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Key To The Railway

robfraser's picture

I had fun using a few different harp keys for my chug and gave myself a thorough lung and dexterity workout! Time for a breather!


KeyS To The Railway

Jim Reynolds's picture

Thanks Rob for the details on your selection of harps and positions. Bottom line: it sounds great!

Key To The Railway

Jim Reynolds's picture

This contest idea was super! Although I didn't enter it's both entertaining and inspiring to listen to them all. Rob your piece really was outstanding. Great tone, lots of different texture including the squeals, solid catchy rhythm and of course those changing keys. I heard "low D" and other keys thrown around in the comments.....what keys did you use and are those harps you can buy at any harp house without going broke or custom tunings? You've got it going brother, it's a pleasure to listen in!

Cheers Jim!

robfraser's picture

Thanks for your comments Jim, I'm very flattered!

The piece is in the key of A and starts on a low D harp for the I chord then a G harp (IV chord) and A harp (V chord), all played in 2nd position. After that the next 3 passages are on a D harp with the low D coming in between the passages, again 2nd pos. The high (and low) end 1st position stuff following that is on the A harp, again with a bit of low D thrown in and the return to the 12 bar finish is low D, G and A again.

The low D is a Hohner MS Pro Harp and the rest are regular tuned Marine Bands.

The contest was great, plenty of good submissions and I think very rewarding for contestants and listeners alike. Glad you liked my chugging!



Nedrick's picture

Congratulations Rob. The shift of momentum at the high notes was nice!


jodanchudan's picture

Well done! A cool piece and love the harp switching!


tomsnow's picture

I handshake your tune too! Congratulations Rob. I really enjoyed your piece which has a lot of good ideas played with taste!


hank stefaniak's picture

Well done Rob!! Solid entry and a wonderful result!! Lots to learn from you and this fine piece of music!! Keep 'er going!!


yazoo's picture

Congratulations Rob, as I think you are a fellow countryman I look forward to meeting you to demonstrate your piece in person.

King of the Chug

Troy Wilson's picture

Congratulations Rob.

Madcat's comments:

Peter Madcat Ruth's picture

Very nice chugging! Using harp switching to establish the chord structure at the beginning and end of the song was very cool. Your harp switching technique is masterful. The rhythm stayed rock-steady throughout the piece. Very Well done!

Cheers Madcat!

robfraser's picture

Thank you very much for the feedback Madcat. Such a great thrill and an honour (seriously!) to be listened to and receive comments from professional harp players! Cheers again!


Joe Filisko's picture

That harp switching must be an amazing sight to behold. At times it was perfectly seamless. I really liked the "One Way Out / Room to Move" groove with the stop in it and would have loved to hear more of it with the harp switching. Nice tone happening out of that low "D". JF

Cheers Joe!

robfraser's picture

Thanks a lot for the feedback Joe, it's really great to hear what all you pro's have to say about our tunes! I wasn't aware of the tracks you referenced but, thanks to you and Youtube, I am now! John Mayall's "Room To Move" is awesome and it's fantastic to be compared with that- I might incorporate some "chicka chicka" into mine! Cheers, Rob

Comments - Tom Ball

Tom Ball's picture

The first thing that captured me was the tone – deep and well expressed. All those harp switches must’ve been tricky to accomplish, but the result is quite cohesive. The flurry at 2:39 reminded me of Sonny Terry. The first position stuff (2:56–3:20) is particularly nice. Really fun, this one.

Cheers Tom!

robfraser's picture

Thanks for the comments- really appreciated! Played the tune at an open mic session the other night and got a great reception- fun indeed!

Comments - David Barrett

David Barrett's picture

Love the low harp. Nice chording idea. Nice harp switching... it was done very smoothly. Nice stop time at :55. Nice splits at 1:40. Cool 1st Position ideas at the end. A fun entry.

Cheers Dave!

robfraser's picture

Many thanks for the feedback David. I'm thinking of developing this into my live party piece! I've since tried it in G using low 365 C, low F, G and C and it sounds great just that bit lower!


yazoo's picture

Verrry smooth, I would love to see a video of you doing those switches, and how did you get the piece to 4 mins exactly?...nice one

Pure fluke!

robfraser's picture

Haha, the timing was just lucky! Like I imagine most of us did, I'd done umpteen practice takes before getting the recorder set up and usually ran over four mins. At the first recording I decided to cut the ending short, clipped my steam hissing finish and fortuitously landed right on 3.59 mins! As for the switching it was tricky at first but you soon get the hang of it with a bit of perseverance. I had the harps on a pillow to cushion unwanted clattering! Give it a try!

Nice patterns

ErwinIost's picture

Nice job Rob...good rhythm and great ideas!!! also good tone.


hank stefaniak's picture

Mellow and rhythmic - like the way you covered the harp hi/lo - solid!!!!

Great Work!

patricia mifsud's picture

I loved this-I liked the way you were all over the harp & the use of different keys-very classy!

Great playing!

jodanchudan's picture

Cool rich tone! I like the smooth-sounding train whistles and all the variation - in dynamics, keys, rhythm, and range of holes.