Re: [Harp-L] harp key???

Sebastien Fremal wrote:
<He can play with the same harp in seventh position...
<It's playable, but your friend has to get a lot of technic to do so. It's
<not easy to play chromatic on a diatonic harmonica, but it's not as hard as
<depicted by M. Hunter. It's really really really hard, but it doesn't take
<a lifetime if you concentrate on it.

My advice was intended to be practical, and I think it's quite a stretch to believe that a guy who can't tune his guitar down 1/2 step without mixing his harps up is going to be able to play 7th position, with the requisite overblows, on a rack without years of study (if ever).  You did say "It's really really really hard," right?  And that's assuming that you know enough theory to start with to know when you need to overblow, which this guy most certainly does not.  I doubt he even knows where to find a B on a C diatonic.

It wouldn't take a serious harp player with a significant knowledge of music a lifetime to learn 7th position, but it's not clear to me that the guy we're talking about is a serious musician, let alone a serious harp player. The likeliest time frame for this guy to learn the necessary overblowing technique and theory to the degree required to play even simple tunes in 7th position is never.

In fact, I wouldn't propose 7th position as the ideal solution to this problem to any harp player, let alone a novice.  Is there anybody on this list who thinks that the ideal harp for playing in the key of B (and on a rack!) is a C harp? I doubt it, for the same reason that I don't wear heavy boots when I go swimming: it's remotely doable, but it's s lot more work than fun.  And where less-than-expert players are concerned, it also sounds a whole lot worse. 

If there's a good reason for proposing this solution to a novice player who so far hasn't found the time to learn basic theory, let alone advanced harp technique, and who needs a practical approach right now, not years from now, I don't know what it is. 

Thanks, Richard Hunter

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