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Positions

 

 

Other Scales can also be played in what are known as different positions. The basic is called first position, so our example of a C mouth organ plays C major in first position.

Second position (also called cross harp) is used to play in G major. It starts on the G of blow 6 but lacks the F# except the top G can be altered by bending it down to F#. This gives a bluesy sound and blues harmonica players will usually play using second position. The key they play in will be a fifth above the key of the harmonica.

To play in C major using second position an F harmonica would be needed.

Third position is used for the natural D minor scale. starts on draw 4 up to draw 8. In other words the minor scale one tone up from the harmonica key.

A G harmonica in third position would give a scale of A minor.

The sequence C, G, D, A, E, B, F#, C#, G# (Ab), D# (Eb), A# (Bb), F, C, G etc is known as the sequence or circle of fifths. This can be used to work out what key the different positions will play with different harmonicas.

eg An A harmonica in second position will produce a scale of E major. So someone playing blues in E would use an A harmonica.

Positions are particularly useful when playing a chromatic harmonica.