[Harp-L] All this Positions and Modes stuff

Richard Hunter rhunter377@xxxxx
Fri Oct 26 14:51:57 EDT 2018

 Laurent Vigouroux wrote:

<I may sound picky and stupid, but I really think the concept of positions
prevent lots of <harmonica players from learning harmony and adventuring
beyond the I7, IV7 and V7 <chords. Even if one doesn't master the
overblows, he would largely benefit from learning <harmony and use the harp
in the key that proposes the best sounding notes.
<Of course, this is much less important for harpers who only play classic
blues. For them, <positions really are useful.

I play a lot of different stuff, including classical, jazz, rock, blues,
etc. I was trained in reading and theory decades ago, and I still find
thinking in terms of positions ON THE DIATONIC HARP to be very useful.

Each position has its own sound on the diatonic and its own feel.  The
"position" is a quick shortcut to that feel.  Just listen to Charlie
Musselwhite switch between 1st/2nd/3rd position on any number of his
songs.  Thinking in terms of scales and modes in that case would just add
another layer of abstraction between the feel and the harp.

Again, thinking "positions" is a shortcut, and shortcuts can be very
useful.  You just don't want them to be the only trick in your bag.

Regards, Richard Hunter
Check out Richard Hunter's 21st Century rock harmonica masterpiece "The
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Author, "Jazz Harp" (Oak Publications, NYC)
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