Bending an overblow 6 semitones

Someone asked me what an overblow bent up 6 semitones sounds like.

Here is is. (You may need to right-click to download the MP3 file.)

This is a Bb Overblow harp in production. It is far from done and has no wax to help make the note more stable. All this harp has so far is reed work and heavy embossing.

The unbent 6-overblow on this harp about 20 cents flat of Ab. Six semitones up from that is D, which is the same note as 8 blow. In the audio clip I play the 8 blow first to get the pitch into my head. Then I play the 6 OB and bend it up.

I aim for an Overblow harp to be able to play a bent overblow 5-6 semitones before I consider it ready to go. Will someone ever play that note as an overblow in a performance?


What's the point, then? Well, without an objective way to assess performance, how can you know what you are getting?

It follows that the higher you can bend that note without it falling of or squealing terribly, the better the overblow will sound in its more-often played range - usually bent up a maximum of 2 semitones in a performance.

This is not the best measure of the quality of a harp, but all the other qualities are hard to measure or even put into words. So for now, this is probably the most obvious way to determine the level of performance of an overblow harp.