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Will I Repeat Myself on The Dimi?
Recently, a chromatic-harmonica-playing musician that I respect brought up an interesting question on a harmonica forum about playing the Dimi. His question is a perennial one for those who are considering trying the Dimi: "Won't I repeat myself more often if I play the Dimi?"
Most of us know by now that, due to the symmetrical construction of the Diminished scale, the Dimi has only three unique fingering patterns across all 12 keys. For example, the key of Bb plays the same, in terms of its "fingerings" as the key of Db, the key of E and the key of G. A Bb Major scale will have the same exact fingering options as the keys of Db, E, and G do.
The harmonica can be a tough instrument, and while we might ideally strive to transcend our instrument, at a certain point we will have to work with the practicalities of the harmonica and find what works on it. A common, and understandable, argument for the traditional chromatic harmonica is that the "fingerings" are unique and different for each key. This gives each key its own character and "forces" an improvising musician to play different phrases in one key than in others.
So, will an improvising Dimi player tend to repeat himself more often (than a Solo player would) because of the repeating patterns on the Dimi layout?
I don't think so. This is because the Dimi has so many more fingering options than the Solo does. Let's take, as a very simple example: playing Major scales in stepwise fashion.