[Harp-L] All this Positions and Modes stuff

Laurent Vigouroux laurent.vigouroux@xxxxx
Mon Oct 29 05:25:14 EDT 2018

Arthur wrote:
 "   Again, I think you're trying to pack too much into the position concept.
    Positions define the relationship between the key of the harmonica and the key of the music. They are only useful if we play instruments of a number of different keys. If you only play one key of harmonica, positions aren't useful."

Your way of seeing positions is totally ok for me.
But again, I would like to highlight this is not the way most players consider positions. For them this is more than often a shortcut which "allows" them not to learn music theory.

"Tune in Am? I'll use 4th position on a C harp and play the blues riffs I know in this position", without understanding anything about aeolian, harmonic minor or dorian.
This is what annoys me in the concept of positions, especially when one plays non blues music.

I think the current discussion about positions would not even exist if the concept was just used as a transposing tool.
The problem is we have legions of harmonica players who plays 2nd positions (or 3rd or 5th) licks in contexts where this makes no sense, because they've been told things like "tune in minor? Use 3rd or 5th position and that'll be ok".

Why don't most players learn the harmonica as any other instrument, by learning to obtain all the notes and learning music? 
Today it's totally feasible (overblows are not that difficult when taught well) and this is actually done by a new generation of players.

The problem is that this is difficult for some people (experienced players, teachers) to change the way they've always seen the instrument. 
I used to be like that actually (

Again, I would like to make clear I'm not talking about classic blues fans. They perpetuate a tradition and this is great.

But today, the diatonic harmonica has become a fully chromatic instrument and this is also great!

Happy harpin'


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