Oh, THAT 5th position...
- Subject: Oh, THAT 5th position...
- From: "Tim Moyer" <wmharps@xxxxxxxxx>
- Date: Fri, 12 Dec 2003 14:08:28 -0000
Last night I was noodling around on a Melody Maker tuned harp in G
(based on a C major Richter, yadda yadda), playing "Have Yourself a
Merry Little Christmas" and "The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting
on an Open Fire)". And I start thinking, okay, the Melody Maker
tuning allows a 2nd position major scale without bends, which in this
case is G, so it seems logical that I could play the relative minor
as well (same scale notes). So I head back to the keyboard, pick out
the G major scale (G A B C D E F# G), then shift it up a fifth to put
the tonic on the E to get the relative minor. The E also happens to
be the 3rd note of the C major scale (remember, this harp is based on
a C diatonic), which is the 2 blow on this harp. So by shifting the
tonic from the 2 draw to the 2 blow (and getting the low F# with a 2
draw bend), I'm playing 5th position. The upper F# is the 5 draw
tuned up, so it's all right there!
I had to go back to my circle of fifths chart to confirm that I was
playing in 5th position (C -> G -> D -> A -> E), although that claim
gets a little specious on a harp that's been tuned to play in 2nd
position (one might argue -- as Lee Oskar does -- that the G is first
position on this harp).
It's not too hard to transpose this to a normally tuned diatonic, but
you have to remember about that 5OB to get the upper F# in the
scale. Still, if you have a Melody Maker or country tuned harp and
are relatively comfortable moving around on it, you should be able to
get 5th position pretty easily. I found I could pick out my minor
Christmas tunes (God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen, We Three Kings, What
Child Is This) on the same harp, and even to do some improving in E
- -tim (old dog/new trick)
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