[Harp-L] Positions Modes and the Harp_L List.

Laurent Vigouroux laurent.vigouroux@xxxxx
Sat Oct 27 14:35:43 EDT 2018

Hello Michael and all

Looks like there is an ambiguity about the term of positions.
>From your previous email, I've understood that by position you mean playing in a certain key on a given harp (for example playing in A on a C harp is fourth position).
If correct, this is more of a transposing scheme than anything, and is totally relevant to me. This is what I was referring to when I wrote "playing in C dorian on a Bb harp is equivalent to playing D dorian on a C harp"
It is useful indeed if a player is not totally fluent on Eb dorian for example.

But I'm not sure this is the way positions are envisaged by most players. They generally rely on this concept as a shortcut. "Tune in Am? I'll use 4th position on a C harp", without understanding anything about aeolian, harmonic minor or dorian.

This is my point: positions start by being useful (especially for blues) but in lots of cases they keep the player in an ignorance bubble. This is the reason why harmonica players tend to be considered as "non-musicians" by musicians who play other styles than classic blues.
I think David's image of a "lock on the way to play and envision the instrument" is very interesting.

Again, I totally respect people who use positions in blues and anyway everybody can do what he wants. 
But there is another way. An harmonica player can consider his instrument as any other one and learn music theory and harmony, without relying on positions.

Happy harpin'


On 27/10/2018 19:05, "[NAME]" <[ADDRESS]> wrote:

    We have had this argument before. You think you do not use positions but it
    is unavoidable unless playing music without a tonal center. You are like a
    fish who says he doesn’t use water.
    For brevity, I agree to disagree.
    On Sat, Oct 27, 2018 at 11:38 AM <dh at xxxxx> wrote:
    > Sorry Michael I don’t use positions when I play and I'm glad I don't
    > They are a lock on the way to play and envision the instrument
    > Aongus : Most of the great musicians everybody admire have relative pitch
    > (a pretty good one I would say)
    > As soon as you start working on your ears whatever you do that make you
    > improve is good. So I wouldn’t focus too much on relative or perfect pitch
    > Just learn to identify what you hear (for instance a harmonica player
    > using positions 😃) and sing what you hear and play (start simple)
    > David Herzhaft

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