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Jody Kruskal

Help Requested - 48 Ec Arrangement

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Hi Jody, the problem with the high "G" not is not that it wouldn't be playable but that there's a huge emphasis right here, and I'm not sure if the treble ECs I have been playing as yet are capable of that, soundwise.

 

Best wishes - Wolf

In response, Wolf... here is what I wrote before:

 

"Wolf - Yes, this is a bit high, but my thinking as for the Key... I have put it at Em because the following sections will then be in G and C... should I write them. Em, G and C all seem like likely easy keys for the 48 EC and with their available bass notes should access likely achievable and satisfactory harmonies. and accompaniment options."

 

So, this score is just the first of three sections all in different keys. Em would put the two remaining sections in G and C. Cm would put them in Eb and Ab. My guess is that these would not be friendly keys. How about the first section in Dm? Then, the two remaining sections would be in F and Bb which would be more facile, right? The lower I go the harder it is to build satisfying inner parts as some of the bass notes would have to go up an octave and room for voicings will get squeezed.

 

Do you think that taking it down a whole step to Dm would make much difference? Then, that high passage at mes. 21 would start on an F instead of a G.

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Ive been asked to make a score of the lovely Waltz #2 by Dimitri Shostakovich, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mmCnQDUSO4I

arrangement for 48 button English Concertina.

To expand on my earlier response: Who is intended to play this arrangement? What is their experience with the English concertina? For that matter, is this arrangement being commissioned by an individual who intends to play it, or by someone who intends it as a "gift" for someone else to play? I might guess the latter, else the person intending to play it could be trying your successive versions and giving their own feedback.

 

Wolf - Yes, this is a bit high, but my thinking as for the Key... I have put it at Em because the following sections will then be in G and C... should I write them. Em, G and C all seem like likely easy keys for the 48 EC and with their available bass notes should access likely achievable and satisfactory harmonies. and accompaniment options.

So, this score is just the first of three sections all in different keys. Em would put the two remaining sections in G and C. Cm would put them in Eb and Ab. My guess is that these would not be friendly keys.

Once again, "friendly" depends on the competence and experience of the player. I would hope that anyone capable of playing an arrangement as full (complex?) as this would be comfortable in any key from three flats to four sharps, though various posts here on concertina.net suggest that many otherwise-competent players of the English never try to go beyond one flat or two sharps due to prejudices inherited from other instruments.

 

In key signatures from three flats to four sharps, the physical pattern of the scale is almost identical, the only difference being that some of the notes (consistently in every octave) are in an outer column of buttons rather than an inner one... physically closer than on most anglos. In fact, the key of Eb (or Cm) may have advantages over C (or Am), because two notes of the scale are duplicated (Eb=D# and Ab=G#) in every octave, appearing on both ends of the instrument. Thus it's possible -- though not necessarily common -- that an awkward "default" fingering can be rendered less awkward by substituting an appropriate enharmonic. Conceptually, that's not much different from using an opposite-direction button for D, G, or A on the C/G anglo. On the English, there is no such option in the keys of C or G (though I often substitute Eb for the D# if an Em tune calls for a B7 chord).

 

Even the key of Ab shouldn't be particularly difficult, as only one note of the scale is "out of pattern". I.e., the Db needs to be played as C# (which is on the opposite end of the instrument from D). I personally don't find this very different from being forced to use the third row to play a C# on a C/G anglo... or a G# if we want to put it in the context of an "uncommon" key.

 

How about the first section in Dm? Then, the two remaining sections would be in F and Bb which would be more facile, right?

See my above comments.

 

The lower I go the harder it is to build satisfying inner parts as some of the bass notes would have to go up an octave and room for voicings will get squeezed.

And that leads me to another potential issue. I think it would be much more reasonable to arrange this piece for a standard (56-button) tenor-treble English. Same top note as a 48-button treble, but an extra fifth -- down to C below middle C -- for the "bass". In fact, if you left the piece (at least that first section) in the original key of Cm, then the lowest note on the instrument would be the tonic of that key, providing a sound (pun noticed) foundation.

 

However, I do recognize that if this arrangement is intended for a particular individual and that individual is unable to get their hands on a tenor-treble, then that isn't really an option.

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...or if the player has a low F available (or would be willing to get himself one, resp. two) the arrangement could in fact simply be transposed "down" to D-min. Although I see your point Jim, I guess a C-section in Ab-maj would scare more concertinists off than the key of Bb-maj. And Jody - yes, I guess one whole step would in fact make a difference.

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Although I see your point Jim, I guess a C-section in Ab-maj would scare more concertinists off than the key of Bb-maj.

 

But are those who would be scared off capable of playing fluidly even most of Jody's arrangement? I don't think it's by any means something to be played by a beginner, and it includes some quite "interesting" jumps and combinations* for the fingers, even for someone who normally uses a 4-finger style. But that is an actual question, since (as I noted above) many players never go beyond keys that others have labeled as "simple", even though several other keys -- on the English -- are not really more complex, neither geometrically nor muscularly.

 

* I'm especially curious as to what fingering you would use for measure 25 of the initial arrangement... and how you would get there from measure 24.

But I repeat... If this is an arrangement intended for a particular individual, then it's critically important that it should be targeted to that individual's abilities, not to some theoretical "more concertinists".

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* I'm especially curious as to what fingering you would use for measure 25 of the initial arrangement... and how you would get there from measure 24.

1 to 4 = index finger to pinky - Right hand: last beat of bar 24: C=3, E=4, bar 25: e=1, g=2, D=4, then hold e + g like before, A=3, C = 4, I guess; but as mentioned, it's hardly playable at all, and altered in the meantime.

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As for your comments, yes, this arrangement is intended and commissioned for/by a specific 48 EC player (low G) who will be unnamed so far. My request for help is intended to help me present him with a playable arrangement with all these considerations handled, so he does not have to compare options but has a workable arrangement at first go. He does have considerable skills and is a student of the master Matusawitz.

 

So Jim and Wolf, what do you think of setting this down a whole step putting it in Dm? Would that really be an improvement? Aside from the benefit of a reduction in pitch and the deficit of reduced harmony opportunities, would that add or subtract from the fingering difficulties?

 

Your help is greatly appreciated.

Edited by Jody Kruskal

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Jody, I'll gladly given it a go - and, albeit of course not necessarily required, could you provide us with an ABC, to make things easier accessible?

 

Best wishes - Wolf

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Thanks Wolf and all. Here it is in Dm with just a few adjustments aside from the transposition. Again, I would ask any nimble fingered EC player to tell me if there are particularly impossible segments that I really should simplify.

 

post-557-0-52400700-1514011140_thumb.jpg

Edited by Jody Kruskal

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It's rather nice. I've made some small modifications, mostly to the middle part. I'd say that bars 21-26 definitely county as extremely awkward, but they're playable. The changes preserve the movement in 6ths in the upper part, which I think is important (actually in the notation I would clarify that by making the d stem go up in bar 23, and the e stem go up in bar 26). The last two chords are a bit odd in your arrangement as they're both missing the fifth - is this intentional?! My inclination would be to add it.

 

The big thing though is that the bass minims need to be played as (long) crotchets. The sound is better, and it's the only way that the fingering is really practical. In order to keep the "long-short-long" phrasing in the bass, you can try to avoid jumping with the same finger from the first to second beats... but in some cases you just have to (e.g. bar ll left-3 needs to play the E long, and then the Bb)

 

I'll try to make a recording - but still need to get those bars 21-26 secure! For anyone else who tries, the G# is easier played as an Ab.

 

And if you could transpose it down a fifth to give a version for us tenor-treblers, that would be great!!

post-373-0-02128100-1514031823_thumb.jpg

Edited by RatFace

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I was hoping we’d hear from Danny (RatFace) on this thread (I haven’t seen his input on ANY thread recently). But I had no expectation that he’d back up what I said two weeks ago in post #8 (below). Thanks, Danny.

 

Hi, Jody.

When I looked at your score (after listening to the youtube), my first thought was “Why half notes for the bass line, rather than something shorter (quarters, or staccato quarters), as the orchestra clearly plays it.”

Listening to Don’s mp3 rendering confirms the impression: having the bass notes overlap with the chord notes that fill out the measures loses crispness.

 

[Minims = Half Notes, Crotchets = Quarter Notes.]

Edited by David Barnert

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Dear Danny, Dave, Wolf, Jim, Don, Randy Stein and all...

 

I do appreciate your help and love this sort of crowdsourcing collaboration. So here is the latest version Waltz #2 in Dm.2

 

Danny, did I get these changes right? Please confirm.

 

Did you really mean to have five finger chords in the last two measures?

 

I am not pleased about the transition between measures four and five now that the minims have been reduced to quarter notes, though the rest does not seem to suffer from this simplification (thanks Dave and Danny for this). I could imagine several ways to finesse this. What do you think?

 

post-557-0-89296100-1514086797_thumb.jpg

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Two voice-leading issues that have been present since the first version. Neither is critical, and not being an EC player, I don’t know if attempting to fix them would cause more problems than they would solve. Beats 2 & 3 of measures 10 and 11 seem to have nothing to do with each other. All sense of a pair of coherent inner voices is lost there. Also, at the very end, the parallel octave between the outer voices in the final two chords is unfortunate. To an extent, it is unavoidable, since the melody sings 5-1, but perhaps having them move in opposite directions by raising the A (and the E) an octave in the first chord will diminish the sense that the rug is being pulled out from underneath.

Edited by David Barnert

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OK... I sneaked in one quick recording session whilst my family popped out for a few minutes (leaving me lots of jobs to do - guess whether any of them are done yet!). This is the first (and currently only) time I actually managed to play bars 21-24 - I was so surprised I decided to do the repeat and got lucky again!

 

Apart from the bum notes, I would have liked to have got the transition from bar 4 to 5 smoother.

ShostakovichWaltz2.mp3

Edited by RatFace

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You did an amazingly good job here, Danny!

 

Best wishes - Wolf

 

(PS, Jody - the limitations soundwise are still obvious, aren't they? However, the replacing of the thirds with sixths and the transposing downwards do help I reckon)

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Danny! You amaze me. Bravo.

 

I hope the little changes I've made in Dm.3 are improvements.

 

I've made the four measures of introduction less grand. Now they stay low which should fix the transition into mes. 5.

 

Added staccato markings around 31.

 

New voicings in the last two measures. Thanks Dave. I agree with your suggestion there.

 

As for this comment of yours... "Beats 2 & 3 of measures 10 and 11 seem to have nothing to do with each other. All sense of a pair of coherent inner voices is lost there." Well, I see your point, but really my constraints are very narrow. It's an EC with the lowest note being a G so I must use the E above middle C as a bass note in mes 11 - 15. I'm forced to fit the inner lines in there the best that I can. All the other combinations I tried in that section just sounded wrong and though this is not how Dimitri wrote it, my descending harmony sounds nifty and better than anything else I could come up with.

 

Wolf - I hear how the melody gets weak in 21- 27 but I don't know what to do about it. Perhaps Danny could finesse that by playing the other notes shorter, leaving space for the melody to shine through... or play it on piano!

 

So here is Waltz #2 in Dm.3

 

post-557-0-32691900-1514160071_thumb.jpg

Edited by Jody Kruskal

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Well, I see your point, but really my constraints are very narrow. It's an EC with the lowest note being a G so I must use the E above middle C as a bass note in mes 11 - 15. I'm forced to fit the inner lines in there the best that I can.

 

 

I thought that might be the case.

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