[Harp-L] All this Positions and Modes stuff

Fred & Sylvia fsstov@xxxxx
Sat Oct 27 15:39:18 EDT 2018

I simply think of a "position" as the relationship on the circle of fifths
between the song key and the harp I have in my hand.  It has (relatively)
nothing to do with what notes (mode) I play on the harp.  That keeps it
simple.  For me, simple is better.  If I hear my buddy playing a cool solo
on a song in A, and I ask him what position he was playing in, and he says
4th, then I know he was using a C harp.  I find that useful.   Or if he says
he was using a C harp, then I know he was in 4th position, which is also
useful when transposing to another key.
I think positions are a well-established vernacular for the diatonic harp
(and less well established but equally useful for chromatic).  This is
completely different from knowing all the scale modes in all positions on a
harp IMO, albeit some modes are easier than others in different positions.
I just try to learn the major pentatonic and/or blues scale (or fragments
thereof) in the different positions (MP for 12, 1 and 2, BS for 2, 3, 4, 5,
6, 11) and ignore modes.  I am not that serious - 5 or 6 note scales are
enough for me to negotiate through common chord progressions.  I am not a
theorist, nor a professional, just a hobbyist, so fire away.
Fred S

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