ascending to descending notes drawing and blowing as he continued.



hi chal turu turu

Kya chal hai aapki, bhai wah, maza aagaya....sings Sandip Patankar ( in public :- )

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Ajeeb Daasta hai ye

A couple of years back, I had no idea that, I would be playing harmonica and performing in the public. This has been made possible by the support of all the members of HCG. From Mihir toManoharbhai, everyone has taught something and helped me out for my betterment. I have to thank my guru Pareshbhai for his continuous support.
Long live HCG....................Long live my friends.


Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Suhani Raat Dhal Chuki.....

Every time one listens to this song, he would feel as if he is listening it for the first time.
So soothing, so pleasing, so Romantic, SO.....SO...... SO....
Please add your emotions and thoughts here...........in the comments box :-)

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Dil tadap tadap : Devansh

We have seen Devansh growing up and maturing as a musician. And all of us give credit to his parents for promoting his interest in different musical instruments.
This was His first acid test of playing keyboard and providing the rhythm to the members in a public performance.
And he did it successfully just like this song he played.....

Friday, May 20, 2011

Dum maro dum : Mihir Chalishazar

Ladies and gentlemen hold your breath, we are introducing our young member Mihir Chalishazar.
Mihir influenced by Aditya, his elder brother, wanted to be a percussionist.
He has been given the duty to arrange the songs, their karaoke tracks, make list of the participants and play accordingly in the program.
Slowly but steadily he is getting into real hard job- playing harmonica...
Please enjoy !!!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Chho kar sab ke man ko : Bansi Gujjar

Bansikaka a very very large hearted person in the HCG, played this song.
One of the most dedicated members of the club...........
On every Sunday, all of us wait for Bansikaka to come with his water bag, the water that he brings is very motivating and energetic.
Next Sunday we will be practicing in Parimal at 9:30 AM...Please reach early, Bansikaka just called me and informed that he has replaced his big size water bag with a very small one ;-)

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Hai Apna Dil To Awara

Sandip Patankar, Chandramohan Bahadkar and Manohar Vaidya, played this all time favorite song.
Immediately after the first song Jaya Stute, the trustees of the Vanikar Hall , arranged a short Pooja. We offered flowers at the lotus feet of Lord Ganesha and Maa Saraswati.
Vanikar Hall is located in the center of Ahmedabad. This area is known for the Lord Ganesha Temple.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Jaya Stute

Sandip Patankar, also known as Ice cream uncle, started the program with a marathi song Jaya Stute. This song was sung by Lata Mangeshkar.
All the members of HCG specially thank Devansh for the extra ordinary support on key board. He accompanied by playing the chords and soft rhythm.

Monday, May 9, 2011

sweet memories




























We the members of HCG were fortunate to have two celebrities during our practice session at Chakshul Pandya's house.

Shri Madan kumarji and Nitinbhai Patel from UK. Nitinbhai with his professional camera captured a few unforgettable moments.











































































Sunday, May 1, 2011

Aasmaan Pe Hai Khuda Aur Zameen Pe Hum

Veteran harmonica player Manohar Vaidya is a treasure trove of old Hindi movie songs. He not only plays the main song but also its prelude and interlude music. Here is a popular song sung by Mukesh which he played during the Sunday practice session of the Harmonica Club of Gujarat.


Saturday, April 30, 2011

Zindagi Ek Safar Hai Suhana - Madankumar’s Harmonica
I have digitised Mouth Organ Maestro Madankumar’s first LP on my PC.
A London based professional photographer/Harmonica player Mr. Nitinbhai Patel took some photos of Madankumar while he was in Ahmedabad in Jan 2011.  To create this upload, I have used some of his photos and Madankumar’s  Harmonica tune from his first LP released in 1972.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Req7iNSOe24

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Pujya Swami Adhyatmanandji



In IIMM, after listening to our members Sandip Patankar and Manohar Vaidya, play 'e malik tere bande hum', Swamiji asked them to play saavare salone. We were all surprised, when Sandip Patankar told us that swamiji himself started singing along with the mouth organ ambassadors.



' I am taken 50 years back, as My very close friend Solomon used to play this song for me ' said Swami Adhyatmanandji...












Friday, April 22, 2011

Harmonica Club of Gujarat – Fun session in car

On 20 Feb 2011, the last Sunday of my visit to Ahmedabad, I had an opportunity to meet the HCG members.  After the improvisation session in the Parimal Garden, we had a fun session in the car. I would like to share some videos I recorded on Sony Cyber-shot, in car near the Parimal Garden in Ahmedabad.   (Shirish Swami)

Shirish Swami is living music



















I was fortunate to have been the guest of Shirish Swami for 4 days at his lovely home in Langley, London from April 17 to 20. My stay with him was unforgettable.

Shirishbhai has immersed himself in music after retiring from his job as an electrical engineer. He is very meticulous in whatever he does - gardening, cooking, house-keeping, repairing and maintaining tools, equipment and gadgets. He shows the same meticulous approach to learning and practicing harmonica.

Shirishbhai was kind to offer me his hospitality when I informed him over e-mail that I was coming to London. I had also informed Nitin Patel, also an electrical and mechanical engineer like Shirishbhai, who is a practicing industrial photographer. Both have been settled in London for more than 30 years now. Both have child-like enthusiasm for playing harmonica. Though both live in London, they met for the first time in India through the Harmonica Club of Gujarat during their recent visit.

Shirishbhai and Nitinbhai drove long distance to Harrow to meet me and pick me up from the hotel I was staying in. I shifted to Shirishbhai's home and stayed there till my departure for India. Nitinbhai spent the whole day with us, regaling us with his humor-sprinkled tales about his tryst with harmonica. Both had discovered harmonica from their respective uncles. I too was inspired by my maternal uncles who never allowed me to touch their harmonicas when I was a kid.

Shirishbhai, who used to play harmonica during his college days, picked up the instrument just a little over three years ago when his college mate, Prafulla Patel, gifted him a Chromonica 64 on learning that Shirishbhai had no mouth organ.

Thereafter, Shirishbhai started buying harmonicas. "If only I had revived my interest in harmonica while I was still employed, I would have bought many instruments without pinching my pocket," he said. However, retirement has not dissuaded him from collecting harmonicas.

Shirishbhai has made a wish list of songs he would like to play on the harmonica and is working hard to find the scales of these songs. During my stay with him, both listened to the original tracks of some of the songs and could place the scales of 3-4 songs.

The way Shirishbhai has organized himself and the manner in which he is learning and practicing mouth organ, I will not be surprised if one day soon he comes out with his own audio compact disc.

After retirement, Shirishbhai has found an engagement worth living for.

I requested Shirishbhai to become the co-author of this blog and he was kind enough to have accepted my request.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

The good Boys

During their college days, both these good boys used to compete, as who would first play this beautiful song.
I do not know , for whom they wanted to play ............................
On the screen, the left one is very notorious, hard to control and the right one , totally opposite...
This is the HCG.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Belly dance

I just noticed my big tummy moving in Jalebi Direction while playing this song. Now I can understand why the audience asked me to play the same song one more time. They really liked the belly dance , more than my playing.......
Anyway it is nice to see the rhythmic movement of Big Belly....enjoy and try the same style, People will love it !!!!!
Jiski Tummy badi, uska bhi bada nam hai, bistar pe letado gadde ka kya kam hai :-)

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Aye Mere Dil by manohar Vaidya

Guru Manohar Vaidya played this song with complete music. Many visitors of this blog know Manohar Vaidya.
He plays more than 300 songs with complete music.
By the way, HCG players with family members are organising a two day trip to Mount Abu, in the second week of March.
We will be playing at Nakhi Talao.
HCG ROCKS !!!!!!!!!!

We are the one , we are the family..........

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Maang ke saath tumhara

Little wonder Aditya and Guru Vaidyaji played this lovely song. Aditya is coming up as a very matured player. His main choice of songs is the all time favorite old and golden melodious songs. We have to congratulate and thank Aditya's parents for their continuous encouragement.
His younger brother Mihir is the youngest member of HCG. He is the official DJ of our club. We all dance and play, only at his mercy.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Suhani raat ...tum kab aaoge

When Yogesh Bhatt and Manohar Vaidya played this melodious song, we could see the audience totally being carried away. The music lovers started singing the song along with the performers.
Due to certain technical errors at my end I am not able to trim the videos properly from the entire cd. So pl bear with the incomplete videos.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Apoorva Bhatt

One of the trustees of HCG, Apoorva Bhatt accompanied us to Adipur. He is known for his dedication and sincerity in playing Lary Adler 48.
All of us get charged just by his presence, I swear !!!
He played a very famous song ' Pukarata chala hu mein '

Friday, January 28, 2011

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

sholay tune

HCG was invited by Zala Family, to perform in Adipur, Kutchch.
It was a musical Beithak , with a very limited audience of their very close family members and friends. Their harmonica journey began with Sholay Tune, Played by Paresh Bhatia.....

Please bear with us for the sound quality due to echo and noise created by generator.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Mouth Organ Maestro Madan Kumar Live

Living legend mouth organ virtuoso Madan Kumar was in Ahmedabad on a private visit when we requested him to be at the practice session of the Harmonica Club of Gujarat. Humility is the hallmark of great masters, and so with Madanji. He obliged the club members by his presence and remained with us till well past midnight. Though he has been suffering from severe cough and cold, he rendered a few numbers at our insistence.

Madanji uses a variety of techniques to explore the full potential of this tiny musical instrument to produce mesmerizing melodies, bringing in variations to the original tunes. We present here two of his numbers that exemplify his mastery over mouth organ.




Musician from London comes calling

Members of the Harmonica Club of Gujarat were privileged to have two distinguished mouth organ players amidst them during their practice session on Monday evening. They were mouth organ maestro Madan Kumar and London-based photographer Nitin Patel. While Madan Kumar has become a part of the HCG, blessing the club members with his presence during his brief visits to Ahmedabad, for Nitin Patel this was his first encounter with the HCG members.

The musical evening hosted by Chakshul Pandya continued well past midnight. A trigger-happy Nitin Patel kept on clicking photographs while the HCG members practiced. Nitin has promised to send us the photographs he has clicked which when received we will put up on the HCG blog.

In the meantime, here are the videos of three numbers played by Nitin:





Saturday, January 15, 2011

In grandpa's footsteps

My 17-month-old grandson, Maitreya, sprung a surprise when he picked up my mouth organ and started playing it this morning. When he was six-month-old, Maitreya had surprised us all by holding the harmonica in the typical manner of a professional player. However, my subsequent efforts to prompt him play the instrument by blowing and drawing on the holes had failed to yield results till today.

Maitreya not only held the instrument the correct way but also blew and drew on notes - higher notes and lower notes. After some time, he moved away the mouth organ and sang a few lines in his gibberish only to pick the instrument to start playing it again. Hope he keeps up his interest and becomes the youngest mouth organ player of the Harmonica Club.






Thursday, January 13, 2011

Mother and son Jugalbandhi.......

We have seen Devansh growing as a hardworking musician, but during the last practice session, his mother serprised all of us.......
Archana Shah, his mother has finished Visharad in vocals, and is still learning music.
Amrish Shah, Devansh's father may not be as good a musician as his other family members, but is always ready to spare his time for the club activities.
We wish Devansh and his mother a very successful musical life ahead.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Sirish Swami Joins HCG



Sirish Swami, a non resident Gujarati who has migrated to UK, on a visit to his home town, Ahmedabad, impressed the members of the Harmonica Club of Gujarat with his unique style of playing the instrument. He makes the most of the versatility of this tiny musical instrument by employing all possible techniques - vamping, chording, octave playing, bending - in creating ear soothing music.

At the weekly practice session on Thursday, Sirish joined the group, in his words as a "Spectator". But how could we just allow him to sit among the audience and not play his harmonica? So, after much cajoling, he agreed to play a few numbers, captivating all of us.

While we were about to disperse, HCG secretary Tapan Bhatt sprang a surprise by whispering something in senior player Manohar Majithia and taking him aside. Soon, Manoharbhai returned with the badge of Harmonica Club of Gujarat and pinned it on Sirish Swami's lapel. "We feel privileged to have you as our member," announced Tapan amid a loud applaud.


Monday, January 3, 2011

The best ever New Year gift from Nilesh


On December 31, 2010, I received a post parcel. On opening the box, I was flabberghast - Nilesh Amin, my college day friend with who I used to play harmonica, had sent me a vintage piece - Professional 2016 CBH

My joy knew no bounds. I had seen this model with mouth organ maestro Madan Kumar, his favourite instrument.

When I told Shirish Swami over chat about this, he quickly sent me the link to an article about this rare model.

The Cham-Ber Huang
Professional 2016 CBH
Chromatic Harmonica
by DuPont - 1975

The following are two articles that appeared in DuPont publications in 1975, heralding the introduction of Cham-Ber Huang's revolutionary harmonica design. Even though Mr Huang eventually left M Hohner Inc to form his own harmonica manufacturing and distribution company, the articles are reprinted here for their historical significance, and for the edification of all who wish to benefit from them. Bear in mind the articles are dated, and references to cost and time frames reflect the date of publication. Also, as they are reprinted from trade journals, they are weighted toward the technical aspect.

Article reprinted from Engineering Design with DuPont Plastics, Spring 1975 issue:

Cham-Ber Huang

HOHNER CREDITS ADDED VOLUME AND RESONANCE, SMOOTHER SLIDE ACTION OF THE "CBH" TO TWO "DELRIN" RESINS

Hicksville, Long Island, New York

If you can memorize the musical scale, you can play the harmonica. Blow into the proper hole and you've sounded "do"; draw out and you'll produce "re". Repeat the exercise at the next two holes, reverse it on the fourth and you will have run through a complete octave. With a few hours of practice, you'll be playing "Oh Susanna" or "Home on the Range" and, someday, maybe even "Peg O' My Heart".

Not surprisingly, an estimated 50,000,000 Americans have gotten at least that far on what may be the world's most popular instrument, the Hohner "Marine Band". On more sophisticated models, multi-reed chromatic harmonicas that include sharps and flats played in the same fashion, but with the aid of a simple finger slide, a few have even scaled artistic heights.

Familiar names in that category include concert virtuosos Larry Adler and Richard Hayman, the two John Sebastians, Senior and Junior (the latter of "Lovin' Spoonful" fame), Bora Minnevitch (sic) of the "Harmonica Rascals" and Cham-Ber Huang, who has won international acclaim as a technician and interpreter of classical and baroque music as well as for his complete redesign of the versatile woodwind.

Woodwind (or brass) could be a misnomer for the instrument that carries Huang's imprint, even to the inclusion of his initials in its trademark -- the Hohner "Professional 2016 CBH". While retaining the hand-tuned bronze reeds traditionally associated with Hohner, the body, slide assembly, mouthpiece and face plates of this new harmonica are all injection molded in "Delrin" acetal resin. What's more, it's these molded components that are responsible for the special benefits of this model -- the fastest playing speed ever attained on a harmonica, smoother slider action and quick response, added volume and resonance.

Outstanding features of the "CBH" and probably the most important of its 18 patented innovations are (1) a half-round, non-stick slide of "Delrin" AF, a resin containing "Teflon" TFE fibers for high resistance to abrasion and wear, and (2) molded-in resonating chambers -- 16 on each side of the harmonica body, 32 in all -- which take advantage of the dimensional stability of glass-filled "Delrin" 570.

CBH Parts DisplayNotched, half-round slide, molded to a tolerance of .001 inch in "Delrin" AF, was designed to glide freely in the groove atop the body of the Hohner "CBH" harmonica, yet eliminate air leakage between chambers. When the spring-return plunger is depressed -- as in the hands of inventor Cham-Ber Huang -- lever (arrow) moves slide to channel air against reeds that sound sharps or flats.

The new instrument is the product of a 40-year love affair that began when Huang purchased a "Marine Band" in his native Shanghai. Though he holds dual degrees in music and engineering, his career has revolved entirely around the harmonica in his roles as both a performing artist and chief of research and development for German-based M. Hohner, Inc. Archtype of the "CBH" is a hand-made silver harmonica that Huang carried with him two years ago when he returned to China for a guest appearance with the Central Philharmonic Orchestra of Peking as part of a cultural exchange program.

"It's still my favorite," says Huang, blowing a tremulous chord on the shiny but bulky instrument. "It's hand-machined and its notes are as clear as a bird call. But precision machining cost more than $5,000 and reproducing it in any metal would be prohibitive in terms of money. What's more, it weighs 45 ounces and it gets kind of tiring when you've been holding it onstage for a half hour or more."

Not so with the "Professional 2016 CBH". A 16-hole instrument whose 64 reeds cover a four octave range, it weighs a light 11 ounces. And its price, though considerably higher than most other Hohner harmonicas (the "Marine Band" has an under-$6 tag) is only $59.95.

"Weight and cost reduction are two of the benefits we derive from 'Delrin'," Huang notes. "Its main contributions, however, are its quality surface characteristics -- its low coefficient of friction, its smoothness and appearance -- and its strength."

Machinability played an important role in the prototyping of the "CBH" but the controlled shrinkage and close molding tolerance capabilities of "Delrin" -- less than 0.001 inch over the 6-5/8 inch-long slide -- have minimized requirements in this area.

Huang totally redesigned the slide -- a notched, flat metal blade in most previous models. As the slide glides back and forth in an accommodating body groove, a single notch links each of the 16 playing holes alternately with two of the 32 reed chambers (see photo). When a performer blows or draws at a specific hole, say Middle C, air is channeled directly at only one reed to sound either a perfect Natural C or D and, when the slide plunger is pushed in, C sharp/D flat or D sharp/E flat.

CBH Exploded ViewThe 32 molded-in chambers -- 16 on each side -- of the "CBH" body or core (A) take advantage of the dimensional stability of glass-filled "Delrin" 570. The contoured mouthpiece (B) and the face plate or combs (C) benefit from its stiffness and smooth, even texture while the slide-actuating plunger (D), lever (E) and bushing (F) utilize its natural lubricity. Slide (G) is molded of "Delrin" AF. Only major use of metal is in the hand-tuned bronze reed plates (H).

"Our purpose was to eliminate the air leakage between chambers that can blur a note," Huang points out. "That called for an extremely tight fit but a free moving slide. In both the silver model and the plastic prototype we achieved it with a slide of 'Teflon' TFE fluorocarbon resin. But in the production model, we obtained equally good results with 'Delrin' AF. And at reduced cost with better stiffness. More important, the slide shifts in a fraction of the time required by a metal slide."

Friction-free motion is also essential in the spring-return plunger that actuates the slide, but the natural free movement of glass-filled "Delrin" 570 more than met the specifications. Glass-filled "Delrin" also contributed important stiffness and dimensional stability in attaining carefully calculated individual chamber shapes and volume in the 7-1/2 inch-long body section. Quick and accurate assembly was also assured.

There are other assets. The smooth, even texture of "Delrin" 570 in the contoured mouthpiece and face plates makes the "CBH" easy to hold and comfortable to play. Its strength, toughness and impact resistance make it virtually unbreakable in normal use. Resistance of the material to moisture assures smoother function of moving parts.

A Precision Instrument --

"It's a precision instrument," affirms Eugene Graber, president of Graber Rogg, Inc, Cranford, NJ, and one of a select audience of molding experts and technicians who heard the first performance on the "Professional 2016 CBH". It was Huang's rendition of the first movement of Bach's E Flat Major Sonata for the flute and it proved to be the "go-ahead" signal for the first production run.

"The original specifications called for the slide groove to be precision machined to .380 inch diameter so as to allow for the smooth movement of the .378 inch diameter slide," Graber recalls. "At Cham-Ber's request, we retooled the slide cavity to lower the clearance still further to .001 inch. When he came down to check the fit, he didn't bother with a micrometer or calipers. He just assembled the parts, screwed on two reed plates and began to play. When he kept on playing, we knew we had succeeded."

"There's just no other way to test a musical instrument," according to Huang. "The professional harmonica player couldn't care less about the dimensions of the instrument. What he's interested in is how fast and true it will play."

Article reprinted from DuPont Magazine, May - June 1975 issue:

A LITTLE CHAM-BER MUSIC

M Hohner, Inc, the Big Name in Harmonicas, Hits a New Note with "Delrin" Acetal Resin
-- By George Neilson

Despite origins half a world and five thousand years apart, the harmonica and Americans seem to have been meant for each other. Today, more than 40 nations belong to the International Harmonica Federation, and call the instrument by such names as organa de boca, fisarmonica, and Mundharmonika. To most Americans, however, the mouth organ seems peculiarily their own, like six-guns, jazz, and hot dogs. It's easy to see why.

Introduced into the United States in the late 1850's, the harmonica became a welcome companion for people on the move in a vast, and often lonely country. It went with the pioneers in their wagons and with cowboys in their saddle bags. Soldiers in gray and soldiers in blue, huddled around campfires, sought comfort in its reedy tones. Generations of kids in small towns, city streets, and country lanes had their first musical experience with harmonicas. Even today, millions of harmonicas -- more than one-third the world's production -- are sold annually in the US. An estimated 20 million Americans know how to play the instrument, and there are more harmonicas in the country than all other instruments combined. Indeed, some people insist that it was America that discovered the mouth organ.

Actually, a Chinese emperor probably deserves the credit by inventing a wind instrument called the sheng around 3,000 BC. The sheng (which means "sublime voice") consisted of graduated tubes with free reeds set in a vessel with a single mouth piece. Nearly 5,000 years later, travelers from the Orient brought the sheng to Europe. And, in 1821, a 16-year-old watchmaker named Christian Ludwig Bushmann, probably inspired by the Chinese instrument, put 15 pitch pipes together and began producing music.

Another clockmaker, Christian Messner, acquired a Buschmann Mund-aeoline (mouth harp) and began making and selling the instruments to other clockmakers. One was purchased by 24-year-old Matthias Hohner, who, seeing commercial possibilities in large-scale production of harmonicas, set up his own company in Trossingen, on the edge of the Black Forest. In the first year of operation, Hohner, his wife, and two other workers turned out 650 instruments. Today, the Trossingen plant of M Hohner, Inc, produces more than that in one hour, despite the 50 separate hand operations required.

Not only has production soared, but different models have proliferated until today there are more than 50. Basically, the harmonica is diatonic; it plays only the notes registered by white keys on a piano, but not the sharps and flats achieved via the black keys. A skilled, experienced harmonica player can compensate for this limitation by "bending" the reeds to get the half notes; this is a principle on which the popular blues style is based. In the chromatic harmonica, a slide adds the missing half-notes. The smallest Hohner model is the "Little Lady", 1-3/8 inch long; the largest is the Chord Rhythm Harmonica, which is 21 inches long and has 1,276 parts. The most expensive harmonica, gold with brass reeds, was made for Pope Pius V. Two years ago, when Shanghai-born American virtuoso Cham-Ber Huang made a guest appearance with the Central Philharmonic Orchestra of Peking, he used a special, $5,000 silver instrument.

This year, M Hohner, Inc, is introducing a new model and Huang is its inventor. As a musician, he is the only concert harmonica artist listed in the prestigious music encyclopedia, Riemann's Musik Lexicon. As a teacher, Huang heads the harmonica department at Turtle Bay Music School in New York, and is on the faculty of Kingsborough Community College of the City University of New York at Manhattan Beach. As a technician, he is director of research and development for M Hohner, Inc, in Hicksville, NY.

Cham-Ber Huang & Sissy NitschPhoto at left: Cham-Ber Huang leads members of his CBH Harmonica ensemble in a rehearsal session at the Turtle Bay Music School as Sissy Nitsch switches to the cello for the baroque number. The "Professional 2016 CBH" played by Huang, an internationally renowned interpreter of baroque and classical music, was designed by him in "Delrin".

The new Hohner model is the "Professional 2016 CBH", the initials identifying Huang as its inventor. It retains the hand-tuned bronze reeds of traditional harmonicas, but has been redesigned to incorporate improvements suggested by professional musicians in response to a Hohner inquiry. "They told us they wanted more resonance, more volume," says Huang. "They also wanted faster response and smoother action on the slide plunger. We achieved all these things, and more, by redesigning the parts and molding them from 'Delrin' acetal resin."

In previous chromatic models, the slide was a notched, flat, metal blade; in the CBH, it is half-round, and molded from "Delrin" AF, a resin containing "Teflon" TFE fibers for high resistance to abrasion and wear. "We wanted to eliminate the air leakage between one chamber and another that can blur a note," Huang says. "That called for an extremely tight fit, and a free-sliding motion. 'Delrin' gave it to us. The new slide shifts in a fraction of the time required by the old metal slide, and costs less to produce." Huang adds that "Delrin" is also vital for the friction-free motion of the spring-return plunger that actuates the slide.

In the CBH model, 32 resonating chambers are molded into a body of glass-filled "Delrin" 570. "It gave us the stiffness we needed in retaining proper dimensions in the complex body section, and in assuring quick and accurate assembly," Huang says. "It has other benefits, such as strength, toughness, and impact resistance that make it virtually unbreakable. Its resistance to moisture means that moving parts will continue to function smoothly. Its smooth, even texture in the contoured mouthpiece and face plates makes the CBH easy to hold, comfortable to play."

Ernest Graber, president of Graper, Rogg, Inc, molders of the CBH's parts, was in a select audience for the first performance of the new instrument as Cham-Ber Huang played the first movement of Bach's E-flat Major (Flute) Sonata to signal the first production run. "The original specification in the slide area had been plus-or-minus 0.002 inch," Graber recalls, "and at Cham-Ber's request, we retooled the cavity to lower it. When he came to check the fit, he didn't bother with a micrometer or calipers. He just assembled the parts, screwed on two reed plates, and began to play. When he kept on playing, we knew we had succeeded." According to Huang, "there's no other way to test a musical instrument. The professional harmonica player couldn't care less about dimensions. All he's interested in is how fast and how true it will play."

The "Professional 2016 CBH", now being produced in Hicksville, is the first Hohner harmonica to be produced in the United States. The company's other products -- keyboards, guitars, and other instruments and accessories -- are manufactured in plants throughout the world, but Trossingen remains the harmonica capital. Nearly every family there has at least one member working for Hohner; often jobs are passed from one generation to the next. Tuners, with an ear for perfect pitch, are very important people at the plant. They spend each day in small, individual rooms, listening to the sounds produced by a bellows drawing air across reeds, one by one, and making corrections where necessary. The town is the home of the State Music College of Trossingen, where harmonica, accordion, piano, and violin are taught.

Cham-Ber Huang regards the "2016 CBH" as an example of the harmonica's responsiveness to changing musical tastes. "Sure, you'll still find the mouth organ in the company of a fiddle and guitar at a country hoedown," he says, "but you'll also find it in concerts by the Rolling Stones and other rock groups. It's as much at ease in the hands of classical virtuoso John Sebastian, Sr, as it is in those of his son, leader of the now-disbanded 'Lovin Spoonful,' or in the hands of country and western star Charlie McCoy who was named instrumentalist of the year three times in a row."

Huang bought his first Hohner "Marine Band" harmonica in his native Shanghai when he was six years old, and taught himself to play it. His interest in the instrument continued as he pursued a degree in engineering at Shanghai's St John's University, and a degree in violin at the Shanghai Music Conservatory. In 1953, he arrived in New York and made his American concert debut with the harmonica at New York's Town Hall. Since, he has appeared in concerts throughout the world.

Despite his fame as a concert artist, Huang feels his greatest contribution to the art may be in his technical accomplishments. "I am very pleased to have my initials -- CBH -- engraved on the new '2016'," he says. "Incidentally, if anyone wonders about my first name -- Cham-Ber -- the explanation is simple. My surname is that of the first Chinese emperor, Huang, which means the royal colors of gold and yellow. When I was born my parents named me Tsing-Barh, meaning sky blue and crystal white, a combination that represents purity. After I left China, I felt this was all a little too colorful for most people; they had trouble pronouncing and spelling it. I wanted another name, and since my harmonica concerts generally fit into the musical category known as 'chamber music,' I injected a hyphen in the word to give it an Oriental flavor, and I have been Cham-Ber ever since."

Huang's affection for the harmonica is felt universally by those who have succumbed to its charm. John Steinbeck caught some of this in his Grapes of Wrath: "A harmonica is easy to carry. Take it out of your hip pocket, knock it against your palm to shake out the dirt and pocket fuzz and bits of tobacco. Now it's ready. You can do anything with a harmonica . . . you can mold the music with curved hands, making it wail and cry like bagpipes, making it full and round like an organ, making it as sharp and brittle as the reed pipes of the hills. And you can play and put it back in your pocket. It is always with you, always in your pocket." From the Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck, copyright 1939 and 1967.