Thanks Steve for a clear description of the fingering for the scale. I don't actually play like this but having just given it a go (slowly!) I can see that it is economical of movement. It did make me wonder if there is a reason for using the c(pull) on the LH G row rather than using the c (push) on the RH C row, which would seem an even tighter box of notes and just use the index fingers. I'm guessing there must be a reason, but have no idea what!
I think that the standardizing of a fingering scale is helpful when learning new songs, especially in the written form. Then, when that fingering seems awkward (physically or musically), a player can make the adjustments as needed. The G scale can be played in many ways but a player has to have a basic fingering to go from at first. I relearned my scale fingerings for every song I knew and once I had the new scale implanted firmly, I could read and play thru sheet music faster. Once I learned the basic song by reading then I would learn it by ear. That is where the exceptions to the rules come into play. Things like playing the d on the right hand ring finger (pull) on the C row instead of on the left hand G row with the index (push) or playing the "a" pull with the ring finger on the G row to hit the index push "d" same row and hand. And numerous more exceptions that would take up too much time to explain.
This fingering is one of the many that I had figured out on my own, as many others have, but narrowing the scale down to a basic first choice and altering it as needed sure makes things less complicated for me.
There are many players that use a straight row and are wonderful players. They have a unique syncopation because of the those specific push, pull combinations. With a standard fingering, the alternate options can be changed to either smooth out or make percussive the transition from one note to another depending on what is required for the tune or the player.
I am in no way a great or even moderate player. I didn't start learning how to play a concertina until I was 52. I didn't listen to or play much Irish music until the 1980's when I played a harmonica, a bamboo flute and a whistle on St. Patrick's Day. It was mostly for the American drinkers which meant the typical Bawdy and Raucous songs. As I look back in shame upon what I thought was Irish music and playing I blush with embarrassment and wish that I had exposed myself to the Reel
thing. I wasted 15 to 20 years of good learning time. Now I am content to play with more expression and less speed due to the age of my fingers and the slowing down of the synapses.
Hope this is helpful to some new learners.
David's PDF on this is very informative and well worth it for all new players, with limited access to the real folk process, to read through. I must also give credit to Noel's teachings for making my life easier. It is money well spent to go to one of his workshops either here in the U.S or in Ireland.
Edited by s2maur, 09 May 2009 - 09:39 AM.