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EC - what do you do with idle fingers?


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#1 Don Taylor

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Posted 25 April 2012 - 08:40 PM

Hi,

Newbie question.

I have a Jack and am working through the tutor that came with it from Wim Wakker and also the Butler tutor. Neither address my question so maybe it is something that I should not worry about except that I don't want to develop bad habits that will be hard to break.

Anyway, the question I have is what do you do with the fingers that are not actually playing a note?

Should I, as a beginner, try to consciously leave them where they last played, move them in anticipation, use them (esp. the third finger) as some sort of reference point or let them wave about until needed again.

Thx. in advance,

Don.

#2 Chris Drinkwater

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Posted 26 April 2012 - 02:40 AM

Hi,

Newbie question.

I have a Jack and am working through the tutor that came with it from Wim Wakker and also the Butler tutor. Neither address my question so maybe it is something that I should not worry about except that I don't want to develop bad habits that will be hard to break.

Anyway, the question I have is what do you do with the fingers that are not actually playing a note?

Should I, as a beginner, try to consciously leave them where they last played, move them in anticipation, use them (esp. the third finger) as some sort of reference point or let them wave about until needed again.

Thx. in advance,

Don.



Interesting question. I confess to not using the finger rest designed for placing the little finger or pinkie underneath, to give support, when holding the concertina. This is because if I do so, I find it restricts the movement of my other three fingers, which means I haven't got the flexibility I need to move my finger to the appropriate buttons as quickly as is needed, depending on the speed at which the tune is being played. What I then do with my fingers, depends on how well I know and can play a particular tune. If I don't know the tune well, when I finger one button (or more), I tend to leave the other fingers hanging loose, relaxed, and then move the appropriate finger to the next button, when I have worked out which button I need to depress, and so on. When I know a tune well, I instinctively know which buttons I need to press next in sequence, one at at a time, as the tune progresses, and so I will place the appropriate finger or fingers I need to use next, as near to the correct button as possible, in advance, in anticipation of playing the next note or note in the sequence.

I think this fundamental technique is something you will need to work out for yourself as you progress and your playing skills improve, and will ultimately become pretty much automatic, as you get familiar with the button layout and get to know more or less instinctively, which notes are where on the layout and you can find them without have to look or think to much.

Chris

#3 michael sam wild

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Posted 26 April 2012 - 04:30 AM

I play Anglo and leave the fingers hovering as near as possible to the usual 'default' buttons apart from a little finger if not in use to stabilse it. I don'tknow how an EC player would do it but Rob Harbron advocated at a recent workshop in lewes that you should practice keeping the fingers close to the buttons rasther than letting them spring up . He recommended exercises to do this . I hope we don't develop clawed fingers!

#4 Steve Mansfield

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Posted 26 April 2012 - 06:01 AM

Pretty much what Chris said - as you get more proficient / experienced / hours under your belt you'll find that the 'idle' fingers start to keep themselves active by moving towards the next key where they will be needed.

I didn't do any conscious work on developing this, it just sort of happened, and I didn't even notice it was happening until I was watching a video of myself playing and realised that the 'idle' fingers were actually on the move. Having realised it was happening I then had to consciously stop noticing it was happening, because awareness that it was happening focussed too much attention on that and not enough on the 'active' fingers!

Amazing what the brain does whilst you think it's concentrating on other things.

#5 spindizzy

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Posted 26 April 2012 - 06:40 AM

Hi,

Newbie question.

I have a Jack and am working through the tutor that came with it from Wim Wakker and also the Butler tutor. Neither address my question so maybe it is something that I should not worry about except that I don't want to develop bad habits that will be hard to break.

Anyway, the question I have is what do you do with the fingers that are not actually playing a note?

Should I, as a beginner, try to consciously leave them where they last played, move them in anticipation, use them (esp. the third finger) as some sort of reference point or let them wave about until needed again.

Thx. in advance,

Don.


When I show someone who is just starting how to play english (I won't say teach or tutor, it's not that advanced!), I suggest that they leave fingers in contact with the key just used to help keep located. (rather like always having 3 points on contact when rock climbing). I start people with scales, walking alternate fingers up the buttons.

I think as you get better fingers will start to do what is needed, usually move towards the next button, without thinking and automatic fingers must be what you aim for.
I'm starting to try and play more without the pinkie rest but I think it's worth using it to start with, it's very easy to come adrift without that finger just giving a prompt to the overall hand position. Alternative ways of fingering tricky passages (eg the fifth jumps at the start of Morrison's) come along later and need to be practiced to get the fingers out of their normal routine.

Chris



#6 michael sam wild

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Posted 27 April 2012 - 10:04 AM

I put a post up on phrasing which referred to an article which advocates seeing the end notes in a bar as the lead in notes for the next, that could help in forward' thinking or intuitive playing/

Spindizzy, you should come out in the Peak District one finger as point of contact is now common, scares me and I climbed for many years!

#7 Don Taylor

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Posted 27 April 2012 - 11:03 AM

I put a post up on phrasing which referred to an article which advocates seeing the end notes in a bar as the lead in notes for the next, that could help in forward' thinking or intuitive playing/

Spindizzy, you should come out in the Peak District one finger as point of contact is now common, scares me and I climbed for many years!

Can you please provide a link or a reference.

Thx. Don.

#8 michael sam wild

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Posted 28 April 2012 - 05:36 AM

here you are Don :)

http://www.concertin...=1
There are more articles by Pat Mitchell .He's a piper.



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