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Fingering styles for newbie


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#1 Selah

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Posted 16 April 2010 - 02:47 PM

I've just purchased a Wheatstone baritone (transposed) as my first concertina!!
I'm "out-of-the-box challenged" self-learning via tutors and don't want to have to re-learn bad techniques. A tutor for a baritone would be invaluable if it exists!

I just read a CNet thread from a Noel Hill workshop participant who talked of a "different fingering chart" that he felt was "key to playing the music properly while having full control over the entire instrument".

Thoughts, experience, advice please.

#2 Larry Stout

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Posted 16 April 2010 - 07:46 PM

Two I've found useful are Alisdair Anderson's Concertina Workshop and Allan Atlas's Contemplating the Concertina. Mostly though I've just played.

I haven't found that a baritone needs any technique distinct from a treble. Mine just sounds an octave lower. I doubt that there exist tutors specifically for a baritone. I'm not sure what you mean my "transposing", is your lowest note the G an octave and a half below middle C? That's G,, in abc notation, bottom space in the bass clef.

#3 david_boveri

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Posted 16 April 2010 - 08:43 PM

I've just purchased a Wheatstone baritone (transposed) as my first concertina!!
I'm "out-of-the-box challenged" self-learning via tutors and don't want to have to re-learn bad techniques. A tutor for a baritone would be invaluable if it exists!

I just read a CNet thread from a Noel Hill workshop participant who talked of a "different fingering chart" that he felt was "key to playing the music properly while having full control over the entire instrument".

Thoughts, experience, advice please.


if i'm not mistaken, the concertina you have is an english concertina. noel hill teaches and plays the anglo concertina, which are very, very different. the anglo concertina = rife with pitfalls and dark, scary alleys. the english concertina = a safe walk through your local park.

no value judgement intended--i'm a devoted and faithful anglo player, ;)

#4 Selah

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Posted 17 April 2010 - 06:20 AM


I've just purchased a Wheatstone baritone (transposed) as my first concertina!!
I'm "out-of-the-box challenged" self-learning via tutors and don't want to have to re-learn bad techniques. A tutor for a baritone would be invaluable if it exists!

I just read a CNet thread from a Noel Hill workshop participant who talked of a "different fingering chart" that he felt was "key to playing the music properly while having full control over the entire instrument".

Thoughts, experience, advice please.


if i'm not mistaken, the concertina you have is an english concertina. noel hill teaches and plays the anglo concertina, which are very, very different. the anglo concertina = rife with pitfalls and dark, scary alleys. the english concertina = a safe walk through your local park.

no value judgement intended--i'm a devoted and faithful anglo player, ;)


At the moment the english isn't feeling like a "safe walk in the park" but I did think it would be an easier learn than anglo. I did discover after posting that Noel Hill played anglo -- fabulous musician!

#5 Mikefule

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Posted 18 April 2010 - 05:57 AM

I tried the English and couldn't get on with the whole left brain right brain thing! Good luck. :-)

Most instruments offer more than one way to produce the same note. On a concertina, that may be either a different button, or a different finger on the same button.

The better you get, the more combinations you learn - and you learn which ones work best in which circumstances. It's about context: what came before, what comes after, where is the emphasis.

No easy answers. Just spend as much as you can afford; practise as much as you possibly can, and then some; and take every opportunity to watch, listen and ask.

#6 Dirge

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Posted 18 April 2010 - 06:10 AM

It's about context: what came before, what comes after


If you had a duet I'd say you should arrange your playing so your fingers walk continuously from note(s) to note(s). So you always know where you are on the keyboard. Leaps of faith are to be avoided at all costs. That means, for example, overstretching to hit a note with your second finger instead of the finger that is most comfortable, your third, so that your third and fourth are free for the next 2 notes. That sort of thinking. I can't imagine it's any different on an English. (Does anyone ever need to change fingers on a held note on an English?)

I used to cover new music in fingering numbers; these days I don't need so many, but I'd suggest you do that when you start to get serious!

#7 Selah

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Posted 20 April 2010 - 06:42 PM

By fingering numbers you mean using L1, L2 L3, etc for each note?

#8 Dirge

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Posted 20 April 2010 - 08:20 PM

For written music I would add 1 2 3 or 4 above the note to remind me whether I use first second third or fourth fingers to play it. Most are obvious, and don't need noting down but sometimes the apparently wrong one gets you on the right foot for what follows, then I write it in pencil on the music.

I assume this is as necessary for an English as for a duet, but I don't really know, mind you. Dunno where they all are...

#9 ragtimer

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Posted 20 April 2010 - 09:33 PM

For written music I would add 1 2 3 or 4 above the note to remind me whether I use first second third or fourth fingers to play it. Most are obvious, and don't need noting down but sometimes the apparently wrong one gets you on the right foot for what follows, then I write it in pencil on the music.

I assume this is as necessary for an English as for a duet, but I don't really know, mind you. Dunno where they all are...


I play a different type of DUet from DIrge's, but what he says about fingering is absolutely true -- sometimes you use an alternate ("wrong") finger to make the best finger available for the next note -- and those are the exceptions you notate over the note.

I don't use numbers, because I grew up on piano, where the htumb is 1, the index finger 2, and hte pinky 5. Bu fiddlers learn index = 1, etc. SO to avoid confusion for anyone else reading my scores, I use letters i, m, r, and P for index, middle, ring, and pinky. You could use L or B for pinky, as in little or baby.
--Mike K.

#10 Larry Stout

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Posted 20 April 2010 - 11:07 PM

I assume this is as necessary for an English as for a duet, but I don't really know, mind you. Dunno where they all are...


I play EC and haven't found any need to mark fingerings.

I suspect that the duet has more fingering variation than EC, on which you can get by quite well using index finger for two columns, middle finger for one, and ring finger for the last column of accidentals. In some situations to avoid using the same finger on successive notes you change this, but that's an adjustment you can make as you become a more advanced player. On rare occasions it might pay to mark such fingering options on the music, but mostly one learns how to handle them as they come up. Victorian era written music often has a few fingerings marked, but only a few.

I also play (though much less fluently) a Crane duet. Once I learned where the notes are I didn't feel much need for marked fingerings. The main choice is in the overlap between the two ends, which often have parts written on different staves: bass clef for the left, treble for the right, though sometimes the clef on the staff for the left hand is written in treble clef which then sounds an octave lower.

I think that the anglo might have more need for fingerings to be carefully considered and perhaps marked, but my impression is that many anglo players play by ear rather than from written music. Most of what I've seen written about different fingering approaches refers to anglo rather than English.

#11 m3838

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Posted 21 April 2010 - 12:40 AM

Neither Duet nor English need fingering to mark the notes. Just learn to read them and be done.
Fingering is shown for better passages, to suggest phrasing, accentuation etc. Some adult stuff.
Anglos, however, need tablature, because they come in different keys.
But it's not fingering, it's tablature. Fingering is used for the blue reasons above.




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