jasonharmonica.com/thoughts on trying the Dimi


Thoughts on trying the Dimi Chromatic.

The Dimi Chromatic can seem confusing upon first try. The notes on the Dimi don't line up with the diatonic modes of the major scale, so simple tonal melodies are harder to find by trial and error than they are on the traditional chromatic harmonica. The Dimi has four enharmonic notes, which can also be confusing due to the number of alternate fingerings available.

However, if learning the Dimi is approached in the same way any other instrument is learned, it is not difficult. For example, in a beginner trumpet book, you would learn the fingering of some basic notes. You would combine these into scales and basic melodies using those notes. Then you build from there. Eventually you get used to where the notes are, and at that point, it's easy to play by ear, read music, etc.

In teaching the Dimi, I start with a method I have devised using 4-note patterns (tetrachords). There are only three of these patterns (with one alternate), and the "fingering" of these 4-note patterns are very similar to ones found on the traditional Solo layout. These patterns are then combined into scales.

The enharmonics (the notes that have two possible fingerings for the same pitch) may be the trickiest aspect of mastering the Dimi layout. Once the primary fingerings are ingrained, I introduce the enharmonics one at a time. When approached this way the Dimi can be mastered in an efficient way.

Once the initial hurdle of acclimating to the notes is overcome, the Dimi proves to be very practical for playing diatonic melodies as well as chromatic melodies. It works exceptionally well for playing in all keys.

In summary, the Dimi can be daunting on the surface, but really pays back the effort put in. It becomes quite practical and user-friendly as the player gains familiarity.