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

The problem is that these words are absolutely not interchangeable.
A mode and a scale are different.
I guess you consider them as identical because all modes from a scale share the same notes.
Ok, let's accept this as an assumption to simplify our understanding.
But then, a position can not describe a mode.

For example, let's say a tune is to be played on a D dorian mode.
I take my C harp, and I will be said I play in 3rd pos.
If the tune is in E Phrygian, on my C harp I'll play in 5th pos.
Now let's say the tune is in D Phrygian, and I still play on my C harp.
Would you call it 3rd pos because the root is D ?
But notes are different from dorian mode, the sound is very different from dorian mode.
It is not 5th pos, but it shares the exact same intervals, so it sounds exactly the same as 5th pos.
D Phrygian has the exact same notes as Bb Maj. So if I keep the first assumption that scale = mode, and if I extend it to position = mode = scale, then playing in D Phrygian would mean I am playing in 11th position.

And how would you call the position to play in D harmonic minor ? in D melodic minor ?
In D diminished ?
In D altered, knowing that it is a mode of a Eb minor scale ?
And even simplier : what is the position to play in D Maj ? Third pos ? But it is a minor position ...

Not speaking about tunes where keys / modes / harmonies do change.
Which is oftenly the case when you play other music than Blues.

No, it can't work that way.

Positions describe a way to play the Blues as it has been played for decades.
If you try to apply this concept to something else, it just doesn't work, and it becomes much easier to learn what a scale is and how to use it on a tune.

-----Message d'origine-----
De : harp-l-bounces@xxxxxxxxxx [mailto:harp-l-bounces@xxxxxxxxxx] De la part de The Iceman
Envoyà : samedi 31 mars 2012 12:27
à : harp-l@xxxxxxxxxx
Objet : 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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