Another great performance from this North Carolina-based band. Paul Messinger is playing harp in 12th position, which of course is interesting if you’re into that sort of thing (which every…



Another great performance from this North Carolina-based band. Paul Messinger is playing harp in 12th position, which of course is interesting if you’re into that sort of thing (which every harp player is at some point, like when you’re trying to learn the part). What I care about is that he and his bandmates here exhibit their customary attention to melody, rhythm, and texture, and the whole thing is just beautiful.

2 Comments

  1. Richard:

    Thanks for posting the video …

    You are most correct that identifying with a ‘position’ is most relevant when figuring the song out … I didn’t ‘pick’ 12th position so I could play in a so-called difficult or advanced position, but instead played through a bunch of different harmonicas in different keys until I found a harmonica that best fit the ‘melody’ … with the timbre I thought blended best with the other instruments.

    I’ve heard you say that the reason you like using the minor-key Lee Oscar harmonicas on some pieces is that it allows you to play the chords you want to play on a particular piece, without having to make the compromises that using a Richter Tuning so-caled ‘position’ would require to play said piece …

    In this piece, working from 12th position (Bb harp) allowed me to use a single harmonica to voice the melody (through each of the several melodic sections), with a timbre that best fit the fabric and dynamic of the rest of the band instruments and voices …

    It’s always about ‘the song’ … and in this case the way I ‘heard’ myself was really more as an additional keyboard texture, rather than a horn or solo type of approach … so, that’s why I ended up using that harp … and that so-called positional approach …

    I was honestly surprised what I ended up finding … which is what often happens when any instrumentalist, playing any instrument, plays in keys that require using unfamiliar patterns and pathways …

    Kind and musical regards, Paul Messinger/Chapel Hill NC

Leave a Reply