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Comment: Condition: Very good condition., Binding: Trade Paperback. / Publisher: New York : Simon & Schuster, / Pub. Date: c1993. Attributes: 344 p. ill. 24 cm. / Illustrations: B&W Photographs Stock#: 2043360 (FBA) * * *This item qualifies for FREE SHIPPING and Amazon Prime programs! * * *
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Harmonicas, Harps, and Heavy Breathers: The History of the Harmonica and Its Role in American Music Paperback – November 10, 1993


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Editorial Reviews

Review

The Encyclopaedia Britannica of the harmonica (Larry Adler)

An unassuming and enexpectedly delightful as potent blues rising suddenly from a pair of cracked, cupped hands....A loving celebration both of the players and of their instrument (Billboard)

Highly enjoyable and informative....Well-written. (Living Blues)

Interesting and thoroughly researched....An essential volume for players, scholars, and fans alike. Field's writing style provides an easy read and his command of the field is unparalleled. (Blues Review Quarterly)

The first book to qualify as a definitive history of the harmonica and its place in American music....Excellent. (Country Music Magazine) --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

East Meets c h a p t e r o n e West `s musical instruments go, the harmonica is a new thing. Its bicentennial is still decades away. We have the Germans to thank for it (as for the bassoon, the flute, and the clarinet). --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Fireside; First Edition edition (November 10, 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 067179633X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0671796334
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 6 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,345,947 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
5 star
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4 star
18%
3 star
4%
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See all 28 customer reviews
Hats off to Kim Field!
Jonathan F. Gindick
This should be recommended reading for anyone who plays or is a fan of the harmonica.
John R. Stanley
Well written, entertaining, and loads of material.
R. Prince

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Peter Krampert on May 30, 2000
Format: Paperback
Mr. Field has written a book that no self-respecting harmonica should miss. It gives a comprehensive overview of the harmonica's rich and illustrious history. I learned more from a single reading about my instrument and it's players, than I did in the previous twenty years. Mr. Field should be applauded for a most outstanding effort.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Richard Hunter (richard.hunter@snet.net) on November 16, 1998
Format: Paperback
"Harmonicas, Harps, and Heavy Breathers" is a comprehensive, authoritative, well-written examination of the harmonica's role in musical culture. The author seems to have heard and understood the work of every major harmonica player of this century and many of the lesser-known ones, regardless of style or idiom. The book surprises us often simply by reminding us of the ubiquity of the instrument, as when the author points out that 3 of the Beatles's earliest hits featured harmonica prominently. The book is heavily illustrated with photos. It is likely to serve as the standard reference for its subject for years to come. Anyone who wants to learn about the traditions of harmonica music should have a copy.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Jonathan F. Gindick on January 7, 2001
Format: Paperback
Hats off to Kim Field! This is a great book and a much needed one. His excellent research is augmented with great writing. Every harp player in the land should own one.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Charles Sawyer on March 23, 2000
Format: Paperback
Generations of harmonica players waited for this superb book. Nothing like it existed until its first publication and now it has been republished (thank you Cooper Square). It is certain to become a classic. Field is a wonderful writer with a great eye for detail and a journalists instinct for interviewing his subjects. To some the harmonica hardly qualifies as a musical instrument, but to millions of others blowing into the pocket-sized "tin sandwich" is the breath of life. The Dutch call it the "moothy", the Scotch call it a "gob iron" and American's call it a "harp," shortened from "French Harp," the label on early imports of the instrument [from Germany]. Field's book can leave no doubt that the harmonica is a serious instrument on which one can make great art. From the Grand Old Opry to Carnegie Hall, from Little Walter the pioneer of amplified blues harmonica to country great Charlie McCoy to classical concert musician John Sebastian (Sr.), Field covers them all with zest and style. All that's missing is a musical CD to illustrate the styles! Let us hope it stays in print for many years.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Play It By Ear on June 25, 2005
Format: Paperback
Very inspirational to me and others who keep trying to swipe my copy. This is so well written and organized that I keep reading much of it over and over again. It is one of those books that you savior every word. It is very inexpensive for such a valuable, meaty, entertaining resource. Mr. Field, thank you for this tremendous read. This material would make a great PBS Ken Burns type documentary.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 12, 1998
Format: Paperback
Generations of harmonica players waited for this superb book. Nothing like it existed until its publication. It is certain to become a classic. Field is a wonderful writer with a great eye for detail and a journalists instinct for interviewing his subjects. To some the harmonica hardly qualifies as a musical instrument, but to millions of others blowing into the pocket-sized "tin sandwich" is the breath of life. The Dutch call it the "moothy", the Scotch call it a "gob iron" and American's call it a "harp," shortened from "French Harp," the label on early imports of the instrument [from Germany]. Field's book can leave no doubt that the harmonica is a serious instrument on which one can make great art. From the Grand Old Opry to Carnegie Hall, from Little Walter the pioneer of amplified blues harmonica to country great Charlie McCoy to classical concert musician John Sebastian (Sr.), Field covers them all with zest and style. All that's missing is a musical CD to illustrate the styles! Let us hope it stays in print for many years. --Charles Sawyer
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 9, 1998
Format: Paperback
Fields' (sic) book, in addition to being very well written and well researched, covers much more ground that its title might imply. Although this book DOES cover the history of the blues harmonica very comprehensively, it also explores other genres of music and the harmonica's role in them. Along the way, seemingly disparate musical styles are linked and the reader is made aware of a number of excellent musicians who have been somewhat marginalized or unfairly overlooked. By itself, this book is a rewarding reading experience. However, those readers who follow some of Fields' leads and actually listen to the music of some of the book's more obscure subjects will be further enriched. Nick Morrison Music Director KPLU-FM
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 9, 1998
Format: Paperback
Rarely has any instrument been given the treatment Fields provides: A panoramic look at the history of the harmonica as well as the great players from all musical categories--classical to jazz to rock--who have helped make it famous. Fields detailed biographies of great harmoinca players like John Sebastian Sr., Larry Adler, Sonny Terry, Sonny Boy Williamson, Paul Butterfield and others are unmatched, and his wonderful overview of the great harmonica bands of the early twentieth century collects stories and history neverbefore recounted. Sought after by ever growing legions of harmonica players, this book is also a terrific read for anyone interested in American music in the twentieth century.
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