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PostPosted: Wed Mar 11, 2009 9:28 am 
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Hi, everybody.

I don't post very often, but have a couple of newbie questions about playing tunes on the 'tina (My instrument is a C/G anglo Morse Ceili in Jeffries layout):

- I tend to play the tunes in G scale mainly in the pull, so this means that the bellows stretches wery quickly & have to use very often the air button. Is it normal? I like a lot more the sound of the B/C D/E buttons of the RH C row than the ones with the same notes in the LH G row.

- The progression of the high F# G A B in any of their variants becomes a pain in the *rs* of push-pull in the RH G row. Does anybody uses the high A B in the RH C row, or the G in the RH Acc. row? Even being awkward to have to use frequently the pinky, I feel it sounds better slurring the B-A sequence.

Cheers,

Fer


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 11, 2009 9:46 am 
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Fergus wrote:
Hi, everybody.

I don't post very often, but have a couple of newbie questions about playing tunes on the 'tina (My instrument is a C/G anglo Morse Ceili in Jeffries layout):

- I tend to play the tunes in G scale mainly in the pull, so this means that the bellows stretches wery quickly & have to use very often the air button. Is it normal? I like a lot more the sound of the B/C D/E buttons of the RH C row than the ones with the same notes in the LH G row.

- The progression of the high F# G A B in any of their variants becomes a pain in the *rs* of push-pull in the RH G row. Does anybody uses the high A B in the RH C row, or the G in the RH Acc. row? Even being awkward to have to use frequently the pinky, I feel it sounds better slurring the B-A sequence.

Cheers,

Fer


Well, the only thing I can tell you based on my experience is that you should really start playing cross-row, and use the D/E and C/B on the LH G row as much (even statistically more) then the RH equivalent buttons. I started playing cross-row since july, after some lessons, and I'm still relearning everything but there's no doubt to me that cross-row is the way to go. There's also the A/G on the LH G row that's very important, too.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 11, 2009 10:08 am 
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Regarding your second question, the answer is above my knowledge of the instrument, but I would tell you one thing: the key is to make your fingers do the least possible work. As Edel Fox once told a class, "if your fingers are doing too much work, it's because you're doing something wrong". So I would put the emphasis on easiness of play instead of "sound", at least the first few years. You will have a solid, robust base on the instrument and will be able to slowly tweak your playing to reach sound closer to your liking.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 11, 2009 10:44 am 
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Thanks, Azalin ( a lot of known people of the other forum here :lol: )

What do you mean with cross-rowing? changing rows within the same side of the instrument or changing between sides? 'Cos I already play changing sides, but use most the C row - the LH G row only 2nd, 4th & 5th buttons -.

Cheers,

Fer


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 11, 2009 10:51 am 
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Azalin wrote:
There's also the A/G on the LH G row that's very important, too.


Ooops! I'm afraid that key is almost ignored :( Well, I supose that this sort of thing happen frequentky when you're self taught...

Ta', again.

Fer


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 11, 2009 11:12 am 
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Fergus wrote:
What do you mean with cross-rowing? changing rows within the same side of the instrument or changing between sides? 'Cos I already play changing sides, but use most the C row - the LH G row only 2nd, 4th & 5th buttons -.


Well, I mean not limiting yourself to a certain button on the C row or G row, but any on both depending on what's best for the tune you're playing. When there's too much push/pull, use the other button that will provide some pull-pull or push-push to allow the phrase to flow better. Also, many triplets will require two push or pulls in a row to sound nice, and only by not limiting yourself to a row for a specific button will you achieve this.

I'd say the D/E on the LH G row is very, very important and should become your first choice.

We had a similar thread on C.net and I the other important thing is to NEVER use the same finger to play two different buttons in a row. If you're doing this, you're doing something wrong. So you need to map your choice of buttons in a tune so that it doesn't happen.

For example, let's say you're playing an G using your index finger on the RH G row and need to play a B right after, you won't use your same index finger to go on the RH C row to pull the B, you'll play the B with your middle finger on the LH G row (same if you needed to play a C, you'd pull the button on the left). That's just an example.

I think those are the basic golden rules. There's much more to it, but it should be your basis.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 11, 2009 11:16 am 
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Forgot to add to the golden rules: your index finger should be assigned to the first column of notes, the middle finger to the second column, etc, on each side. You can "borrow" fingers to go on another column, but your "standard" position will be like this. As long as you don't break the other rule, never play two different buttons in a row with the same finger. :-)


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 11, 2009 11:25 am 
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Many thanks again. Yes, I think I'm doing that well - I mean, to avoid 'chopping' - and even avoid to use the same finger between columns without a note - any - in the middle.

I suposse that unconciously avoided the use of the G row because it feels uncomfortable to me... well, learn this can not be worse that the fiddle! :lol:

Cheers,

Fer


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 11, 2009 8:21 pm 
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Fergus wrote:
Many thanks again. Yes, I think I'm doing that well - I mean, to avoid 'chopping' - and even avoid to use the same finger between columns without a note - any - in the middle.


I think the very hard part, once you somewhat mastered the basics, is to start picking buttons based on the phrasing you want to produce. I was watching some Youtube of Edel Fox lately, and taking a very close look at ther fingers. There's a few places where she'll pick the pull D on the RH C row right after a pull E on the LH G row so that she plays two pulls in a row, even though she'd normally push the D on the left. These are very subtle details that are mind blowing, there's so many possibilities.


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 20, 2009 7:56 pm 
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You may want to find someone who learned from Noel Hill and get some one-on-one coaching. I play with Noel's fingerings and once you understand his system and how he goes outside of his system when required, its a very comfortable and predictable way to approach the instrument. Clearly, not everyone subscribes to his system, but it sure works really well for me.


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 23, 2009 2:55 am 
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You're probably aware of this already. Playing Across the Rows is a brief description of Noel Hill's method and Noel's choice of which buttons to use. And a bit of his theory as well. It's been downloaded about thirty times so some people have probably found it useful. It's a handy way of approaching the instrument.
It emphasizes the use of your strongest fingers as well as the use of reeds closest to the open part of the grill-work (rather than under your hand), to get the best sound from your concertina. It by no means will apply to every jig or reel you come across, but it will get you started. If you take it as gospel - at least for a couple of months - it should make things a lot easier.

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 23, 2009 3:40 am 
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Thanks to everybody for the kind answers.

Yes, Julia; I'm awared of that document - I even printed it, and another one called 'A Suplementary Concertina Tutor', that I find very useful - but still struggling with the low DEF# run & my tendence to play fiddle rolls - old vice! :lol: -.

On the other hand, I try to use the two high C# in an equal way, or, at least, in the way the phrasing makes sense to me. But still trying to find if the high F#GAB sequences and combinations can be made effectively in a way that is not push - pull all the time - ACC row G is ok, but I find A and B in the C row a little awkward to use with my right pinky, even for the sake of a slurred phrasing -.

Cheers,

Fer


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 23, 2009 1:38 pm 
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I find A and B in the C row a little awkward to use with my right pinky


But where/why would you use these? There is seldom a need. On a tune such as O'Carolan's Concerto I might use those buttons - but that's one of the very few tunes where it's necessary. If you're following the Noel Hill fingering there isn't much call for those buttons.

The concertina makes its own sound so in that sense it's an easier instrument than the flute or the fiddle. But the fingering is inconsistent, unlike the flute. So it's handy to have a set fingering pattern that you nearly always go to as you're playing a tune. But not every time. To do this (using the same button for the same note) all the time would involve jumping from one button to another consecutively with the same finger. That can make the music awkward and choppy. So you have to learn to use other buttons on occasion, ones that you would use instead of the first choice.

The fingering on the Anglo becomes tricky because it isn't always automatic. You have to map out many tunes on an individual basis, and then remember this at speed when things get noisy and some people are playing different settings of the same tune. You have to stick to what you have mapped out. Don't kid yourself, this isn't easy. But this is what the good guys do all the time. And the only way to do this is to play a lot. A lot lot. And for a while you will have trouble in sessions because you're playing faster than you would on your own, you can't always hear yourself clearly, and because you can't always remember the exceptions - like learning the irregular verbs in a foreign language.

As for who to listen to – I’d recommend listening to Larry Kinsella (The Barley Grain), Kate McNamara (Are You the Concertina Player?), Dympna O’Sullivan (Bean Chairdin), and Claire Kevill (An Tris is a Ruan) – not necessarily in that order. Their style is very fluid and simple and their versions are accessible. Their music isn’t cluttered with a lot of ornamentation, which many people think is worth spending lots of time on - but which can get in the way of the smooth rhythm that is the first criterion of good music.

First get the basics. Slow down. Get a fluid rhythm going at a slow speed. Play deliberately. Then you’ll find that ornamentation becomes second nature.

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 07, 2009 10:58 am 
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Sorry for chirping in here so late, but I have been playing Anglo for 4 or 5 years now (other than Catskills Irish Arts Week, mostly self taught with bits of advice picked up from concertina.net and some discussions with other concertina players).

Fergus wrote:
Hi, everybody.

I don't post very often, but have a couple of newbie questions about playing tunes on the 'tina (My instrument is a C/G anglo Morse Ceili in Jeffries layout):

- I tend to play the tunes in G scale mainly in the pull, so this means that the bellows stretches wery quickly & have to use very often the air button. Is it normal? I like a lot more the sound of the B/C D/E buttons of the RH C row than the ones with the same notes in the LH G row.



Just a thought, but for most tunes, I wouldn't worry about which note sounds better... at least if you plan on playing in sessions or a band. Since different makes of concertinas are made differently, you are going to find that while a certain note might be strong on your Morse, it might be not as good on a different make of concertina. Since most of us pick up, or at least try out other people's instruments from time to time, its better to concentrate on good technique independent of the strengths or weaknesses of a particular instrument (unless of course you are absolutely sure that this is your last concertina and it will be the only one you ever play).

In my playing, I tend to use the RH C row B/C quite a bit (Say 85% of the time). D/E gets alternated between the C row and the G row. Generally, (But not always) I will use the G row if I am going to be following the D/E with a F# or the G. If the D/E is the lowest note I am going to use, well, it will depend. Playing the G row version of the note makes it easier to ornament the D/E with grace notes, crans or rolls... playing the C row makes it easier to ornament with an octave.

Quote:

- The progression of the high F# G A B in any of their variants becomes a pain in the *rs* of push-pull in the RH G row. Does anybody uses the high A B in the RH C row, or the G in the RH Acc. row? Even being awkward to have to use frequently the pinky, I feel it sounds better slurring the B-A sequence.

Cheers,

Fer


I rarely use the A/B on the C row any more. There are two tunes I figured out that way when I first started learning the concertina and I am working on relearning them with more cross fingering so I don't have to use those notes. Those notes just make playing a little more awkward. I do however use them when I want to take advantage of a certain rhythm. Over all, I would say maybe 5-10% of the time.

--
Bill


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 08, 2009 8:42 am 
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Thanks again everybody. I think I'm in the way. Now I'm learning to use both of the C# on the RH Acc, and makes more sense to use them in different phrases or triplets. I'm afraid that I'm only impatient to play all my irish fiddle repertoire on the tina - and be sure there are quite a few tunes... :lol: -.

Cheers,

Fer


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