Re: [Harp-L] Re: Positions

1. What is described below is the Circle of 4ths. It reflects the flat keys, 
i.e., the keys with flats: F, Bb,   Eb, Ab, Dd. You must go counterclockwise 
around the Circle of Fifths to get a Circle of 4ths. 

2. The Circle of Fifths (going clockwise) looks at the sharp keys. C has no 
sharps, G has one sharp, D has 2 sharps, A has 3 sharps. If you put your hand 
on a piano keyboard at C and go up 5 notes you are at G; then D; then A. IF you 
go down (leftward) 4 notes from the C you end up at F.

3. "First position" is always the key stamped on the harp.

If you have a C harp, first position is C; 2nd position is G and 3rd   is D 
and 4th is A and so forth.

This continues clockwise until you get up to 12th position, which is F with 1 
flat (b).   Some people call 12th position "first flat" position -- but this 
is an oversimplification (not only wrong but incorrect) because they only key 
in which 12th position is "first flat" is the key of C. That is because in all 
other keys the 12th position is not a key with one flat -- or sometimes any 

If you have a key of G harmonica in your hand, 12th position would be C (no 
flats in it) !!?? First position would be G, 2nd would be D, 3rd would be A and 
so on going clockwise.

4. You don't have to take my word for it: simply look at the graphic of the 
Circle of Fifths cited. (Web addess is listed)   It shows an arrow pointing 
left under "4th" (that means counter clockwise) and a 5th with a right arrow 
under it (that means clockwise).

Sometimes this circle is shown reversed -- because if you play a "horn" or 
symphonic music (?) you are dealing with flat keys and it makes more sense to 
relate to the keys in terms of how many flats they have and in which order they 
appear. I'm sure the people who plays horns et cetera can explain this better.

5. At some point in recent history (was in the last 20 years or last 10 
years) musicians who knew about the Circle of Fifths noted how they fit into the 
positions that harmonica players always talked about. The system worked for the 
first three positions: IT MUST BE TRUE for the others. With no formal 
announcement, the Circle of Fifths (going clockwise) became the accepted standard for 
the positions on the diatonic harmonica. All I know is that about the time I 
started hearing about the "advanced" positions I was hearing about the Circle 
of Fifths (which I knew from piano). 

In the 60s, this Circle of 5ths system was not used;   everybody used to make 
up his own.

6. The Circle of Fifths not only can tell you at a glance how many different 
keyed harps you can play the key of C in, it also tells you the I, IV and V 
chords. that go with each key.   Key of C harp, I chord is C; key to the left of 
C is IV chord (F) and key to the right of C is G (V chord). People who know 
the I, IV and V chords to all keys think this information is gratuitous. People 
who don't are grateful. 

Some harp companies have printed up pocket cards with the Circle of Fifths on 
them. I think I have Hohner and Seydel cards about the size of playing cards.

If you don't have a Circle of Fifths in your harp kit, you oought to get one 
before you buy your next harp.

Keep on harpin, hope this helps.

In a message dated 1/31/08 7:05:40 PM, billrossoll@xxxxxxxxx writes:

> Here is a link to a visual depiction of the circle of fifths.
> Suppose the band is in "C" and you want to play 1st position.
> You look at the _12o'clock _spot because that is where "C" is located.
> It's the *1st place* you view so that's the harp you need to play *1st
> position *in the key of "C".
> But, suppose you want to play 2nd position.(Again, band is in "C".)
> You look at the 12 o'clock position to find "C:.(1st place you look at)
> Now you move counterclockwise one hour and find yourself at the 11
> o'clock spot which is where "F: is always found.
> You have now "visited" _2 locations_ on the circle, hence you have found
> _2nd position.
> _(The band is in "C" so you use an "F" harp to play _2nd position.)_
> Take it one step further and shoot for _third position._
> *First,* look at "C"(12 o'clock)
> *Second*, move counterclockwise to 11 o'clock where "F" is located.
> *Third, *move counterclockwise to 10 o'clock where "Bb" is located.
> Bb is the _third position _on the circle that you have looked at and so,
> Bb is the harp you want to play 3rd position if the band is in "C".
> I always set my harp case up in the order of "the circle."
> That makes finding the right harp a piece of cake.
> _
> _
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