RE: [Harp-L] Re: positions you can use on diatonic

Jerome wrote:

" To my opinion, if positions only refer to root notes, they are useless,
and the note name is a much better and precise information.
Especially when you communicate with other people from the band, who are
usually not harmonica players.
I'm surprised that harmonica players so much feel the need to use a separate
vocabulary, enabling them to better communicate with other harmonica
players, and complicates their communication with other musicians. Whereas,
to my opinion, playing music should mainly be the encounter of different

That's true: the concept of Positions on a harmonica is only of use to harp
players (for the player himself and also to describe what you are doing to
other harmonica players). It means nothing to other musicians and would only
confuse things, as Jerome says. 

As he only plays a C harp, it is better for Jerome to ignore the idea of
Positions and just talk of the root note and the scale ("I'm in D major" not
"I'm playing 3rd position major on a C harp". 

However, for the majority of us who use many different key harps, Positions
are a good way to maintain your bearings no matter which key harp you use.
It's like the clever Chinese 'Jianpu' numeric notation system used widely in

Notes are given numbers relating to the key and scale they're in, which
means you can switch keys easily without having to change the notation. The
Nashville Number System does the same for chord charts. This is the way I
think when playing all the time - I never consider a note's name (E, F, F#
etc), just its number in the key/scale I'm in.

Harp Positions are similar: they work irrespective of the key of the
harmonica, so are very useful for us. However, Position and harp key alone
are not enough: it's essential to name the scale and root note too,
especially when playing with other musicians (that's ALL they will want to

Brendan Power

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