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"Positions" on harmonica (guitar?)

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"Positions" on harmonica (guitar?)

Postby BJG145 » Fri May 03, 2019 7:15 pm

I'm just starting to learn chromatic harmonica, and I'm getting bogged down in talk of "positions". I ought to have enough music theory and Google knowledge to figure this out pretty quickly, but I just can't find an easy answer, so I thought I'd ask you lot.

I'm confused by this paragraph:

Most blues harp players play in second position, that is, say, for blues in the key of G you use a C harp. Now if you are a better harp player, and you really should have this in your repertoire, you can also play blues in D on a C harp, which is called third position.

...it goes on to explain that 3rd position is the most common approach to blues on a chromatic harmonica (which has a different layout to a "blues harp" or diatonic harmonica).

I understand the basics of modes, how you can start on the second note of the scale for a Dorian etc. But why is a tone up, called "third position", and does this have any relation to positions on guitar, or is it a harmonica-specific thing...? The numbering of the "positions" on guitar always confused me too, and I'm thinking there's some basic/universal music theory here I'm just not seeing...

Thanks!
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Re: "Positions" on harmonica (guitar?)

Postby Temp » Fri Jul 05, 2019 7:06 pm

I've recently been given a lovely Chromonica 270, so I'm swotting up on this stuff too. The video below suggests that the positions refer to the literal position of your mouth on the harp, which is separated into three (i.e. low, mid and high).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EpZrjwB6RH0

He follows up in more detail on his website:

https://www.tomlinharmonicalessons.com/ ... harmonica/

Whether this also applies to larger chromatic harps I've no idea - perhaps not, as it's, er...chromatic, so I guess there's as many 'positions' as there are octaves.

HTH.
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