Re: Subject: [Harp-L] Looking for new inspiration

In a message dated 6/1/2007 5:40:52 P.M. Eastern Daylight Time,  
jonathan.f.hill@xxxxxxxxx writes:

How do  you find the best position for playing a tune?
"Position" playing is a good way to get to know where all the notes "live"  
on the diatonic. Move past position playing and into playing the music. Easier  
said than done, however.
A few of the most interesting players have evolved into playing the notes  
wherever they may be without attaching a position to them. I describe this as  
playing the harmonica rather than having the harmonica play you.
"Having the harmonica play you" is when you are limited by the harmonica -  
what you play sounds "harmonicky". This is not a bad thing, it just is. Sounds  
great for blues. "Hey, that sounds like 3rd position".
You can free yourself of the limitations inherent in position playing by  
truly learning where all the notes live - this means a firm knowledge and  
fledgling mastery over creating notes through technique as well as owning all  the 
givens. You can play the harmonica and tell it which notes you need without  
thinking position. 
Granted, if you learned to play harmonica as your first instrument and  
through positions, it is difficult to alter your orientation. If you played  
another instrument first, it is not quite so difficult. However, the rewards are  
well worth the effort. You may start to morph into a musician that plays the  
harmonica as well as a harmonica player.
In learning all the techniques to create notes not given by merely  breathing 
in and out, you will discover the differences in the tone  quality based on 
the physical aspects of reed vibration - ie, OB's sound  different. Some of us 
are on the path of seamlessness, trying to minimize  the differences. I've 
come to conclude that there is no way to completely solve  this dilemma and, in 
essence, agree with a lot of Richard Hunter's observations.  However, it is a 
lot of fun to use innovative timing and placement  solutions help minimize the 
differences in tones to create more fluid  results. 
Once you take all this into account and know where all the notes live, you  
can relate this knowledge to which "position" (or orientation) gives you the  
best results for playing a tune based on your level of mastery over the  
techniques. You can use position as a reference point, but I suggest that if you  
move beyond position playing mindset, you will free up your ability to create  
and lessen the limitation that the harmonica can place on you as a  musician.
The Iceman

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