Re: [Harp-L] Diatonic Positions, three Majors, three Minors

Jim Rumbaugh wrote:
<Robert asked, Why not teach 1,2,12 (majors), then 3,4,5 (minors) 
<You could. I think a beginning student might not appreciate the importance of 12th. It would depend <on what type of material they are trying to play. When I began, I had more need for 3rd position <than 12th, due to the tunes I wanted to play.   I found 12th to be easy to understand because I <learned 3rd first, but then again, it could be argued that learning 12th first would help somone <learn 3rd. 

I've practised various pieces in 12th position over the years, and I still don't understand how 12th position--F major on a C harp--is superior in any way to 2nd position.  What notes of the F major scale or F mixolydian scale, or of the chromatic tones surrounding those scales, are not easier to get in 2nd position on a Bb country or standard tuned harp, compared to 12th position on a C harp?  To me chording is one of the most important characteristics of any tuning, and it appears to me that the chording options are significantly better in 2nd position for the music harp players play most often.  

There are certain things that can be done in 2nd position that can't be done in 12th.  You can't play an octave on the tonic or the third starting in the bottom octave of the harp in 12th position, both of which are doable in 2nd position; in fact, in 2nd position you can do octaves on the tonic and from the third to the 11th.  To get the flat 7th in 12th position in the bottom octave, it's necessary to overblow on the first hole, and this is a very difficult overblow, even on a perfectly set up harp.  In 2nd position it's a pretty easy bend. In short, certain power moves in 2nd position aren't available in 12th.   

Can someone please tell me what 12th position is especially good for--what you would rather play in 12th than 2nd, and why?

Thanks, Richard Hunter

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