[Harp-L] Questions on Bending/OB/OD and Scales/Music/TAB
Tue Apr 25 17:48:07 EDT 2017
If the music is written in the key of C -- that is to say, the song itself is in the key of C -- then the harmonica key to use is F. Second position on an F-harp is C.
Look at the circle of fifths. If you know the key of the song (C in this case) and you want to find the harp that will play in that key in second position, move one position *counter*-clockwise on the circle: C --> F.
If you want to play third position on a song that's in C, move one *more* position counterclockwise. To play a song that's in C in third position, use a Bb-harp.
In the case of a song that's in the key of Db, to choose a harp for second position, move one place counterclockwise to Gb (the harmonica in this key is usually labeled as F#).
If you have a harmonica in a particular key -- lets say a harmonica in A -- and want to know what key would result if you were to play it in second position, then move *clockwise* on the circle. You could use an A-harp to play in E in second position, while one more position around the circle will tell you that you could use an A-harp to play in the key of B in third position.
The number of sharps or flats in the key signature will not match the second-position key. The second-position key will always have one less sharp or one more flat than the key signature of the song.
For instance, to play in the key of G in second position, you'd use a C-harp. C has no sharps or flats in its scale, while G major has an F#. If you need the F#, then you use your bending skills or sly avoidance tactics to overcome this difference. The expressiveness of playing in second position is so compelling that players are willing to deal with this inconvenience.
Do I think my book would be good for you? Why *of *course, dear boy! (What did you expect me to say?) Winslow Yerxa
Producer, the Harmonica Collective
Author, Harmonica For Dummies, Second Edition: ISBN 978-1-118-88076-0
Harmonica Basics For Dummies, ASIN B005KIYPFS
Blues Harmonica For Dummies, ISBN 978-1-1182-5269-7
Resident Expert, bluesharmonica.comInstructor, Jazzschool Community Music SchoolPresident emeritus, SPAH, the Society for the Preservation and Advancement of the Harmonica
From: Leonard Schwartzberg <leonard1 at xxxxx>
To: 'Winslow Yerxa' <winslowyerxa at xxxxx>
Cc: 'Harp-L' <harp-l at xxxxx>
Sent: Tuesday, April 25, 2017 1:29 PM
Subject: RE: [Harp-L] Questions on Bending/OB/OD and Scales/Music/TAB
Winslow; Thanks so very much for the time you've spent replying to my "simple" questions.
On the 2nd method (transpose for the key of harmonica), that's seemingly the main method of usage.
Question is, given the second method, how do you choose which key of harmonica to use assuming you want to play in 2nd position crossharp?
If the music is written in the key of C (for example), then I play 2nd position, key of G on my C harmonica.
Therefore, does it follow that if the music is written in the key of Db (for example, because it's got Db Eb Gb Ab Bb shown near the Treble Clef Key Signature) then should I choose an "Ab" harp to play in 2nd position?
Also, considering that you obviously have a great understanding of harmonica, and positions, and playing (overall) would your book "blues harp for dummies" be a great book for me? Thanks, Leonard
From: Harp-L [mailto:harp-l-bounces at xxxxx] On Behalf Of Winslow Yerxa via Harp-L
Sent: Tuesday, April 25, 2017 3:31 PM
To: Leonard Schwartzberg; 'Harp-L'
Subject: Re: [Harp-L] Questions on Bending/OB/OD and Scales/Music/TAB
There are two different way to treat written music on diatonic harmonica.
One is to write it at actual pitch and let the player figure out where the notes are on different keys of harmonica. The Broadway musicals I've played (Big River, Floyd Collins) do that. (I have a couple of tricks for reading and transposing on the fly for diatonic that I figured out while playing Big River.) I actually preferred that approach as I sometimes chose a different harmonica from hat was indicated or expected. When I transcribed John Popper's solos for the songbook to the Blues Traveler CD "four," John also chose that method - actual pitch notation.
The other practice is to transpose for the key of harmonica, so that Blow 1 is always written as Middle C, Blow 2 as E on the next line up, and so on. That way the notes on the staff always correspond to the same holes, breaths, and bends/overbends. David Barrett has started to use this transposing method at bluesharmonica.com Transposing for the key of the instrument has been done for centuries in classical music for Bb instruments (clarinet, trumpet, tenor sax), Eb instruments (alto and baritone sax), and F instruments (French horn, English horn). That way when the player switches instruments s/he doesn't have to make the notes correspond to a completely different set of fingerings. (Also, until the mid-19th century, trumpets and French horns were diatonic instruments that could be put into different keys by inserting a length of tubing between the mouthpiece and the horn, much like the diatonic harmonica, and clarinets came in both Bb and A.) Writing for the diatonic harmonica as a transposing instrument does make life easier for the diatonic player. However, it also turns him/her into a basket case who must rely on music already transposed for the diatonic. Tab does the same thing. Most written music is published un-tranposed, so if you're going to plunge into reading music on diatonic, learn to transpose - it will open up a much wider world of music to you. Winslow Yerxa Producer, the Harmonica Collective Author, Harmonica For Dummies, Second Edition: ISBN 978-1-118-88076-0
Harmonica Basics For Dummies, ASIN B005KIYPFS
Blues Harmonica For Dummies, ISBN 978-1-1182-5269-7 Resident Expert, bluesharmonica.comInstructor, Jazzschool Community Music SchoolPresident emeritus, SPAH, the Society for the Preservation and Advancement of the Harmonica
From: Leonard Schwartzberg <leonard1 at xxxxx>Next topic: Scales...
Scale Degrees (on C.. 1=C; 2=D; 3=E, etc)?
Harmonica TAB (1+ 2 2'', etc. as per music)
Notes on staff (EGBDF, FACE... but when changing harp to A HARP, do we still read the notes as EGBDF, etc.? or, if reading music, do we need to transpose in our head?)
Notes on scale (cdefgabc) but when changing harp (let's say to A harp), once again, how to sight read the notes? Or do we need to
write down the scale degrees? Or the TAB? Or??)
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