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

No worry Cara, thanks to have precised.
It's always difficult on an email to get the real feeling of the person who
writes (plus my English is far from being perfect, which may not help :-)).

I do think with relatives also, but relatives to a scale and/or root, not to
a position.
At the end, I'm not sure the difference is huge. But it does make a
Effectively, it also depends on each one's needs, and on the "culture"
related to the music one plays.
Have a nice day,


-----Message d'origine-----
De : harp-l-bounces@xxxxxxxxxx [mailto:harp-l-bounces@xxxxxxxxxx] De la part
de Cara Cooke
Envoyé : mardi 3 avril 2012 17:20
À : harp-l@xxxxxxxxxx
Objet : Re: [Harp-L] Re: positions you can use on diatonic

Thank you, Brendan.  Educational, as always.  Until I read the material at
that link, I was unaware of that method.  However, I realized as I was
reading it that I use some of the same symbology and somewhat similiar ideas
for my personal harmonica tab (devised decades ago).  I guess my ideas
weren't all that off if it works for them, too.  The purpose built into my
tab was to be able to type the tab out on an early, rudimentary keyboard --
without the special symbols usually found in harmonica tab -- while
providing some form or concept of timing of the notes (not generally found
in tab for any instrument at the time).

Jerome:  If you understand, great.   I apologize if I seemed too cutting.
It didn't sound to me as if you did "get it".  Your remarks made it sound to
me like you consider the physical layout of the harmonica, and the notes on
it, to be an opinion.  While no one way of approaching artistic endeavors
ever really works completely for everyone, a term like "position"
is still a reference to a fact.  It is not an opinion.  It is a foundation
term that we can share amongst each of us on the same instrument because it
has a solid base and doesn't really rely on artistic interpretation.
Believe me, if we had no such terms with which to work, there are a lot of
people who would never understand what l have to say about playing bluegrass
on the harmonica.  Bluegrass musicians don't communicate in a way that is
particularly helpful to most harmonica players, though those of us who play
bluegrass also have no difficulty understanding what is meant.
The terminology, and the concepts that work with it, helps players from
different musical worlds bridge the communication gap.  I try, as much as
possible, to learn the terms and concepts that allow me to communicate with
others, even if it is not crucial to how I would play or approach my
instrument or music.


On Tue, Apr 3, 2012 at 3:48 AM, Brendan Power <bren@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>wrote:

> 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 instruments."
> 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
> 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
> Asia:
> 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 know).
> Brendan Power

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