Why is third position a minor key?

Flying Saucer 4Close encounters of the third kind
This question was asked by a student in our Harpin’ By The Sea beginners’ workshop; we had touched on positional playing as a way to extend the scope of the diatonic harmonica. And to be honest, it’s a fair question. Perhaps we accept the fact too easily, without asking or fully understanding the reason why. But we were a group of beginners. So we decided to explain the finer details after the workshop for those who were interested, rather than risk putting the majority off music for life. Here’s the result.

If you are unfamiliar with the concept of modes and positions, then I recommend you first check out the post entitled Modes (or visit Modes via the Theory menu at the top of the screen) and come back when you’re comfortable with everything. It’s quick and it won’t hurt! (more…)

3rd Position Blues Harp – An Introduction

Harp Pic 2Anon they move, In perfect phalanx to the Dorian mode, Of flutes and recorders. Paradise Lost (Milton)

When we first take up the diatonic harp, we’re on a mission from God. Nothing, but nothing’s going to get in our way. In rapid order we buy some cheap shades, a big hat and set off on a crusade to find that sound. You know the one. It goes da DA da da and fits in your briefcase.

We raid every jacket pocket in the house and dredge the sofa for loose change. Then we invest our accumulated capital in a used copy of Play Like Walter in Ten Minutes while bidding for an entry level harp with a fancy name. (more…)