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Anybody know what to do with a Polyphonia No. 7

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Author Topic: Anybody know what to do with a Polyphonia No. 7  (Read 1230 times)
elkriverharmonicas
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« on: August 12, 2009, 12:46:24 pm »
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I've got one. Now what do I do with it?
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John Broecker
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« Reply #1 on: August 12, 2009, 02:04:54 pm »
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Hello, Dave.

A Polyphonia #7 by Hohner is an antique slideless chromatic harmonica. It's a very useful "glissando" harp, and is blow only, with a range starting at D below the bass clef, and ending at the D above middle C. It measures approx. 10-3/8ths inches from low note to high note.

Production of the Polyphonias (#5, 6 and 7) was stopped sometime in the early-mid 1970s. The Polyphonia #4 (Vineta) is still sold today, but it's a 6-chord harp, not a glissando harp. The Polyphonia #8 was a 3-deck chord harp, blow only, with 12 major, 12 minor and 12 dominant 7th chords, discontinued around 1950 (?) a guess.

It's super easy to play glissandi on a glissando harp. A glissando is a rapid chromatic note progression, up or down on the harmonica or other musical instrument (C-C#-D-D#, etc.).

Playing melodies on the Poly #7 are also possible with practice. So are arpeggios, but it takes a lot of practice.

"Cluster" chords are easy. If you play a slide chromatic, try pressing the slide button half way in, then blow or draw multi-tones together. That is a "cluster"chord," not very practical in most music. That's the same effect if you play multi-tones on the Poly #7.

John Broecker
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elkriverharmonicas
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« Reply #2 on: August 12, 2009, 08:45:23 pm »
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I got the Johnny Puleo glissando on it. That was easy, and cool. It's low as all get out. I thought, this will make a cool bass harp, but it's hard to go from say D to A for a two beat, cause you have to skip Eb, F, F#, G, Ab in between. That's gonna be the learning curve on this rascal.
40 seconds in, on this clip, Ernie Morris plays a solo on one of these Polyphonia No. 7 beasts.... After screwing around on this thing, I've even more respect for Ernie's wizardry.


I'll have to dissect that some more, but Ernie is glissandoifying the solo. It also appears he is playing it upside down.

This Polyphonia by the way, is from the Ray Tankersley collection. I've got three of Ray's horns now, the Polyphonia, the 48 chord and the Kratt Octave harp. The Polyphonia was from the 1950s probably and was, get this STILL FRESH IN THE WRAPPER!
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« Reply #3 on: August 13, 2009, 10:00:25 am »
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Hello, Dave.

I truly respect the harp players who played the Hohner Polyphonias & Chromaticas with great mastery.  Thanks for the great video.

They must have done a lot of practicing on these effects instruments, just as any other professional harmonica player would do.

I have the Poly #4, 5, 6 and 8, but no #7.  Hohner didn't make a Poly #1,2,3 or 9.

The Chromaticas included the 261,262 and 263 glissando harps (almost 3 octaves each, compared to the two octave Poly gliss harps). The Hohner double basses #265 and #268 are also in the Chromatica series, but aren't gliss harps.

The only 2 survivors of Hohner's gliss harps include the Chromatica #263, and the TrueTone Pitch Pipe #P3, a 13-reed, one octave, chromatic glissando pitch pipe harmonica, one reed plate on the wood comb.

The True-Tone isn't a circular-shaped pitch pipe. It looks like a 10-hole diatonic, with 3 more holes, and is smaller (5" long) than a 12-hole Hohner #364 Marine Band.

The only melody I can play successfully on the glissando harps is the Russian ballad, "Dark Eyes," otherwise known as "Oh Chechornia," composer unknown, arrangement by Nick Manoloff, copyrighted 1935, Calumet Music Co., Chicago, Illlinois. It's easy on the gliss harps, because the melody is chromatic, mostly up and down on the adjacent (chromatic) holes of the harp.

Changing keys is easy on the gliss harps. Once you learn the scales on the gliss harp, you can start anywhere you want. The note spacing pattern will be identical for each key of the same type (major, minor, etc.), and all music scales based on the 12-tone chromatic scale are available on the gliss harps. The gliss harps may be used for any style of music,with bending possible.

A gliss harp playing friend said he learned to play the gliss harp by playing along with recordings, and sitting in with bands, trying to find the correct key on the harp.

John Broecker
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elkriverharmonicas
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« Reply #4 on: August 13, 2009, 01:45:43 pm »
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I've got a Polyphonia No. 4, same thing as a Vinetta almost, except the chords are backwards from the Vinetta. As I understand it, the Polyphonia No. 5 is pretty much the same as my No. 7, except it also has identical draw reeds. Is that right on the No. 5?
Listening to Ernie's tone, I think he has a No. 5, not a No. 7.

The Polyphonia No. 4 is the one I retuned and mounted as a duo with a standard Vinetta to make my 12 chord harp.

So what is the No. 6 and No. 8? I have no clue.

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John Broecker
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« Reply #5 on: August 13, 2009, 08:49:00 pm »
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Hello, Dave.

The Hohner Polyphonia #4 (Vineta) pre-1937  had the identical chord setup as today's Vineta setup (left to right): F,C,G  blow, C7,G7, D7 draw. In the 1937 booklet, "The Art of Playing Hohner Chromatic Harmonicas," published by Hohner, New York, 1937, The Vineta's chords are illustrated as: G, C, F blow, D7,G7, C7 draw.

The Poly #5 actual pitch was D in the treble clef to triple high D (two octaves above the treble clef). It has double holes, vertically tuned to the same pitch, the first hole pair on the left is blow, the second pair is draw, etc. It's 8.25" long.

The Poly #6 starts at G below middle C, going to the G above the treble clef. It has double vertical holes, octave tuned, and is 8.5" long.

The Poly #8 is a chord harp, wiith 36 chords, 3 decks with two pairs of hinges: top deck, minor (12 chords); middle deck majors (12); and lower deck dominant 7ths (12). each chord has a separate bass note under the chord. It's a blow only instrumant, 12" long.

John Broecker


 
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elkriverharmonicas
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« Reply #6 on: August 15, 2009, 06:50:09 pm »
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John, I wonder if there is some kind of trade deal that can be worked out that involves Polyphonia No. 7 for the Polyphonia No. 8. The No. 8 is actually something I could really use for gigs.
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John Broecker
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« Reply #7 on: August 16, 2009, 09:39:04 am »
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Hello, Dave.

Thanks for the offer to trade your Poly #7 for my Poly #8.

But, I'll be keeping the Poly #8 at this time.

John Broecker
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elkriverharmonicas
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« Reply #8 on: September 04, 2009, 11:32:01 am »
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Just so you don't get offended John, that was a "to boot to be named later"  trade offer.


I suppose Puleo's crew probably did use a No. 7.... I saw a picture of one on my Puleo No. 2 album.
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