Newton Fourkey is a big idea comprising hundreds of tiny details. I give myself slim odds that this post will last a whole day without need of minor or even major revision (pun slightly intended).
Here we go ....
https://www.brendan-power.com/forum/dow ... iew&id=515
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Each Fourkey harp also has, in addition to the mentioned modes, one melodic minor scale, namely the minor parallel to the lowest of the 4 major keys. For example, a harp labelled in C has a harmonic Am scale:
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a c d f g a b c# e f# g# b
What's sort-of going on is that playing in 4th position lets you play either a normal major scale or a natural minor scale, and the various minor modes could (in a way) be viewed as having elements from both major and minor scales. Note also that this include all the notes to play in harmonic minor, as well as Dorian minor.
As 4th position also lets you play a Mixolydian scale, it seems to be a very free position to play in
3rd position lets you play a major, Mixolydian and the scale jazz people refer to as "melodic minor" , that is, a scale that starting from an 'a' looks like this: 'a', 'b', 'c', 'd', 'e', 'f#', 'g#', 'a', both going up and down.
2nd position lets you play a major scale or a Mixolydian scale.
1st position pretty much means you're stuck with the major scale. The notes outside the major scale are precisely those that are the least likely to show up as accidentals.
This far, the positions mentioned are those that can deliver a major scale without bends, but there are more positions! I will not go through them all here, but I'll mention one:
5th position. On a C harp that's the scales starting on an 'e'. Here, there we cannot get the major scale without bending, but we CAN get a natural minor scale and a Dorian scale.
I might continue tomorrow, but now I'm off for bed. Interestingly enough it seems first position is this far actually, in some sense, the WORST position to play!
Thanks for those insights. I think I can add those features.
Keep the suggestions coming.
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Key on a C harp | C G D A E B F# Db Ab Eb Bb F Position | 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th 11th 12th ---------------------|----------------------------------------------------------------- Standard Major | X X X X Natural Minor | X X X X Mixolydian | X X X X Dorian | X X X X Harmonic Minor | X X "Jazz-Melodic" Minor | X X True Melodic Minor | X Etc. (?) |
I think the lines I completed are indeed complete, but there are definitely more lines to be added! Perhaps most importantly some blues scales, and of course major and minor pentatonic scales. Question: What are the modes where 4th position is NOT suitable?
One of the nicest things about the 4th position is that both the standard (Ionian) major scale and the natural minor scale in 4th position have five notes in the same breath direction and two notes in the opposite direction. I find 5:2 to be the ideal mix: having five notes in the same direction makes the playing smoother, but it's also good to have two notes where you can reverse your breath for essential bodily respiration. In the 4th-position major scale it is 5 draw notes and 2 blow notes. In the 4th-position natural minor scale, it is 5 blow notes and 2 draw notes.
Tunes that shift between major and minor keys are a particular pleasure in 4th position on a fourkey.
Of course, it would be impossible to have a 5:2 breath split in a diatonic harmonica with any tuning that has less than 5 holes per octave.