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

In re-reading Michael's post, perhaps the link between these differing opinions is:

On a harmonica, position = mode = scale.

In describing where you are at on a harmonica, these words may be totally interchangeable.

Whataya think, Michael?

-----Original Message-----
From: JersiMuse <jersimuse@xxxxxxxxx>
To: 'The Iceman' <icemanle@xxxxxxx>; harp-l <harp-l@xxxxxxxxxx>
Sent: Sat, Mar 31, 2012 3:23 am
Subject: RE: [Harp-L] positions you can use on diatonic

As I said, I don't use positions, because I don't even know what it is as I've 
never seen any convincing definition. 
I play with scales & keys, like a lot of musicians.

I do agree on few points (if I correctly understood your thought) :

- you can play music without any kind of conceptual or theorical material. But 
at a certain point, you'll be limited. There are things the ear can not get 
without working it. Using a triton substitude, or an altered scale for example, 
is not something that comes out of mind by coincidence. Of course, there is 
nothing mandatory playing with that material. But if you want to play with it, 
you have to work on its theory, before integrating it into your ear, and later 
into your playing. I want to play with that material because I like the music it 
creates, and I don't feel obliged to play only Blues.

- when speaking about blues, positions can be useful, and made its proof, 
especially if people is reluctant to any kind of theory. But I'm not sure they 
are that much more useful than learning corresponding blues scales, with real 
note names. And it is not even much easier to explain. One will still wondering 
what exactly is a position after many years of practice.

- if one wants to play something else than Blues, notes & scales have definitely 
their places. After all, it has been part of the musical lexicon for a much 
longer time.

-----Message d'origine-----
De : harp-l-bounces@xxxxxxxxxx [mailto:harp-l-bounces@xxxxxxxxxx] De la part de 
The Iceman
Envoyà : samedi 31 mars 2012 02:08
à : harp-l@xxxxxxxxxx
Objet : 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' 
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 course.
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 heart.
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.





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