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

sounds like you are getting it, at least from my understanding of the definitions used by Michael.

Position playing on harmonica (1st, 2nd, 3rd, etc) can be related to the modes or not, depending on your skill in creating notes through bending techniques. If I play 3rd position on a "C" harmonica, I am playing in the key of "D". Now, if I just play in the mid range of the diatonic w/out using any bending techniques, it can be described as the dorian mode in the key of "D". If I substitute 5 hole inhale with 5 hole overblow, now I am playing a mixolydian mode in "D". If I add a 7 hole overdraw, it becomes ionian mode in the key of "D".

All of these can be considered 3rd position playing, although most may consider 3rd position playing on diatonic to be that minor sounding dorian mode. So, if your skills are good, you can fool the average harmonica player to a point where it might be difficult for them to figure out where you are on the harmonica or they assume you are using a non-richter tuned one. (I pulled this type of playing on Phil Wiggins at Augusta Heritage during an evening jam. He grabbed the harmonica out of my hand to see if it was altered as he couldn't figure out how I did what I did).

This is a bit of an advanced approach using advanced techniques, so here is where position and modes overlap, in a sense.

-----Original Message-----
From: ndavid.coulson <ndavid.coulson@xxxxxxxxx>
To: harp-l <harp-l@xxxxxxxxxx>
Cc: michael rubin <michaelrubinharmonica@xxxxxxxxx>; The Iceman <icemanle@xxxxxxx>
Sent: Sat, Mar 31, 2012 10:13 am
Subject: Re: [Harp-L] positions you can use on diatonic

I'm trying to understand this myself. Is there a difference between "playing in positions", where, for example, on a C harp you play the notes of the C scale but starting with the root note of G (Mixolydian mode of C), and playing in the KEY of G on a C harp? Maybe Michael is describing the former and Larry is describing the latter. In other words, when playing positionally aren't you primarily using and emphasizing all the notes of the 1st position (major) scale regardless of what position you're playing in, which is what creates distinctive sound of the mode? Whereas when you play in a key, you're adding the sharps and flats that enable you to play a major (or minor) scale in that particular key, regardless of the key of the harp you're playing. Please tell me if this is wrong. I'm not sure if my grasp of music theory is correct!



On Mar 30, 2012, at 3:56 PM, harp-l-request@xxxxxxxxxx wrote:

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 . . .

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.


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