[Harp-L] Positions and Modes

philharpn@xxxxx philharpn@xxxxx
Mon Oct 29 12:04:32 EDT 2018

All we really know is that positions are determined by the Circle of Fifths and that the various "keys" of the Circle represent some kind of Keys.

I think Winslow said positions are neither major keys nor minor keys--but I was never ever able o find his original post.

Back in the day, even before the Circle of Fifths was used, the Keys for major or minor depending on the available natural notes. 

First Position on a C harp was C major. 2nd position on C harp was G (mixolydian--G major with a flat 7) and 3rd was D dorian --a D minor.

Nowadays, with half-valved harps, extra reeds harps and the Slipslider extra-bending harp--every Key on the Circle of Fifths can be played in a major or minor or mode without much trouble.

Five-ten years ago, the only recourse to achieve expanded range of notes was either bent notes or overblow/overddraw notes. 

I never liked the overblows because they sounded like the harmonic of a note without the fundamental and sounded thin compared to a natural note or standard bent note.

What this means, is that today anybody can play chromatically on a diatonic harp without the trouble of dealing with oveblows. or even special tuned harps.

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