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Harmonica Lessons: 5th Position Drone Box

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[LAUGH] welcome to
Johnny Lotus Blues Band.
This is an Indian drone box.
It's called a Ragini,
and as an introduction
to the fifth position,
I decided to play a little
Raga-esque improvisation
in the Phrygian mode,
which is what the fifth position is.
This is the first mode on
the harmonica that does not
have the second note of
the scale in its normal place.
It is a flatted second.
If you hear it on
the harmonica [SOUND] it's E.
The second note is F.
It's a half step.
If you look over at the keyboards,
you'll see that here's E.
[SOUND] And here's F.
[SOUND] There's no black key between E and
They are a half step apart.
So, the last position we
were in was fourth position,
it was A minor, and so
you go up five notes from A to E.
A, B, C, D, E.
And now we're in the fifth position.
[SOUND] The Phrygian mode,
it is a very popular mode in
Middle Eastern music and Indian music.
This flatted second is one of
the most popular sounds that you'll
hear from eastern Europe through
the Middle East, north Africa,
all the way over through India.
And in Europe,
as soon as you get out of Eastern Europe,
you don't hear this at all in folk
music and in mainstream music.
And the same thing in America,
you don't hear it, and
it's kind of an undesirable thing.
But in these other parts of the world,
it's very desirable.
So here, the humble diatonic
harmonica in the key of C can play
all this Middle Eastern music.
Indian music.
Eastern European music.
So the Phrygian mode, once again we
have to start in the middle
of the harmonica
because we're missing
things on the bottom.
On the bottom we have the minor pentatonic
scale, which is really pretty cool.
Well, we don't have the whole thing,
we only have the E minor seventh.
That's a chord that I'm playing one
note at a time.
But from the fifth hole,
we have the Phrygian mode.
And when you learn how do to the blow
bends on the top of the harmonica,
you can really wail on this top note.
it sounds great.
Five blow five
draw, scale.
Six blow, six draw.
[SOUND] Seven draw just slide over.
[SOUND] Seven draw seven blow.
[SOUND] Eight draw, eight blow.
Then you can go below it.
Down to the fifth below.
The fifth of E is B.
So I'm saying I'm blowing a fourth
below E to the fifth of the scale.
I'm starting to talk like a musician now.
And you can see that
playing with the strong box,
it gives you a context.
[SOUND] Here's the pitch of E.
And all of a sudden,
this modal scale, which might sound
a little strange, has a context,
because this drone is playing one
five, it's playing E and B.
And single notes along with the drone,
which is basically what 90% of Indian
music is played to,
they don't have chords,
especially in classical Indian music.
And most Middle Eastern music
doesn't have any chords either,
it's rhythm and some sort of drone,
and the melody.
So any of
the notes you
play sound
There's no wrong note when you're
playing a modal improvisation and
staying in the scale.
It's not like you're trying to play along
with chords, and whoops I hit the flat at
seventh, I should of the major seventh,
or whoops I hit the flat at second.
Whatever you play in this frigine
mode along with the strong box,
it's gonna sound right.
And this is called a sweep.
I'm gonna turn this down a little bit,
and just let you know what I just did.
It sounded like, my God, is that fast.
It's really, really easy to do this.
As long as you keep your embouchure
solid and you don't try to force air.
All I'm doing is taking advantage
of the structure of the harmonica.
I'm gonna cover some of
this stuff in rhythmic
breathing exercises in later units
in the advanced part of the course.
Maybe some in the intermediate, but
I just wanted to show you this now,
that what I'm doing is
I'm playing one blow.
[SOUND] it's the fifth hole blow,
and then I'm inhaling over five,
six and seven draw.
[SOUND] Then you just sweep.
[SOUND] And then I am blowing seven.
[SOUND] There's nothing to it.
[SOUND] Blow five.
Draw five, six, seven.
[SOUND] Blow seven, draw seven, six, five.
the breathing.
You can see my stomach.
It's blow draw,
blow draw, blow draw.
The three notes are going by on one draw.
Again it's a type of a coordination just
like the rhythmic vamping
is coordinated with
tapping your foot and
moving your hand around.
This is just coordinating your breath with
your motion sideways on the harmonica.
And this is kind of a little doorway into
seeing how you can start to play fast
licks on the harmonica,
like coordinating these things.