Re: [Harp-L] Artist Thomas Benton

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Richard Hunter

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Sep 27, 2018, 9:06:07 AM9/27/18
to har...@harp-l.org
I posted this message to harp-L in 2008:

> Benton recorded at least one LP (33 1/3 RPM) of light modern classical
> pieces, including "Gay Head Dances" (Gay Head being a place on or near
> Cape Cod, as opposed to a declaration of sexual preferences or
> activities--this was the 1950s, after all). I think the LP was called
> "Saturday Night at the Bentons", or some such title. I have no doubt
> that it is long out of print.
>
> I played the same pieces as part of a concert series on Cape Cod in
> 1978-79, and they are not easy. I had to modify some of the lines to
> make my execution more musical (specifically, a broken C# diminished
> arpeggio--not easy to hit all those jumps legato at speed). On the
> recording, Benton apparently hits them without fuss. So he had some
> facility, which means he played frequently. Whether or not he was a
> harmonica virtuoso, he loved the harmonica.

I recall discussing these pieces with a musicologist, during which
discussion I came to the conclusion that Benton was double-transposing some
of his harmonica lines, i.e. transposing to a key, then transposing form
there to a final key. I don't recall which documentation led me to that
conclusion.

The pieces in general were at least partly memorable--whih is to sya I
still remember parts of them.

Regards, RIchard Hunter

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Arthur Jennings via Harp-L

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Sep 27, 2018, 1:18:29 PM9/27/18
to Richard Hunter, har...@harp-l.org

> On Sep 27, 2018, at 6:05 AM, Richard Hunter <rhunt...@gmail.com> wrote:
>
> I recall discussing these pieces with a musicologist, during which
> discussion I came to the conclusion that Benton was double-transposing some
> of his harmonica lines, i.e. transposing to a key, then transposing form
> there to a final key. I don't recall which documentation led me to that
> conclusion.
>

I don't understand your explanation of "double transposing.

Richard Hunter

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Sep 27, 2018, 4:52:45 PM9/27/18
to arturoj...@icloud.com, har...@harp-l.org
>
> > On Sep 27, 2018, at 6:05 AM, Richard Hunter wrote:
> >
> > I recall discussing these pieces with a musicologist, during which
> > discussion I came to the conclusion that Benton was double-transposing
> some
> > of his harmonica lines, i.e. transposing to a key, then transposing form
> > there to a final key. I don't recall which documentation led me to that
> > conclusion.
> >
>
> I don't understand your explanation of "double transposing.
>

"Double transposing" means that he transposes twice: once from a particular
key to another, and then again to a third key from the second. E.g. target
key is Bb. I transpose to F, then to Bb from F as opposed to C. People who
play an instrument in one key (like a C chromatic) and switch to another
key may find themselves double transposing, first to orient themselves to
the new key, then to transpose to the target. Gerry Mulligan said in an
interview in Downbeat that he tended to double transpose when he went from
Bari sax to tenor.

Thanks, RH

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