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Chopping?


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#1 SusanW

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Posted 25 August 2015 - 04:01 PM

The more I try to learn the less I understand.....If I am reading old posts correctly, one should avoid "chopping".... "using the same finger to play two consecutive notes on two different buttons". 

So, I have these tunes that I learned at Noel Hill School and using his guidance I am playing G e d all on the left hand, all with my left index finger. Is this "chopping"?  What I would have done (Before Noel Hill) would have been to play G (LH push), e ( LH pull), d (RH push)...... But I'm trying to retrain myself, but now I'm worried about chopping......


Edited by SusanW, 26 August 2015 - 03:11 PM.


#2 Bruce McCaskey

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Posted 26 August 2015 - 10:34 AM

I'm not certain from your question if you are saying Noel told you to play that particular note sequence (G, then d, then e) in that order with the left index finger, or if you are rather just saying that he has told you that you should normally use your left index finger to play those particular notes when you encounter them in tunes.  I think you're saying that the former is the case and not the latter, but if it is the latter, that's consistent with his preferred approach to fingering.  He prefers the use of the push-D rather then the pull-D.  There are exceptions to that methodology, but it's a general rule.

 

If you're saying he told you to play those specific notes in the sequence you indicated for a particular tune, the fingering you described as your previous approach is the one I would normally expect Noel to use for that sequence.  If Noel deviated from his preferred fingering and included a finger jump, there's a good reason.  Without knowing more specifics, I can only guess as to what it might have been but I'll mention some possibilities.

 

While very unusual and uncommon, a finger jumping in order to play two notes in sequence isn't necessarily a bad choice in some circumstances.  Much depends on the flow and phrasing of the music as well as the speed of the tune.  There are sometimes chord considerations (note combinations available in a certain bellows direction) that might call for using a non-typical button combination, the phrasing of the tune might have a natural pause at the point where the finger jumping is called for, and if the tune is normally played slow, it might accommodate allowing for jumping the finger as an alternative to the normal approach.​

 

You should be aware though that this jumping technique is not one you should train yourself to use as a default for the simple note combination you described, it is a very unusual approach.  I think I've been to 15 class series with Noel and I can only remember him presenting one tune arrangement that called for the specific fingering jumping you described.  That tune was presented in his beginning ("early") class and it was played entirely with the two index fingers.  As I recall it was intended to build coordination with the index fingers and not intended to establish a default fingering.  He did scale training and other tunes within the beginner class setting to establish the fingering pattern defaults.

 

If you'd care to send me a personal message through the forum I'd be happy to discuss specifics of the tune you are playing, it may be one that I've encountered from Noel over the years.



#3 Bob Michel

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Posted 26 August 2015 - 11:02 AM

The more I try to learn the less I understand.....If I am reading old posts correctly, one should avoid "chopping"

There are good reasons to avoid chopping, particularly when one is learning. Think of hunt-and-peck vs. touch typing (if that analogy doesn't date me too badly). You'll play more confidently, and with more subtle and fluid phrasing, if you explore all sorts of alternative fingerings, and if you use all your fingers with something approaching equal ease.

But (to invoke a different analogy) it's a matter of discipline, not of dogma. Chopping your way through a passage isn't an approach you'd use often, but at times it can work well. For years I avoided it assiduously; I made it a point of honor never to use the same finger consecutively on different buttons, and I think it was a good regimen. But over time I realized that once in a rare while the particular flavor of staccato I got from chopping was exactly what I wanted. In the end it's all about the sound you want.

Bob Michel
Near Philly

Edited by Bob Michel, 26 August 2015 - 11:03 AM.


#4 Rod

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Posted 26 August 2015 - 01:59 PM

My guess is that we all get caught out occasionally, when a bit of chopping seems to be the only immediately available escape route. Perhaps the answer is to become so adept at chopping that our predicament, on these hopefully rare occasions, goes undetected.........if only.

#5 SusanW

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Posted 26 August 2015 - 03:12 PM

It is G-e-d that I was referring to, as in Clancy's Jig https://thesession.org/tunes/1856 


Edited by SusanW, 26 August 2015 - 03:13 PM.


#6 Bruce McCaskey

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Posted 26 August 2015 - 03:52 PM

In a case such as this I'd likely play the starting G with my ring finger on the G row and then the D with my index on the same row.

I'd imagine Noel's approach though would be to play the opening G with the index on the C row, then play an F# grace note (right index) cut leading into the D played with the left index. This is a case where the rhythm of the tune supports such an approach.

There are other ways to play these notes, as as you explore them listen to the flow of the music as well as the definition of the tones. Some approaches give you better definition and for this tune you want some of that at this spot.

#7 Mikefule

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Posted 28 August 2015 - 01:07 AM

I play a different style of music, but on the whole I try to avoid using the same finger consecutively on different buttons.  It is not always possible - or alternatives sometimes feel even clumsier.  In those cases where I find it necessary (or preferable) it would normally be timed so that the second of the two consecutive notes is on the start of a triplet, bar or phrase.



#8 Jeff Loen

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Posted 28 August 2015 - 06:02 PM

I specifically asked Noel about this on a certain tune that he taught us and he said not to worry about it on slow tunes.



#9 SusanW

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Posted 29 August 2015 - 10:46 AM

Thank you all for your help! :D



#10 Jim Burke

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Posted 29 August 2015 - 11:16 AM

Susan, the first note in this tune is a quarter note. There is plenty of time to move the first finger from the G to the e, even at a brisk session pace. I don't think Noel would have suggested using the first finger on both notes if the G was an eighth note. Think about it this way: If the melody called for an intervening eighth note (say a RH B on the C row), you probably would use the first finger on the G and e and not question it. I think a useful approach to the "don't chop" rule is to apply it when the space is an eighth or less, but to not worry about it when the space is a quarter or greater. J



#11 Azalin

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Posted 29 August 2015 - 02:24 PM

Would Noel be against playing push G on the LH G row with the index finger, push "e" on the RH G row with middle finger, and pull "d" on the same button? Seems like a good alternative to me, although I'd probably do like Bruce suggested and use the push G, pull e and push d on the LH G row if the push-pull-push fits the phrase well.

 

I know chopping is not such a big deal in slower tunes, but why not practice non-chopping options even in slower tunes if possible? You then get training for faster tunes when you'll need it.


Edited by Azalin, 29 August 2015 - 02:27 PM.


#12 JimLucas

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Posted 29 August 2015 - 03:26 PM

Would Noel be against playing push G on the LH G row with the index finger, push "e" on the RH G row with middle finger, and pull "d" on the same button?

 

Don't you mean the C row, rather than the G row?



#13 Azalin

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Posted 29 August 2015 - 08:11 PM

 

Would Noel be against playing push G on the LH G row with the index finger, push "e" on the RH G row with middle finger, and pull "d" on the same button?

 

Don't you mean the C row, rather than the G row?

 

 

Yes thank you, it gets confusing sometimes :-D



#14 Kurt Braun

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Posted 30 August 2015 - 07:13 PM

Even playing slowly, the nature of the musical phrase can, and often does, require that the two notes be connected. If we don't use the same finger on two succeeding notes, the choice of articultion is musical rather than fingering convenience or comfort.

Edited by Kurt Braun, 30 August 2015 - 07:20 PM.


#15 ceemonster

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Posted 30 August 2015 - 08:17 PM

remember, it ain't "chopping" if you do it during a rest, a long note, a break between the "A" and "B" parts, or even in a running phrase group where you have made an informed decision that staccato is credible-sounding and can be executed successfully using the same finger. or that is my philosophy. . . .  I actually rarely if ever "chop" during a running line of notes, but everything else is fair game, at least, on the happily infrequent occasions where there's a fingering issue not solvable by some other means . . .

 

because my digits will stiffen at speed, I prefer the rearrange-the-setting workaround . . .


Edited by ceemonster, 30 August 2015 - 08:18 PM.


#16 Wolf Molkentin

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Posted 31 August 2015 - 09:54 AM

Well, staccato is another matter - you might consider the use of different fingers on one button in order to have it more accurate, and Simon Thoumire even seems to use adjacent notes for sort of a triple cut combined with the same fingering...



#17 Tootler

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Posted 14 September 2015 - 09:57 AM

"Chopping" is something I try to avoid but sometimes it's all but impossible to avoid, especially if you are playing in keys other than the home keys of an Anglo as you need to go to the accidental row to get the necessary notes. In such cases, I try to slide my finger from one button to the other rather than pick it up and move it to avoid a staccato effect. Most of the time it seems to work OK.





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