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Concertina Contemplation


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#19 yerpalal

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Posted 14 October 2003 - 03:15 PM

Jim sayith this : Utter Crap.
I don't know, I think that GR was pointing out that if one uses the 4 th finger the the instrument becomes less stable on which ever end the 4 th finger is being employed and the temporary instability requires that the player compensate "somehow". I don't find Gorans statement to be so provocative. When I employ the 4th finger or simply leave one or the other out of the rests, I do find that my bellows control is lessened and I have to make adjustments that could impact my performance. My playing level is not high so it may wll be that with practice I will overcome my own limitations. I don't notice WW having any trouble at all employing his 4th finger. He seems to use it and then replace it in the rests and I see no evidence of bellows control problems or volume loss from loss of bellows pressure or pitch instability, but he has an uncommon command of the instrument, to say the least.Al W

#20 allan atlas

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Posted 15 October 2003 - 08:05 AM

FOLKS: i too don't know. . . .with respect to jim's dismissal of G's last statement. . . . . . .

while i'm not sure that the conflict between the "ideal" fingering and the "ideal" manipulation of the bellows is quite as severe as G would have it (at least when playing with three fingers only and with the pinky always glued in the finger rest). . . . but i do find that certain fingering patterns feel more comfortable with the bellows going in one direction or the other. . . . .they're not equally comfortable with the bellows going in either direction. . . . . .and since in the end, i think the fingering must take precedence (we have, after all, to push the right button down at the right time, to put it in its simplest terms), i make the bellows defer to what feels comfortable in terms of fingering. . . . i simply keep trying different bellows patterns until fingering and bellows both feel "right" (to me, at least). . . . . .

i can give you one example of the way in which i might alter the direction of the bellows even after i've gotten accustomed to things. . . . . there's a piece that i play in tandem with the new york victorian consort (mezzo-soprano, alternating pianists, and yours truly on three different period instruments). . . . .the bellows pattern is now in its THIRD manifestation . . . .each new approach aiming at changing the direction of the bellows LESS often . . . . .

#21 goran rahm

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Posted 15 October 2003 - 10:01 AM

Jim:"Göran, could you describe further what you mean by the 'four finger methods'? I know that in the past you've spoken in favor of a four-finger method as contrasted to a three-finger one. Since I think Allan has indicated that there seems to be no established *method* for the use of the fourth finger (Alsepti breaks his own "rule" and Regondi uses it "on demand"), I'd be interested to know to what extent and in what ways -- or in what situations, or note progressions -- you use the fourth finger."

Goran now:There are a few different ways to employ the fourth finger...like:
1) Alsepti (at least in theory): one finger for each row
2) Regondi: any finger on any row
3) 1st finger firstly on 2nd row and using 4th finger occasionally when it comes in handy.This is suitable in keys with few signatures
4) 1st finger firstly on 1st row and using 4th finger (mainly on 4th row and) as often as this is possible.This is suitable in keys with many signatures
5) not using the 4th finger for button work at all, letting it stay in the air along with the other fingers and avoiding any contact with the end of the instrument or the finger plate

The individual constitution definitely decides how efficient the 4th finger may be....some have a 4th finger about as useful as their 3rd...some have short, lean,curved or floppy 4th fingers not useful for anything....of course this influcences the ability to use methods 1-5 above.....
(Personally as being used to '3 finger method' from the start and having fairly useless 4ths I try to use them as much as possible but it will be a mixture between 3,4 and 5 above....I always keep them 'in the air' however...)

QUOTE
2) those who regard the original instrument concept/design as sacrosanct could choose between the 'Regond'/Alsepti' 4 finger idea or the 'common' 3 finger one keeping in mind that they may limit themselves.....


Jim:" In spite of its comprehensive chromaticism and apparent purpose of exercising the 4th finger as much as the others, it is used for only about 15% of the notes, not the 25% one might expect."

Goran now:Well, it has already been said a few times that Alsepti was not very consequent with his own dictate. Furthermore what is expected from the 4th is depending on its actual competence. For a general rough rule you could say that the 'values' of the fingers are 40% 30% 20% 10% for 1,2,3,4 respectively and with some variations say35-45 25-35 15-25 5-15. You could check insurance companies for more figures.....so you hardly expect the 4th to produce 25% of the total performance....

Jim:" Toward the other end of the scale, *I* mostly use three fingers, but I do occasionally use the fourth to avoid awkward sequences. Because of the shorter length and relative weakness of my little fingers, I find that using only three fingers *most* of the time is not only adequate, but generally provides me with greater control and expressiveness. However, I use the fourth finger in situations where I find the reverse to be true."

Goran now:I'm afraid you (and many others...) are blinded a bit by your habits Jim. Having the 4th in the air without question is superior for 'fingering'. Why do not Anglo and Duet players use fingerplates and seem satisfied without them??
One simple way to 'understand' the significance of this is doing a trill as fast and accurate as possible with 1st + 2nd, 1st + 3rd, 2nd + 3rd (on the instrument or 'virtually'on the table) while using these methods:
1) gripping a piece like a matchbox or cigarett case 65mm wide between thumb and 4th finger
2) pressing the 4th finger lightly against the surface or finger plate
3) having the 4th in the air, just passively following the other fingers

and comparing the quality of the trill with the respective methods

QUOTE
4) always remember that ideal 'fingering' and ideal 'bellowsing' is NOT possible to provide at the same time..


Jim:"Utter crap!"

Goran now:Hmm, a very articulate and insightful way to express that you either have not understood what I said, what I meant, or nothing at all.... :-)
Try it once again...what I said remains perfectly true because 'ideal fingering' demands an ideally relaxed and free hand - at best the thumb ought to be 'free' as well - conditionally that you don't include confidence in finding the button positions which I don't.I regard that as a separate matter.
'Ideal bellowsing' on the other hand demands a not strainful 'pumping' movement and ideal control of the bellows which in turn mean a stable 'interface' hand/instrument...i.e. a stable 'handle' and this means reduced movability of the hand and reduced working range for the fingers.

Goran Rahm

#22 yerpalal

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Posted 15 October 2003 - 10:38 AM

GR, I like your idea of holding the thumb and 4th finger on a table top and checking the trill between the various fingers. clearly 1-2 is the strongest, 2-3 is marginal, 3-4 just about useless . when the 4th finger is lifted and allowed to follow the 3rd finger, function seems to improve for the 3-4 combination. I find it interesting that the 1-3 combination is stronger than the 2-3. Not revelatory but interesting. AW

#23 allan atlas

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Posted 16 October 2003 - 05:45 PM

FOLKS: in his Sonata in C minor, Op. 111, 2nd movement, one of the most heavenly pieces of music ever written............beethoven has the poor pianist trilling with the 4th and 5th fingers (the concertina players 3rd and 4th fingers) for what seems an eternity. . . . .it can be done.............one has to practice. . . .which is not to say, of course, that most pianists prefer to trill with those fingers as opposed, say, to 2 and 3 (concertina player's 1 and 2). . . . . .

remember also: most of our trills involve fingers on both hands...................allan

#24 allan atlas

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Posted 16 October 2003 - 05:48 PM

Göran: i would be happy to respond to your posting of 14 October. . . .BUT: i'm not sure if you're addressing me (who is "Al"?). . . . .or if you're arguing with BM (boris matusewitch). . . . .or if you're arguing with anyone. . . . .or just what your point is.............not knowing just where to begin, then, i'll remain silent........allan

#25 yerpalal

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Posted 16 October 2003 - 06:45 PM

AA, I think I'm Al, that would be me I think. Cheers, Al W.

#26 goran rahm

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Posted 17 October 2003 - 02:07 AM

Allan:".....the bellows pattern is now in its THIRD manifestation . . . .each new approach aiming at changing the direction of the bellows LESS often . . . . ."

Goran:Not knowing the specific piece I trust this may be highly adequate of course but your expression raises some more questions (not knowing your tutor... yet...and there may be some answers in it...on the other hand maybe not everyone will have access to it but the questions:
1) Is the above due to particular demands regarding very long legato phrases in this particular piece or do you regard reduction of direction changes as some kind of aim in itself?
2) Not knowing your tutor (yet..) does it contain descriptions regarding various ways to execute the articulation modes...legato/portato/staccatto....in relation to bellows work and button work respectively? (According to Hugo Herrmann terminology 'bellows articulation' and 'finger articulation')
If so... lets get back to it after I've seen the tutor...if not...what is your approach to these matters?
3) Have you discussed the issue regarding the choice between push and pull respectively for 'attack' , amplitude, and staccatto? (Pull stroke usually being regarded as 'stronger/more efficient...but this is depending on several factors in management of the bellows....)
4) Have you discussed the reasons (and adviced practise..) for playing with the bellows as much 'closed' as possible or with a 'fanning' technique?
( One of the strikingly confusing matters in most old tutors are the remarks regarding bellows work...."working the bellows in a straight line"..."not twisting or bending the bellows"...."extend the bellows until they are nearly fully open...just before you run out of air change direction, close the bellows until nearly shut, then open them again"...)
5) Have you discussed the issue regarding working the bellows with dominantly one hand(either or them..) or with both hands symmetrically?

Goran Rahm

#27 goran rahm

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Posted 17 October 2003 - 02:47 AM

Allan:"Göran: i would be happy to respond to your posting of 14 October. . . .BUT: i'm not sure if you're addressing me (who is "Al"?). . . . .or if you're arguing with BM (boris matusewitch). . . . .or if you're arguing with anyone. . . . .or just what your point is.............not knowing just where to begin, then, i'll remain silent........allan"

Goran now:Well, I did address Al W. firstly and I would cdertainly enjoy arguing with BM if possible.... but You Allan are so welcome...begin wherever you like and let me try to clarify what the obscure point may be...:-)

#28 allan atlas

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Posted 17 October 2003 - 10:21 AM

Göran: you ask if I discussed this, that, and the other thing in the tutor. . . . . .i will answer as succinctly as possible: please read the tutor!!!!!. . . . . .

but perhaps the single most important statement in the tutor is the following one:

"In the end. . .rules and prescriptions are no substitute for intuition and musicality. We don't learn to play by reading books. . ."


i will also say that your series of questions troubles me a bit: it smacks of the kind of book review (a kind that appears too often these days) in which the reviewer blasts the author for what he or she did NOT (choose to) say or deal with. . . .my rejoinder to those reviewers: WRITE YOUR OWN BOOK..................

and finally, i fear you will be saddened by my remarks about the accordion tutors and their prescriptions for using the bellows. . . . they smack of what might be called a kind of "Continental" (specifically Central European/German-speaking) PSEUDO-SCIENCE............

so in the end, i'll leave it to you to find out about what i did and did not write. . . . .but i will say that what i did write leans toward the practical, intuitive, and most of all, at least i hope, MUSICAL. . . . .can i make my intent any clearer than that?????. . . .allan

Edited by allan atlas, 17 October 2003 - 10:22 AM.


#29 goran rahm

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Posted 18 October 2003 - 09:55 AM

Allan, sadly enough I get the impression you felt a bit provoked by my questions and maybe you misunderstood my intentions...maybe I expressed myself poorly...
Anyway: My intention here is NOT to comment on the contents of your book. I am still in the historic field, trying to find out what substance could be regarded as 'general knowledge' (= something we can all agree about) and what else could be regarded as individual( or 'school'..) 'opinions' or 'ideology'.

Since the publication of your book inevitably falls into the 'historic flow' (now into present times...) it is of course of interest to know what YOUR tutorial concept contains and some of my questions imply what has been presented before so your own approach to these matters could be of interest. It is definitely not meant to be critics of the contents in the book..they remain merely topics for discussion.

The 'case' of the 4th finger like I mentioned definitely has been ,and still is, a major problem with the English concertina and the approach to this issue inevitably will be a dividing line in tuition 'ideology'.You talk about 'no rules'..that sounds fine but in this case you simply have to choose..either you like it or not....and it can NOT be regarded as a matter just of personal 'taste' since it is so decisive to many other method matters.I'm afraid only the most gifted may rely on intuition and musicality..the rest have to rely on good advice...by reading or being taught..

Allan:"...and finally, i fear you will be saddened by my remarks about the accordion tutors and their prescriptions for using the bellows. . . . they smack of what might be called a kind of "Continental" (specifically Central European/German-speaking) PSEUDO-SCIENCE............"

Goran:Well, concerning Herrmann I could agree that he constructed a tower of systematics a few stories too high but the fundament still is solid and since the essence ot the ideas seem to be established everywhere in accordion environment (not only 'on the Continent') and in the academic world of accordion tuition ....to me it seems strange if the 'concertina world' would be completely alíenated to the type of playing technique analysis brought forward by eminent accordionists. There are always fights between 'rational' and intuitional' methods in all art forms...there don't have to be since there are always various fractions present of both.

#30 JimLucas

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Posted 18 October 2003 - 05:40 PM

Allan, [...] your own approach to these matters could be of interest. It is definitely not meant to be critics of the contents in the book..they remain merely topics for discussion.

Göran, I didn't get the sense that Allan thought you were criticizing what he said in his book. How could you be, if you haven't read it?

And that is the point. Since he has published his thoughts, in much greater volume and detail than is possible in posts here, the best way to find out what he thinks is to read the book.

If you do that and then want to take issue with his position(s), he might be willing to respond. But to expect him to take his time to rewrite for you what is already publicly available in his book is unreasonable, to put it mildly. I would expect that if you were truly interested in learning about Allan's "approach to these matters", you would buy the book at the earliest opportunity, and read it through.




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