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

seriously now, folks, one need not orient himself to harmonica using "position" at all. (I actually had a ball teaching Sunny Girl harmonica without ever talking positions, so one can skip this aspect completely and still end up with an amazing result - we were talking notes).

If anyone insists that you must label your orientation on the harmonica as a "position", that seems to enter the realm of conceptual intellectual debate which may be one step removed from playin' da music.

However, if you approach diatonic from a pure blues orientation, "position" does have its place. After all, its has been part of the blues harmonica lexicon for a loooong time.

-----Original Message-----
From: JersiMuse <jersimuse@xxxxxxxxx>
To: 'michael rubin' <michaelrubinharmonica@xxxxxxxxx>; 'The Iceman' <icemanle@xxxxxxx>
Cc: harp-l <harp-l@xxxxxxxxxx>; philharpn <philharpn@xxxxxxx>
Sent: Fri, Mar 30, 2012 7:04 pm
Subject: RE: [Harp-L] positions you can use on diatonic

I don't think in terms of positions, but in terms of keys.
I do play in all 12 keys. I'm more comfortable in some than in others of
I play in a Jazz trio, where we have about 50 standards in all keys, and I
use a single harp in C. It means a lot of work, but it is very useful to be
able to play the music I have in my head instead of licks I've learnt by
To improve my playing in all keys, I practice a lot. 
For example, here is an exercise I like : taking a master's chorus and
playing it in all 12 keys, like this :

The interesting point is that when you play in a key which is not usually
used by harp players, you can find licks that fits particularly well with
that key and that nobody uses.
You become like a gold prospector, getting the impression to explore and
discover new treasures.

BTW, I'm sure many other harp players can play in all 12 keys, amateurs &
professional. I know some of them. Some in the US, some in other parts of
the world. I would even say that some do it much more precisely than the
great Howard Levy. If you seek for them, you'll find them.



-----Message d'origine-----
De : harp-l-bounces@xxxxxxxxxx [mailto:harp-l-bounces@xxxxxxxxxx] De la part
de michael rubin
Envoyà : vendredi 30 mars 2012 16:46
à : The Iceman
Cc : harp-l@xxxxxxxxxx; philharpn@xxxxxxx
Objet : Re: [Harp-L] positions you can use on diatonic

This time I disagree with you.  Is the band playing in a key, at least for a
portion of the song?  Are you using a richter diatonic harp?
Then you are playing in a position.  Position are numbered by the
relationship of the key the band is playing in to the name of the harp as
measured by the amount of times moved clockwise in the circle of fifths.  No
amount of saying "I've moved a little past positions" can change that you
play in positions.

I learned to play in all 12 positions.  There is a video of me playing at
SPAH with Jimi Lee.  I play a blues and change positions every 12 measures.
It is my belief that currently, not every position sounds good in blues, so
it was more of an exercise.  Each position shines in
at least one style of music.   Some people did not like it because of
intonation issues (I definitely should have used an equal tuned harp and
could spend the rest of my life improving my intonation), some because I was
played lots of notes and I am sure some people felt it an egotistical
effort.  I am cool with all the reasons of not liking it.  What I hope
happened is that it broke the spell of "Only Howard Levy can do that!"  and
changed it to "Michael Rubin did that and I did or didn't like it, but I
know I could do it better than HIM!"  and it encouraged people to learn how.

Because of the way we are rapidly learning about the diatonic I believe that
in the near future most harp players will play in all 12 positions and that
players will discover ways to make most positions shine in most styles.  I
give it 25 years, max.  IMO.
Michael Rubin

On Fri, Mar 30, 2012 at 9:19 AM, The Iceman <icemanle@xxxxxxx> wrote:
> Pretty much depends on the individual.
> I can, but find certain positions to be not too useful for most scenarios.
> In a way, I've moved a little past "position" and just go for the notes
that I need wherever they may live.
> -----Original Message-----
> From: philharpn <philharpn@xxxxxxx>
> To: harp-l <harp-l@xxxxxxxxxx>
> Sent: Fri, Mar 30, 2012 9:57 am
> Subject: [Harp-L] positions you can use on diatonic
> The common rule used to be that there were 6 positions that you could 
> use on the diatonic.
> The rest were not exactly useless, just impossible. Then along came 
> Howard Levy,
> Playing 12 positions on one harp, he made the impossible  commonplace.
> But still, most people cannot play 12 positions or can they?


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