Blues harp in modern classical music?
February 20, 2009 6:12 AM   Subscribe

Are there any good examples of contemporary "classical"/art music featuring the diatonic blues harp?

I have found few works scored for chromatic harmonica, like Villa-Lobos's concerto, but these don't interest me as much. I'm more interested in composers who have engaged with traditional blues harp sounds and techniques, the way composers from Country X will often write a "Concerto for Traditional Folk Instrument of Country X and Orchestra."
posted by No-sword to Media & Arts (4 answers total)
Don't know if this is much help but Buddy Greene is a great harmonica player. I looked at his stuff on itunes, but didn't see much there. I saw him in concert one time and he was playing great classical tunes with tracks, but it was awesome!! I believe he might have played an arrangment of flight of the bumblebee. That is about the extent I have with harmonica....
posted by snoelle at 7:33 AM on February 20, 2009

That's a damn good question and one that I don't really have an answer to. I have to say that all the composers that I know who have written for harmonica have written for the chromatic version of the instrument. Have you contacted music publishers about this? I know that several have websites where you can search for specific instrumentation.
posted by ob at 9:53 AM on February 20, 2009

Howard Levy comes to mind right away. He has gone beyond mastery of the instrument. Particularly, his Concerto for Diatonic Harmonica and Orchestra. Recent article on NPR.
posted by leapfrog at 12:20 PM on February 20, 2009

Wow, rarer than even I thought! Levy's concerto certainly meets the requirements, although I was hoping for something a little less drained of blues.

Ob, I haven't tried contacting music publishers—I didn't actually intend to play anything I found, so anything not available in recorded form wouldn't be of much use to me anyway. Sorry, should've specified.
posted by No-sword at 2:49 PM on February 21, 2009

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