Re: Only 7 "real" positions on diatonic (was country C)

> >>I do not agree with you when you say "invalid positions"  and how does it 
> >>make sense to relabel 12th to 7th?  By doing so we are getting away from 
> >>basic music theory,  something that I feel most harp players lack.   
> >>Labeling the positions 1-12 makes perfect sense to me, especially when I 
> >>am teaching theory to begining/intermediate harp player.  By using this 
> >>method of labeling people get to learn the circle of fifths even if they 
> >>don't want to.

I feel we should stick to an accepted standard, and as far as I'm 
concerned, that standard is a cycle of fifths.  If there are those who 
don't play in 7th through 11th positions, this in no way invalidates the 
positions.  It simply means they're harder and/or require certain 
techniques, be it overblowing, valving, retuning, or??

Howard Levy does fine in 7th thru 11th using overblows.  In fact, I have 
heard that 11th is a favorite of his.  Although I'm not fond of these, 
nonetheless I do play in them using windsavers.

Even though the tonic notes may appear on the harp, certain scales are
pretty much worthless without bends or other tone altering techniques. 
Does anyone use 6th position (B on a C harp) without altering the tones? 
How many songs have a flatted 2nd, 5th, and 6th, and minor 3rd and 7th? 
(What a nasty scale!) However, if you bend the 3rd down a semitone, you
have a nice "normal"  2nd.  Ditto the flat 6th to a fifth (easy if you use
windsavers :-) All of a sudden, you have a VERY usable minor - and it
resolves nicely to the VI (flatted) chord, i.e. in B, a G chord.  BB Kings
"The Thrill Is Gone"  is a perfect example of this change. 

> >My choice of the term "invalid position" was not a very good one.  Maybe a 
> >better choice would be "normal" and "extra" positions.  Before I read this 
> >list and found out the someone had already gone to the trouble of creating 
> >a position naming scheme I used to label them based on which step of the 
> >scale they started from.  To me "cross harp" was "in V (five)" system 
> >(applied to a C harp) relates to the circle of fifths names like this:
> >
> >    I) same as 1st or "straight" position, C major or ionian mode
> >    II) same as 3rd position, D dorian mode
> >    III) same as 5th position, E phrygian mode
> >    IV) same as 12th or "flat 1st" position, F hypomixolydian mode
> >    V) same as 2nd or "crossharp" position, G mixolydian mode
> >    VI) same as 4th position, A minor or aeolian mode
> >    VII) same as 6th position, B locrian mode

I think this is a logical way of labeling.  Before I found out about 
position names, it never occurred to me.  Of course, I've pretty much 
always played a C major diatonic, so it was simple to refer to "D minor", 
"A minor" (my favoite position :-), "B flat", "E minor", etc.  Once I 
found out about positions, then I also found that everyone agrees on the 
first 4 positions, but from there, some diverge into wierdness instead 
of what I view as the logical path - the cycle of fifths.

It seems that a lot of harp players don't read music or understand basic
theory.  Of course, if you just want to play harp as a hobby, this isn't
really needed.  But I feel that all serious harp players should have a
basic knowledge of theory, and at least be able to read a little - not
necessarily sight read (although that'll get you a long way in the studio
when you ask the producer where the harp chart is, he looks confused,
mumbles something, and tells you to double the violin :-), but at least be
able to figure out melody lines and chords. 

-- mike curtis

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