Re: Song Keys; What's this Harp?
In a message dated 95-07-05 12:31:18 EDT, you write:
>How about an idiot's guide to this 'little trick' it would be very
>useful, I must have missed the original posting.
The "trick" is quite simple, but requires some experience with
blues and a good ear.
We know blues uses the I,IV and V chords. The I chord is the
key of the song. If you are playing a C harp and cross-harping
the I chord is a G. (see numerous posts on chords and changes
in blues). I listen to the song, waiting for the I chord to play,
and noodle around for the note that sounds right with the
chord. This note is the key note. It gets easier the more that
you do it. When you find it, just count up C,D,E,F or whatever
from the 1 blow to identify the key.
Alternatively I find it a little easier to identify the V chord note. In
most blues the turnaround ends in a strongly played V note. If
its cross harp you can't play a good V chord so the harper often
does a 1 draw. This note is very easy to find even if you are
in the wrong key. Just count up and you're there.
Sometimes you searching with a harp that does not have the
I and V as natural blows or draws so you might have to change
harps a few times. I once saw Charlie Mussewhite try four
different harps before he got the right one.
If you are playing along with an old recording or on a tape
player you might be "On the crack" so matching might be
If you are playing with a band, it helps if you know enough
guitar to watch the bass or the guitar player. Watch the piano
players thumbs. He keeps pounding them on the I chord note.
You could also ask and if guitar players really cared about the
harp they would tell you in the first place.
There has to be other methods. I always thought the hunt
idea was a little too much of a brute force method. I would
like it if there were an elegent trick that you could just count
the beats and divide by 4 or something.
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