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Don Taylor

The Hayden Layout, Fingering Patterns And Reading Music

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A recent discussion raised the topic of fingering patterns for the Hayden layout.

 

There is an aspect of the isomorphic layouts like the Hayden that I find a struggle - how to play from sheet music in different keys.

 

This is the Hayden layout for a 46 button instrument:

 

 

 

Wakker46.gif

 

Lets assume that I have settled on a fingering pattern on the right hand for C major as follows:

 

1

1 2 3 4

1 2 3

 

where 1 is my index finger and 4 is my little finger, 1 starts on middle C.

 

Now I learn to associate a note on the staff with a (button,finger) pair on the keyboard so that I can see a note in C major on the staff and my finger finds its way to the right button. My finger knows where, for example, A4 is because of its relative position on the F4 row. Rewriting the fingering pattern to show the (button, finger) pairs, we get:

 

(C, 1)

(F, 1) (G, 2) (A, 3) (B, 4)

(C, 1) (D, 2) (E, 3)

 

 

This approach works fine for reading and playing in C major, but what about other keys? G major would be:

 

(G, 1)

(C, 1) (D, 2) (E, 3) (F#, 4)

(G, 1) (A, 2) (B, 3)

 

Three (button, finger) pairs stay the same:(C, 1),(D, 2)and (E, 3). The rest all change - four new pairs to internalize. As an aside, on an EC switching from C major to G major only involves internalizing a single new button pair for changing all of the F's to F#'s.

 

Each key change on a Hayden results in several such changes.

 

I obviously have the wrong mental model in my head for associating notes on a staff with buttons on the Hayden, but what is the correct mental model?

 

One cheat to get around this is to transpose the sheet music to C major/A minor but play the Hayden as if it were a transposing instrument. If I want to play in G major then read the score in C major but shift the fingering to start on G.

 

Actually, what I tend to do is to learn a tune in C and then use the 'virtual capo' feature of the Hayden to play it in a different key.

 

I hope this all makes sense and is not too stupid.

 

Don.

 

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(C, 1)

(F, 1) (G, 2) (A, 3) (B, 4)

(C, 1) (D, 2) (E, 3)

 

 

This approach works fine for reading and playing in C major, but what about other keys? G major would be:

 

(G, 1)

(C, 1) (D, 2) (E, 3) (F#, 4)

(G, 1) (A, 2) (B, 3)

 

Three (button, finger) pairs stay the same:(C, 1),(D, 2)and (E, 3). The rest all change - four new pairs to internalize.

 

I fail to see your problem. Rewriting your above charts to relative positions of the scale notes yields:

 

(I^2, 1)

(IV, 1) (V, 2) (VI, 3) (VII, 4)

(I, 1) (II, 2) (III, 3)

 

which is exactly the same fingering in both keys - so if you played, say, Twinkle Twinkle Little Star in both C and G, you would use exactly the same finger pattern, with just the root sitting in a different absolute position - isn't this exactly what your "virtual capo" would accomplish?

 

Sorry in advance if I missed your point...

Edited by RAc

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RAc sees this issue just as I do. Whether it is an A in the key of C, or E in the key of G, that note is La, or VI. There is no conversion to do for me, and the note position is there more naturally than the note name.

 

I explained this to the long-suffering Dr. Ron Cox who taught Ear Training and Sight Singing to me in college decades ago, and he regarded this as a bug, not a feature, but it sure helps me in the Hayden world. I mostly play by ear.

Daniel

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But, to me, sheet music does not represent relative notes, it represents absolute notes - a B in C major is the same note (frequency) as a B in G major.

 

They are the same actual note and they are in the same position on the staff but, depending upon the key of the piece, on the Hayden system you use a different finger to play that note. This is different to how fingering works on an EC.

 

I guess if I had been taught to sight sing and to read music notation as movable-doh then I would not have this problem. I presume that you look at the staff and see ti or me depending upon the key, whereas I just see a B. Hmmmm....

 

Once one has learned a piece on the Hayden then it is wonderfully easy to transpose it to a new key - all of the relative fingering stays the same. This is not true for the EC, and its derivatives like the Crane duet, where the relative fingering does change with the key change.

Edited by Don Taylor

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But, to me, sheet music does not represent relative notes, it represents absolute notes - a B in C major is the same note (frequency) as a B in G major.

 

They are the same actual note and they are in the same position on the staff but, depending upon the key of the piece, on the Hayden system you use a different finger to play that note. This is different to how fingering works on an EC.

 

So you mean you want the same fingering regardless of the key? How is that supposed to work? Eg in C Major, say you start with (C-1), (D-2) and (E-3). Fair enough. What if you are in Bb Major now where the part of the scale that starts with C includes the Minor third C-Eb. How would you like to finger the Eb? Also with the Third finger? How if that's where the E is?

 

I wouldn't know of any instrument that allows you to do what you want. You mentioned a capo. If you apply a capo to a guitar neck, it'll shift the RELATIVE pitches, and if you now want to find, say, the absolute C that is on fret 1 on string 2, it'll be on a completly different position with the capo on. You don't use a capo if you want to play the same thing in the same key only on a different position, but to use the same fingering yet linearly switch the pitch of the entire playing, no?

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I am not trying/proposing to change anything about the Hayden, I am trying to understand/change my own mental model of how to instinctively play the right note when I see it on the staff.

 

I thought it would be a good idea to be able to look at a musical score and have my finger find the right button without looking at the keyboard or having to do much decoding on the fly - as in 'ok that is a B and I am playing in G so I need to position my index finger above a G and use my third finger to play the B' or 'ok that is a B and I am playing in C so I need my index finger above an F and use my fourth finger to play the B'.

 

Maybe the answer is to develop and practice something akin to the notion of 'position' on the piano. Another thought might be to try to read the score as a sequence of intervals so that fingering is always relative to the previous note.

Edited by Don Taylor

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Personally, I view the Isomorphic Dream as more like, the Isomorphic Mirage. My approach is to give up the Isomorphic Dream, suck it up and learn specific key fingerings when they don't fit the Isomorphic Dream, and be grateful for what I do have, i.e., an instrument that lets me play all notes in both directions in any and all keys, AND has a fixed, repeating layout pattern, AND has some isomorphism for at least some keys.

Edited by ceemonster

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Finger paterns or Button paterns .

 

I long ago changed my thoughts, on playing the EC, from Fingers to Buttons; getting a finger , any possible finger, to the required button at the required moment. On the EC this can usually be achieved without much or any hand position movement but on the Hayden a hand shift left or right is sometimes needed to be able to reach the required keys . This is especially true as one moves into the outer ranges of comfortable key signatures where one might need to jump right across the keyboard because the note patern is truncated or an accidental is located far away.

 

Incidentally Don, your keyboard layout at the top of this thread has a mistake in that the Eb's should be noted as D#'s... the Eb's should occur on the left of the patern . So the fact that to play in Eb on the 46button instrument requires spanning the width of the keyboard is a problem that annoyed me. If the G#'s and D#'s would be repeated on the other end of the patern by Eb's and Ab's things would be more comfortable BUT the keyboard width might require a larger instrument.

Edited by Geoff Wooff

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I guess if I had been taught to sight sing and to read music notation as movable-doh then I would not have this problem. I presume that you look at the staff and see ti or me depending upon the key, whereas I just see a B. Hmmmm....

 

I think this is where you hit the nail on the head, Don.

 

A “B” isn’t just a “B.” It’s the leading tone in the key of C, it’s the 3rd in the key of G, and the 5th in E minor. Learn to think of notes in the context of the key you find them in. Each degree of the diatonic scale has its own identity that informs its relationships to other notes in the scale and sets up exceptions in terms of stresses and releases. Get to know them well. Become friends with them (each, individually). So if you are playing in F and see a Bb, you might say “That’s my old buddy, F, from when I was playing in C. I know how too play that note, and how to use it in a melody."

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As i understand it, the problem that you are describing is why "shape note" singing and song books were once popular in the rural southern US (and elsewhere, i presume). With standard musical notation, learning note positioning key-by-key, or physically transposing onto a new score if you choose to try to sight read are two ways to go.

 

On the other hand, many people can learn to sight read their singing, where they are using relative pitches, from standard notation. The same on a Hayden must be doable in that way. (I do that slowly on musical pieces that i have trouble working out the tune by ear.)

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David Barnert's suggestion above is, of course, an excellent one. If you can patiently teach your brain to move from "I see a middle C and my right first finger activates it right THERE" to also where it also accepts a movable DO concept to where you can read an F above middle C in the key of F, and your brain says "This is the root note, DO, which is always under my first finger on this line of buttons when my fingers are set in the place for the key of F so this note is right THERE" then you will have a very useful concept for our isomorphic Haydens. I'm not sure how learn-able this is for a non professional who requires complete versitility. I just came wired this way.

 

Not all brains are interested in acquiring strongly different views of music, and this simply may not mesh with the strengths of your musical apparatus. Many folks associate a note with a specific physical action: a trumpeter sees middle C and down goes valves one and three. A fiddler sees a high G and the left middle finger goes exactly THERE on the first string, and if you have forged a relationship with your right first finger and the Hayden note C, you are in excellent company.

 

So you have a go-to strategy of transposing music into C, and reading music using this finger-button association. Excellent! You might find it possible to transpose directly from your music with this old visual trick. You have a tune written in G, and you want to play it in C. The tune is written in the treble clef, and of course G (DO) is on the second line of the staff. Imagine that the second line of the staff has turned into the ledger line of middle C, and that the three staff lines you see above this on the actual music are the first three lines of your new imaginary treble clef - the first two upper ledger lines complete the illusion of the relocated staff. Just read away using your preferred index-finger-yields-a-C- in-the-first-Hayden-line linkage and you'll have it transposed.

 

If the tune is in F, where DO the treble clef first space, imagine that space is now accompanied by two lines above it, and that the one line that is actually below it is accompanied by two additional ledger lines, and read away in whichever octave makes sense to your fingers. The easiest transposition is a tune written in the treble clef in the key of A - just pretend you are reading bass clef, and you don't have to re-imagine the staff at all. This is hardly a new idea, of course, since this is exactly what the tenor and alto clefs are: simply five-line four-space clefs with the notes renamed from our accustomed treble and bass staffs with the goal of writing music that is not covered with ledger lines.

 

I learned this trick from my teacher while playing brasswinds, where Bb is no-valves, and low C is valves 1&3 and the note-to-valve linkages are strongly fixed in my brain. If you can successfully go squinty-eyed and see the reimagined staff solidly enough to play on it, you can get by without resorting transposing with pencil and paper, recreating the score in the key you need. Maybe it will work for you, and prove easier than wrapping your brain around the movable-DO concept.

 

We're all wired so differently! Isn't it fun?

 

Daniel

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Don, I'm glad you brought this up. I'm a late student of music, trying to learn to read music and figure out the Hayden at the same time. The issue of having to learn 4 new fingerings just to move the key up a fifth when the Hayden is supposed to be so easy, seems so hard. I thought it was me.

 

Focusing on intervals rather than note names seems to help.

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After the first couple of replies to my initial post I started to think that I might be losing it - finally!

Then several folks came in with some great ideas and I feel much better now.

I think that people who learned to read (and play) music as children and kept it up all of their life do not realize what a magnificent achievement that is and what a great gift they possess. It is dificult for the rest of us, especially the very late learners like myself.

Anyway, I now have some ideas on how to change the way that I try to read music.

Personally, I view the Isomorphic Dream as more like, the Isomorphic Mirage. ...


Thank you ceemonster for reassuring me that it is not just me!

Finger paterns or Button paterns .

I long ago changed my thoughts, on playing the EC, from Fingers to Buttons; getting a finger , any possible finger, to the required button at the required moment. ...


I remember you saying this before in earlier posts. I am not really sure that I understand how you can actually do this without getting tangled up in your own fingers. Surely there is some method to which finger you choose to press a button?

 

I guess if I had been taught to sight sing and to read music notation as movable-doh then I would not have this problem. I presume that you look at the staff and see ti or me depending upon the key, whereas I just see a B. Hmmmm....


I think this is where you hit the nail on the head, Don.

A “B” isn’t just a “B.” It’s the leading tone in the key of C, it’s the 3rd in the key of G, and the 5th in E minor. ...

 


Ok, I think that this and the next quote from rlgph are really going to help:

As i understand it, the problem that you are describing is why "shape note" singing and song books were once popular in the rural southern US (and elsewhere, i presume). With standard musical notation, learning note positioning key-by-key, or physically transposing onto a new score if you choose to try to sight read are two ways to go.

On the other hand, many people can learn to sight read their singing, where they are using relative pitches, from standard notation. The same on a Hayden must be doable in that way. (I do that slowly on musical pieces that i have trouble working out the tune by ear.)


I have looked at Shape Note scores and never got why the shapes were so important. Now I understand and I think there might be a way to use the notation.

There are two main Shape Note systems, the original 4 note system:
600px-TheShapesOfShapeNoteSinging_4Shape
There are four different shapes and interesting thing to me about this system is that it mirrors the button positions on a Hayden. The first three (fa sol la) is C D E, the next four (fa sol la mi) is the next row up on a Hayden: F G A B, then the last one (fa) is the C another the row up.

I am not sure what to make of this correspondence right now, but I think that the 7 Shape Note notation is going to be more useful:

400px-CMajorScaleInAikenShapeSystem.gif

This is the same as the modern Solfege system with a unique shape assigned to each Solfege symbol.

Scores in 7 note Shape Note notation spell out the Solfege once you have learned which shape goes with which Solfege symbol.

I mostly use Musescore for my scores and it happens to have a plug-in that converts a regular (round note) score into a 7 note score.

Here is an example:

First a score fragment in round note G major:
Capture.JPG
Same fragment in 7 note Shape Note:

Capture.JPG
Same fragment transcribed up to D major, round note:
Capture.JPG
Finally, the D major version in 7 note Shape Note:
Capture.JPG

The two Shape note versions demonstrate that the Shape note/Solfege symbols do not change when the key changes.

 

Don.

 

Added: It looks like the next version (3.0) of Musescore will have a new notehead feature that will allow scores to look like this:

 

Capture%20d%27e%CC%81cran%202016-11-18%2

Sadly, V3.0 is only available as a developer's 'nightly build' (ie. v. buggy) at the moment.

 

Edited by Don Taylor

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Learn to think of notes in the context of the key you find them in. Each degree of the diatonic scale has its own identity that informs its relationships to other notes in the scale and sets up exceptions in terms of stresses and releases. Get to know them well. Become friends with them (each, individually). So if you are playing in F and see a Bb, you might say “That’s my old buddy, F, from when I was playing in C. I know how too play that note, and how to use it in a melody."

I think that people who learned to read (and play) music as children and kept it up all of their life do not realize what a magnificent achievement that is and what a great gift they possess. It is dificult for the rest of us, especially the very late learners like myself.

 

Don, you’d be surprised how many adults who have been playing and reading music since childhood haven’t figured this out.

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Finger paterns or Button paterns .

 

I long ago changed my thoughts, on playing the EC, from Fingers to Buttons; getting a finger , any possible finger, to the required button at the required moment. ...

I remember you saying this before in earlier posts. I am not really sure that I understand how you can actually do this without getting tangled up in your own fingers. Surely there is some method to which finger you choose to press a button?

 

 

 

 

Indeed there is Don, but the operative words are " any possible finger" so tangles are usually avoided. I am learning a new keyboard now (the Chromatic Accordeon C system) and I am having to work out a logical fingering for each new tune, for which, of course , I have to 'know' which buttons I need to reach. With long familiarity my fingers know where to go on the EC ( most of the time)....

Edited by Geoff Wooff

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Another thought might be to try to read the score as a sequence of intervals so that fingering is always relative to the previous note.

 

I think that's mostly what I do if I'm sight reading, think of it as intervals. But you know the root of the key you're playing in (if it's a major key) fits under the index finger, and other relationships like that just start to become second nature as you play more and more.

 

Incidentally Don, your keyboard layout at the top of this thread has a mistake in that the Eb's should be noted as D#'s... the Eb's should occur on the left of the patern . So the fact that to play in Eb on the 46button instrument requires spanning the width of the keyboard is a problem that annoyed me. If the G#'s and D#'s would be repeated on the other end of the patern by Eb's and Ab's things would be more comfortable BUT the keyboard width might require a larger instrument.

 

That layout comes from a much larger Wicki button field graphic that wasn't designed to describe a concertina specifically. The 46-key instrument was just highlighted as part of that field, and cut out. So those enharmonic note names change from flats to sharps fairly arbitrarily.

Edited by Boney

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