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David Brancazio

When did you start playing melodica?


What is your playing level?

Intermediate, I suppose. I'm a long-time piano/keyboard player, good at playing by ear.

What musical genres are you interested in?

“Second line” style jazz  (i.e. playing in the streets)

Improvisational jazz & blues

Jazz & rock standards

Jazz/rock jam sessions

What is your musical background?

6 years of classical piano and music theory as a kid;

Bandleader/participant in rock/jazz/jam bands

Play guitar, bass, mandolin, accordion, percussion; enjoy experimenting with other instruments

Bandleader and arranger for ‘street’ bands (mostly marching band instruments)

What melodicas do you play?

So far, just Hohner 32’s & 37’s.

Anything to add?

I live in Boston, and we have a lively “activist street band” scene which I am a part of (see  I started one, called the Boston Area Brigade of Activist Musicians.  Since these bands are all acoustic and mobile (like marching bands), and since I’m a keyboard player who wanted to participate, I learned melodica.  Playing a melodica in a marching band has it’s limitations!  For one, it’s hard to compete with louder instruments.  On cold days, brass instruments go sharp and the melodica sounds flat.  For work, I’m a mechanical engineer who loves experimenting, prototyping, and inventing, and I’m fascinated by musical instrument design.  If I can’t find a loud enough melodica, I’ll have to create one!  So far, I’ve come up with some quick fixes to get more amplitude, like playing through a larger diameter corrugated tube, and cutting away portions of the rear cover.  If you have ideas, I’d love to hear them.

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