Re: [Harp-L] flat keys

If you're talking about diatonic harmonicas, the question of flat and sharp keys is less important than matching the key of the harp to the key of the song. 

Each key of diatonic has a set of notes limited to the major scale of that key - and not even a complete scale, at that. It also offers a limited set of chords and harmonies, while certain notes bend up or down in specific ways according to the specific hole.

For all these reasons, players usually chose a key of harp that's closely related to the key of the song - it doesn't have 
to match and usually doesn't. For instance to play a song in the key of A major, most players will chose a D-harp. For specific reasons they might also choose an A-harp or even a G-harp or an E-harp.

The relationships between the key of a harmonica and the key of a song is called a position. Positions are named according to the circle of fifths.

, you might choose a D-harp, an A-harp, or a G-harp ( in order of popularity). Those keys of harp relative to a song in the key of A correspond with second, first, and third position, respectively.

Here's a fairly concise explanation of positions by onetime harp-l contributor Mike Will: The Harp Reference: Positions
The Harp Reference: Positions
Positions Harp Key, Position, and Music Key Position/ Harp Key 1st Major 2nd Mixolydian 3rd Dorian 4th Aeolian 5th Phrygian 6th Locrian 7th 8th 9th 10th 11th 12th Lydian C C G D A E B F#/Gb Db Ab Eb   
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Winslow Yerxa
President, SPAH, the Society for the Preservation and Advancement of the Harmonica
Producer, the Harmonica Collective
Author, Harmonica For Dummies, ISBN 978-0-470-33729-5
            Harmonica Basics For Dummies, ASIN B005KIYPFS
            Blues Harmonica For Dummies, ISBN 978-1-1182-5269-7
Resident Expert,
Instructor, Jazzschool Community Music School

 From: Lloyd Short <lloyd.arthur.short@xxxxxxxxx>
To: harp-l@xxxxxxxxxx 
Sent: Saturday, September 6, 2014 6:02 PM
Subject: [Harp-L] flat keys

what's the real motivation for getting a flat key harp. Assuming no other
instruments existed in the world, and acoustic harp only remained, why
should I choose Bb over A or Eb over D? is there a tone difference ? I know
I just gave examples of a key sharp, not flat, but you should get the point
of what I'm asking.

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