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Harmonica Positions

Part of the Harmonica For Dummies Cheat Sheet

A harmonica position is the connection between the key of the harp and the key of the tune you play on it. Each numbered position plays the same way no matter what the key of the harmonica. The following chart shows the uses of some common harmonica positions:

Position Uses for Position
1st position Melodies in major keys; fiddle tunes; country tunes; folk songs; blues (top and bottom registers)
2nd position Melodies in major keys (but watch out for Draw 5 and 9); fiddle tunes with a flat 7th (the Mixolydian mode); major tunes that go below the home note; blues (all registers)
3rd position Minor key melodies (but watch out for Draw 3 and 7); fiddle tunes in the Dorian mode; minor blues
4th position Minor keys in the high and middle registers
5th position Minor keys (but watch out for Draw 5 and 9)
12th position Major keys (but watch out for Draw 3 and 7); the middle and upper registers
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