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judyhawkins

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  1. Chapter eleven of Judy's harum scarum Hayden tutorial ---------------- Section One ---------------- Here's a favorite tune, a round my mother used to sing me and my sister to sleep with: O wie wolh ist mir am abend / Oh how lovely is the evening. If you're thinking you want to sing and accompany yourself on concertina, this is a good starting point: simple tune, simple words, lots of interesting challenges to expand into once you get the basic pattern down. Or, if singing isn't your thing, but harmony is -- rounds are a delightful way of exploring two, three, four part harmony; and of getting your left hand and right hand working independently, too. If you've never met rounds before, they're little tiny gems of music which people sing in small groups, one person starting the first phrase, then when the first person gets to the the second phrase, the next person starts with the first phrase, and so on. The tunes are made to harmonize with themselves. Here's a link: http://roundz.tripod.com/#links ----------------------------------------- First, the abc, with words, formatted to print nicely... X:1 T:Oh, how lovely is the evening M:3/4 L:1/4 K:G |"Oh," G2 "how"A | "love -" B2 "ly" G |"is" c2 "the" B \ | "eve -" (BA) "ning," G |"is" c2 "the" B | "eve -" (BA) "ning," G | |"when" B2 "the" c | "bells" d2 "are" B | "sweet -" e2 "ly" d \ | "ring -" (dc) "ing," B | "sweet -" e2 "ly" d | "ring -" (dc) "ing" B | |"Bim" G3 | "bom" G3 | "bim" G3 | "Bim" G3 | "bom" G3 | "bim" G3 | and the abc, minus the words, but with numbers showing the phrases, or parts, of the round: 1, 2, 3: X:2 T:Oh, how lovely is the evening M:3/4 L:1/4 K:G | "1"G2 A | B2 G | c2 B | (BA) G | c2 B | (BA) G | | "2"B2 c | d2 B | e2 d| (dc) B | e2 d | (dc) B | | "3"G3 | G3 | G3 | G3 | G3 | G3 | The first challenge is which fingers to use where. Here's the first phrase, in two different fingerings, broken into tiny tunelets: 1 2 3 1 1 3 3 2 1 1 3 3 2 1 G2 A | B2 G | c2 B |(B A) G c2 B |(B A) G OR: 2 3 4 2 1 4 4 3 2 1 4 4 3 2 G2 A | B2 G | c2 B |(B A) G c2 B |(B A) G Try them both. In the first one, you might want to imitate a guitar -- fingerpicking style -- make all the notes short and light, allowing a little silence between each note; so at the "hop" from 1 to 1 (G to c), it sounds just like all the other notes. When you get good at it, it can have the feel of a classical guitar. In the second fingering, go for smooth, long notes. Once you get good at it, you'll be able to make the notes flow into one another, like a legato piano, a flowing violin, a swooping harp. If you have arthritis in your pinkies like me, or your pinkies are short and not very strong, you'll like the first approach better; if, like me, you like being able to connect the notes into a smoothly flowing line, you'll like the second approach. So here I am in a dilemma, which do I pick? When my pinkies are killing me and I'm deciding which instruments to focus on for today's practice time, I generally lean towards the instruments that don't hurt my pinkies -- recorder, fiddle/viola, fingerpicking Hayden. (English concertina is really hard on your pinkies: the weight of the instrument is carried on them.) I have this choice on the Hayden -- I can pick the style that doesn't hurt my pinkies. It's a lighter style -- in order for the "hops" (where I use the finger I just used on the previous button) not to stand out, I can play the other notes as hops, too, rather than smooth transitions -- and it's just a stylistic choice. And you get to learn both ways, and have two very different styles to choose from, if that's what you want -- or you can pick one, and focus on it, get really good at the style you like best. ----------------------------------------- But I've digressed into stylistic matters... Back to the tune. It's a round: once you've learned it -- and I've given you, above, a good start on fingering choices -- picking the fingers for the rest of the tune will flow from the choices made at the beginning -- I can tell you one thing for sure: if you are planning on learning a lot of tunes by ear, from cds or online or especially at live music sessions -- at higher speeds with no help from dots-on-a-page or Amazing Slow-Downer software or patient fellow musicians -- the three finger approach is a winner. You don't have to remember which finger to start the tune on. You don't have to remember, really, which finger to put where -- you just have to develop a map of the notes/buttons in your head (basically, the button chart transferred into your memory with that nifty little usb cable that came with your camera... a.k.a a bunch of practice in the privacy of your room), and put whichever finger is handy on the button that comes next -- lightly dancing over them, making it sound exactly like you meant to that. (and if you're already playing lightly and "hoppingly" -- when you hit a wrong note, you'll hear it first, before anyone else and you'll get real good at backing off and turning that "wrong" note (or at least, a note not-in-the-tune or not-in-the-key) into the briefest of passing-grace-notes -- a little bit of cayenne pepper in the chocolate cake. Kind of yummy, really!) -------------------------- I digressed again. Back to the tune: It's a round: once you've learned it in one hand, learn to play it in both at once. Sing along with it, and don't worry about it if you can't sing, sing anyways. Croak, if that's your level of singing ability -- it'll help you learn the tune, get it into your head, and most importantly, into your ear, and you'll get more tuneful at croaking, with some nice private practice. ----------------------- Now that you've got it DOWN, both hands and singing, try playing the first line in the right hand against the second line in the left hand, and singing the last line (I picked an easy one for that!!) You may have to slow way down; you can do it as tunelets, and stop in between to regroup. If that gets you all tangled up and frustrated, stop and just play the right hand, and then just the left hand, and then go back to trying to get them to operate the different parts of the tune at the same time. Keep in mind what I said a few chapters back: when in trouble, SUBTRACT. Do fewer things, do them slower, then when you're comfortable do more, or do them faster. Oscillate between doing less, and attempting more, and gradually you'll become more able to do more different things at the same time, faster. It's the old patting your head and rubbing your stomach (and then switching, and messing your hair all up...) ------------------------- When you can play the first line in the right hand, and the second in the left, swap lines. Keep working at it until you can play both hands against each other, moving smoothly through the parts. At whatever point you get really comfortable, try doing the round in three parts -- right hand, left hand, singing. Or start singing, and come in with the concertina on the second and third parts. There are a huge number of rounds out there in the world, if you like rounds you're in clover: a great starting point is Sol Weber's collections --- http://roundz.tripod.com/#links give you a lifetime's worth. ----------------------- Section Two -------------------------- My guess is that many people with more musical experience will still find the above an interesting and valuable challenge. The really cool thing about it is it's a great introduction to playing countermelodies, and learning to play harmony by playing it from one of the most accessible bodies of music -- simple, gorgeous tunes that people have crafted to harmonize with themselves, complete with engaging words to help dig the music firmly into memory. If you aren't very comfortable reading music, try sightreading through a bunch of these: that will give you more facility reading music. Do it slowly, patiently; write the note-names near the dots on the paper, if you need to! Do it on just one hand, then add the other hand in unison; then try doing the parts, if you're feeling really bold. The more you do, the easier it will become. Or: if you're great at sight reading, but have trouble memorizing, pick a few rounds that you find especially delightful and memorize them: here's how: play through a tune three times, reading it from the page, then shut your eyes and try to play it, slowly, visualizing as much as you can remember of what you saw on the page. When you start falling apart, open your eyes and play it three times again, reading, then close your eyes again; keep alternating until you're comfortable playing the whole thing eyes shut. Then go do another tune. Once you've learned the words of the rounds, singing them will help a lot, too, with memorizing; or you can sing the note names. We've all memorized our native language, with some thoughtful practice music is memorizable too.
  2. Chapter ten of Judy's harum scarum Hayden tutorial rats... it edited my title and made it say Intervals Ii instead of Intervals II --- and I don't know how to fix it. ---------------- Section One ----------------- The fourth, and the fifth -- this is about two intervals with notes a little further apart from each other than the seconds and thirds. First, let's find a "fifth" in a familiar tune. Play "The First Leaves of Spring" -- play the tune in your right hand, and the accompaniment in your left hand. Play it a couple times, get it firmly in hand. Now just play the left hand, very slowly. The first two notes -- C to E -- make a major third. The next two notes -- E to F -- make a minor second.... (hmm, what's that doing here? I'll get into that later...) The next two notes -- F to G -- well, there's a major second -- (remembering that a major second is two buttons along a row) and then the next two notes -- G to C -- that big leap there, across the rows, is a "fifth." Get that one into your head: notice things about it, like how it feels on the buttons, and how it has its own sound, different from the major third, different from the minor second and the major second. Especially notice how it can be made up out of several smaller intervals: you could count it out by seconds (both kinds): C D (major second) plus D E (major second) plus E F (minor second) plus F G (major second) a shorthand for that would be C D (M2) D E (M2) E F (m2) F G (M2) and shorthand for the fifth C G (p5) for perfect fifth (there are other kinds...) Here's another way of counting out the perfect fifth: C E (major third) plus E G (minor third) or, in shorthand: C E (M3) E G (m3) (I'm going to use that shorthand a lot in the future.) Noodle around with that for a bit. --------------------------------- Ok, and now for the fourth. Play C and F together. That's a fourth. Compare it with the fifth: how it sounds, how it feels, where it is on the instrument. Add up smaller intervals to get the fourth: C D (M2) D E (M2) E F (m2) or ---- C E (M3) E F (m2) or EVEN, if you want to get really complicated.... subtract a Major Second from a Perfect Fifth, like this: C G (p5) minus G F (M2) = C F Noodle around with that -- find fourths in the tunes you know, and come up with some way of describing their sound to yourself. Fourths and fifths sound a lot alike; in fact, they are very closely related to one another: C up to F is a fourth, but F up to C is a fifth. Hmmmmmm... that could get confusing! The difference is this: how many notes of the scale fall between the notes, so C d e F is a fourth, but F g a b C is a fifth. C d e F F g a b C --------------------------------------------------------- Having mentioned "notes of the scale" -- here's one more chunk of verbiage. C D E F G Those 5 notes are the first five notes of the C Major scale -- as well as all the notes used by both hands playing "The First Leaves of Spring." If I number them, thus: 1 2 3 4 5 C D E F G C D major second C E major third C F perfect fourth C G perfect fifth that gives you another perspective on why these things are named this way. Here's the picture for the first five notes of the D minor scale, which is what "The Last Snows..." is written in: 1 2 3 4 5 D E F G A D E major second D F minor third D G perfect fourth D A perfect fifth Here's some more things to notice and noodle around with: You can make a major third (M3) out of two intervals: C D (M2) D E (M2) C E (M3) and a minor third (m3) out of two intervals: D E (M2) E F (m2) D F (m3) If you're feeling really comfortable with all this and want a bit of a challenge -- notice the location of the minor second in both scales, the C major and the D minor. It's a small interval with a disproportionately large amount of influence. Where it falls in the scale makes the difference between the sound of major and minor -- even though both scales use it, the place they put it is what makes the different sound. That happens to be a favorite topic of mine, I'll bring it up again. ------------------------------------------------------------- There's getting to be a lot of information here, all these different intervals and how they sound; noodle around with it, and if it's feeling like a lot, that's ok. Over time I'll be pointing these out again and again, and they will become more and more comfortable to you. But take some time here with "The First Leaves of Spring" to notice each of the different intervals, and get a strong memory built up of where they show up, in each place in the tune. If you do that, you'll always have this little basic map to come back to. If you're feeling comfortable with this stuff, move it around on the instrument. Play "The First Leaves..." starting on different notes, and notice how very much things stay the same -- the buttons are at the same distance no matter where you start (unless you fall off the edge of the button layout!) --------------------------------------------------------------- What I've done for you, and also for myself, is to give you as small a chunk of music theory-and-terminology as I could, while covering enough ground to have a useful set of common language-about-music. I want to be able to point out features about these tunes that I love, and which I think make them do their thing so especially beautifully; and I want to give you some concepts to make learning the tunes easier -- give you more of that "Oh, I see how that fits together!" and "how that works!" which makes it all a lot more interesting and fun. ------------------ Section Two ------------------------------ One of these days I'll get back to inventing bigger challenges for people who want a stretch; I'm going to try and make the stretches be just past the most basic stuff that I present, so that different people moving at different paces have material to work with that feels comfortable, and comfortably challenging.
  3. Chapter nine of Judy's harum scarum Hayden tutorial ---------------- Section One ----------------- Since not everyone has a lot of experience with music, I want to introduce some new definitions -- words, ideas and concepts -- in one compact chunk that you can refer to later, so you can gradually make sense out of the ideas as I go over new tunes. I'm putting musical things-to-do in each definition, so you can play around and get the feel as well as the sound of each new concept into your mind -- and if you forget them, you can always come back here and refresh the actual feel and sound, by doing these simple little musical things. In the next group of chapters, I will be revisiting all this stuff in the context of specific tunes, where I'll be working with finding comfortable fingerings and simple left hand accompaniments. I don't want to be making ANY assumptions about what anyone knows, so this will give us common ground -- common concepts, common words -- to work from. I'm going to use "The First Leaves of Spring" and "The Last Snows of Winter" from Chapters 1-5 as examples, so you might want to play through them and get them under your fingers again. ------------------------------------------------------------ Definition of "Interval" Play any two notes together. That's an interval. Intervals are for talking about how far notes are from one another -- a measure of distance. Two notes played together, or near one another, are making some kind of harmony, be it pleasant or unpleasant, and they are at some interval (some distance, small or large) from one another. Intervals are the building blocks of harmony. Some sound nice together, some sound kind of funky, all of the different intervals are used SOMEWHERE in some piece of music or other. Play a bunch of different pairs of notes together, and get a sense for the wide variety of sounds they make, like mixing up paint colors on a palette, or using different foods and spices together when you're cooking. ------------------------------------------------------ The Most Useful Types of Interval There is a small group of especially valuable intervals: unison octave major second minor second major third minor third fourth fifth --------------------------------------------------- Definition of Unison and Octave Unison is the same note played with itself: if you sing a G, and your friend sings the same note, that's a unison. If you sing a song with your friend, both of you singing the same notes, then you are singing "at the unison" or "in unison". If you have a high voice and your friend has a low voice, then you might end up singing the same notes, but an "octave" apart. Here's how those two intervals look on the Hayden. On right side of the Hayden, play a C, and the C above it -- use your button chart to find it. It's two rows up. That's an octave. Now, add another C -- play the low C on the left side. That's an octave from the low C on the right, and two octaves from the high C on the right. This works the same for all the other notes: two notes with the same name are always at an interval of an octave (except when they are a unison.) There's one C unison on all Haydens (that I know of): it's the high C on the left, played with the low C on the right. Play a bunch of different octaves -- G notes; B notes; A notes; notice the particular quality they have of sounding much more alike than notes at intervals that aren't octaves or unisons. Find the unisons on your instrument and play those. They sound even more like each other. ------------------------------------------------------ Definition of "major second" and "major third" Play C and D together, that's a "major second". Play D and E together, that's also a "major second", just like C and D. Now play C and E together, that's a "major third". Play those two different kinds of intervals a bunch of times, and notice how very different they sound: The "major second" is kind of funky-sounding, whether it's spelled CD or DE. The "major third" -- C E -- is, by comparison, quite pleasant. Get familiar with how different they sound, and also how they feel on the instrument: the major second is two adjacent buttons on the same row. The major third is the next button over, on the same row. Now play the first tune from this tutorial, "The First Leaves of Spring" -- remember that I wanted you to notice that it is a "major" sounding tune. Notice the pattern of the intervals -- sometimes the next note is a second away, sometimes a third. Noodle around with the tune and the intervals until you feel like you've got your head around them. ----------------------------------------------------------------------- Making the distinction between "major" and "minor" Now let's get out that other first tune, "The Last Snows of Winter" -- which is a "minor tune", and play it. Play the first two notes together: D and E: that's a "major second" (they are next to each other on the row.) Now play the second two notes together: E and F. That interval is the other flavor of second, the "minor second". Play the two different intervals, and compare them. Notice how the "minor second" feels, where the buttons are, across the rows like that. Ok, now play the first and third notes of "The Last Snows..." together, the D and the F on the row above -- THAT is a "minor third" -- it has its own special quality. Compare that "minor third" with the "major third" from "The First Leaves..." which is C and E. Think about that difference, between major and minor: find things out there in the world that help you picture "minor" v.s. "major" -- sad/happy, or spicy/sweet, or lugubrious/manic, or pensive/silly, or whatever seems like good words and images to you. It's the different flavors of intervals that give these two tunes their distinctive sound: Major, v.s. Minor. That's one of the engaging things about music: there's all the these different kinds of intervals, some wildly different, as different as jalapeno and vanilla, salt and sweet, bitter and savory -- while other intervals are just a little bit different, like the difference between sweet peppers and sweet apples, or jalapeno and cayenne pepper. It helps, learning tunes, to have a way of referring to all these bits and pieces that tunes are made out of -- not just the notes themselves, but the relationships between the notes. ---------------------------------------------------------------- Ok, that is ENOUGH for one chapter! Spend some time noodling around with these new concepts, and find them in any other tunes you might be working on. The next chapter will be about the fourths and the fifths, and some stuff about how they work to make music more interesting. And after that I'll get back to exploring tunes and figuring out good fingerings and simple left hand accompaniments.
  4. Chapter eight of Judy's harum scarum Hayden tutorial ---------------- Section One ----------------- Ok, finally on to harmonization. There's no one right way to harmonize anything: just what sounds best to you. But that's hard to figure out, so you have to begin somewhere. The easiest starting point is just to play the root note of the key -- G -- in the left hand, on the first note of every measure. That way you are keeping the rhythm very clear (dancers like that!) and getting some practice with your left hand operating in a different pattern from your right hand. While you're doing that, listen to what you are playing and think about when it sounds good, when it doesn't sound so good, and how it gets pretty tedious after a while. Either on paper, or in your head, make a map of the tune to keep track of when "G" sounded good and when it didn't. Having learned the tune all broken up into tunelets can help you to have a map in your head-- "I liked G with the first tunelet, but not the second... " -------------------------- Now that you have a bit of an idea of where you like the G, and where you don't, here's some ideas for other notes besides G. The easiest way is to get ideas from someone else. In the Waltz Book, there are chords written -- just the letter names. A straight forward starting point is to play the letters written (ignoring all puzzling qualifiers like "7" and "6" and /B and m, which I'll get into later). Here's the abc: X:1 T:Tombigbee Waltz S:The Waltz Book, Bill Matthieson M:3/4 L:1/4 K:G B/A/ || "G"GBB | "(GM7)"d2 B/A/| "(G6)"GBB | "G"d2 B |\ "Am"BAA | ABd | "C"e2 d | "D7"B>c B/A/ | "G"GBB | "(GM7)"d2 B/A/| "(G6)"GBB | "G"d2 B |\ "Am"BAA | ABd | "C"ed "D"F | "G"G2 d || "G"g2d | "G/B"g2 d | "C"e>dc | "G"d2 B |\ "Am"BAA | ABd | "C"e2 d | "D"B2 d | "G"g2d | "G/B"g2 d | "C"e>dc | "G"d2 B |\ "Am"BAA | ABd | "C"ed "D"F | "G"G2 || Get really comfortable with using the letter names of the chords to create a left hand. As you play, listen for which left-hand notes sound really good, and which ones don't sound as good. Once you've gotten comfortable with that, try this: for those left-hand notes which DON'T sound so good to you, substitute a different note IN THE SAME CHORD. .....what's a chord? .....the most BASIC definition of a chord is any group of notes sounding at the same time.... kind of like "a word is a group of letters" (but not just any random group of letters!) So: there's groups of letters which mean something; and there's groups of specific notes that have a good sound, and have names. For example: the G major chord is GBD all sounded at once. Similarly, the C major chord is CEG all sounded at once. Play the G chord. Play the C chord. Observe how they are the same pattern, just shifted to a different part of the button map. Back to the tune: if it says "C" over the melody, but if you've decided you don't particularly like how the C sounds with that part of the melody, try the E. As you experiment with that, notice how easy it is to find the 'next note up" in the chord. Here's a list of chords used with Tombigbee, spelled out: "G" G B D "GM7" G B D F# "G6" G B D E "Am" A C E "C" C E G "D7" D F# A C "G/B" means either a G major chord, or a B chord, which would be B D# F# I think you have plenty to work with at this point. If it feels overwhelmingly too many notes to deal with, go back a bit: play just the note names as written in the sheet music, or even just the G. Move back and forth between what's comfortable, and what's more difficult. Keep building up that map in your mind, the map that helps you remember where G (or C, or F# ) in the left hand sounds good and where it doesn't sound so good. ------------------------------------------------------------- All of the above -- all the way back to breaking up the tune into tunelets and learning them -- is stuff you can apply on your own to any tune out there. Try it! Next few chapters I'll get into some more different possiblities with chords in the left hand.
  5. Chapter seven of Judy's harum scarum Hayden tutorial ---------------- Section One ----------------- Here's the second half of the Tombigbee waltz, with "t1", "t2", etc to show where the tunelets fall (and you are welcome -- encouraged -- to experiment with other ways of breaking up the tune!) X:1 T:Tombigbee Waltz, second half M:3/4 L:1/4 K:G "t1"d || g2d | g2 d | e>dc | d2 "t2"B | BAA | ABd | e2 d | B2 "t3"d | g2d | g2 d | e>dc | d2 "t4"B | BAA | ABd | edF | G2 || And, fingerings, and diddley for the rhythm, where the first dee is the last note of the first half of the tune: 2 1 2 1 2 3 2 1 2 dee || dmmm dee | dmmm dee | dee-da dee | dmmm d g2 d g2 d e > d c d2 This pattern: e>d (a dotted quarter followed by a sixteenth) is a common rhythmic pattern: basically, a dee held a little longer, and followed by a very short da. The rest of tune is really just freebies. T2 is the same as T2 in the first half: 3 3 2 2 2 3 1 2 1 3 dee dee dee dee dee dee dee dmmmm dee dmmmm B B A A A B d e-- d B Tunelet 3 is the same as the Tunelet 1 that you learned just now, in the beginning of the second half, going up to the high g: 2 1 2 1 2 3 2 1 2 dee || dmmm dee | dmmm dee | dee-da dee | dmmm d g2 d g2 d e > d c d2 AND, Tunelet 4 is the same as the tunelet ending the first half, back in Chapter 6, going down to that curveball #F: 3 3 2 2 2 3 1 2 1 3 1 dee dee dee dee dee dee dee dee dee dee dmmmm B B A A A B d e d #F G-- So once you've learned each one, trying sticking them together to play the whole tune. And then, when you're comfortable with playing the whole tune in your right hand, learn to play it with your left hand.... You might need to print out the music and work out the left hand fingerings on paper! Or, if you're feeling bold, just dive in and use L3 for R1, L2 for R2, and L1 for R3: that works very nicely, if you can do it without getting all tangled up. But by all means, if you find you can't do it on the fly, do it on paper and take the time to get comfortable. NOTHING in music substitutes for taking the time to learn things slowly and well. NOW, you know the tune in both hands, and you can play both sides at the same time! That might also take some work to get coordinated; if you need to, go back to one tunelet at a time, using two hands. Playing a tune in both hands at once is the easiest way (on the Hayden, at least!) of playing harmonies. And, it has a nice fat sound! Get those neighbors all dancing. Next time I'll finally get into creating a harmony that's a little more complex and interesting than just doubling the tune in the left hand.
  6. Thanks! I've become a novice all over again on several instruments, over the years. My aim here is to put those experiences into as succinct and clear a form as I can. Judy
  7. Chapter six of Judy's harum scarum Hayden tutorial ---------------- Section One ----------------- [For those of you with minimal musical background.] Hmmm: I said I'd show you how to add a harmonization to a waltz, but let's begin with learning the waltz, which is looking like taking all the time I have for this chapter! The basic principle is to turn the waltz into a set of little, easy to learn tunes. This is a lot easier to do from notes, but of course you may find it hard to read notes if you never learned how! But you can learn that from a bunch of little easy-to-read tunes, which you can fit together to make one whole tune. So I'm going give you a set of abc files you can convert on the concertina.net abc converter, with the letter names of the notes and fingerings written in, so you can work with your button chart to figure it out. You'll see the logic of staff notation pretty quickly, I think. There are many online places to learn musical notation from; here's one: The Method Behind the Music It's possible to learn to play a new instrument by ear only, but you need to have other people with time to teach you, who already know the kind of music you want to know. It's harder to learn by ear from recordings; they're harder to ask questions of, and less easy to slow down, or get one phrase played over and over until you get it. If you learn a little bit about notation -- at least the basics, so you can count out the notes and get started learning a tune -- means you're free to learn any tune you're interested in; and it doesn't prevent you from learning by ear, if you want that too. It just means you have multiple perspectives on music, multiple ways of learning. The really big challenge in this chapter is the rhythm. There are long notes, and short notes, and musical notation has some conventions to tell you what notes are shorter and longer. You can learn the details of the notation online; I'm going to use a traditional musician's approach for teaching you the rhythm. This waltz, Tombigbee Waltz (named after a river in the southeast of the U.S.) has a very familiar kind of rhythm, so it should be reasonably easy to get the hang of. There's a musical technique called "diddley" -- singing a tune with nonsense syllables -- and it works really well to figure out a rhythm, thus: Short notes are the syllable "da" Medium notes are the syllable "dee" Long notes are the syllable "dmmmmmmm..." ============== Tombigbee, Tunelet #1 ================ The first tunelet has the rhythm (with [ ] for a brief break for a breath!) da-da dee dee dee dmmmmm da-da dee dee dee dmmmmm [] B A G B B d-- B A G B B d--- 3 2 1 3 3 1 3 2 1 3 3 1 Say the rhythm to yourself a few times, then figure out the notes. Play the notes a few times to get comfortable, then try saying the rhythm and playing the notes in time with the rhythm. The abc: X:1 T:Tombigbee Waltz, Tunelet One S:The Waltz Book, collected by Bill Matthieson M:3/4 L:1/4 K:G |: z2 "B3"B/"A2"A/ | "G1"G"B3"B"B3"B | "d1"d2 "B3"B/"A2"A/ | "G1"G"B3"B"B3"B | "d1"d2 z :| Ah, yes, the bar lines | | |.... they play a role, helping keep track of notes by grouping them in threes, and giving some hints about emphasis. You can ignore them for now, or read about them online. The ones with the two dots mean "repeat", like this: |: lather rinse :| to show you where to start over again. ========================== Tombigbee, Tunelet #2 =================== Rhythm for the second chunk of the tune, almost all notes the same length, a nice easy, relaxed, rhythm like lazing about on the river in a slow row boat: dee dee dee dee dee dee dee dmmmm dee dmmmm B B A A A B d e-- d B 3 3 2 2 2 3 1 2 1 3 X:1 T:Tombigbee Waltz, Tunelet Two M:3/4 L:1/4 K:G |: z2 "B3"B | "B3"B"A2"A"A2"A | "A2"A"B3"B"d1"d | "e2"e2 "d1"d | "B3"B2 z :| ========================== Tombigbee, Tunelet #3 =================== Rhythm for the third chunk of the tune: da-da-da | dee dee dee | dmmmmm da-da | dee dee dee | dmmmm [] c B A | G B B | d-- B A | G B B | d--- 1 3 2 | 1 3 3 | 1 3 2 | 1 3 3 | 1 with barlines so _I_ don't get lost.... You'll notice this is almost EXACTLY the first tunelet, except for the first "c" note! Freebie! you learned most of it already! X:1 T:Tombigbee Waltz, Tunelet Three M:3/4 L:1/4 K:G |: z3/ "c1"c/"B3"B/"A2"A/ | "G1"G"B3"B"B3"B | "d1"d2 "B3"B/"A2"A/ | "G1"G"B3"B"B3"B | "d1"d2 z :| ========================== Tombigbee, Tunelet #4 =================== Rhythm for the fourth chunk of the tune ( a freebie and a curve ball!) dee dee dee dee dee dee dee dee dee dee dmmmm B B A A A B d e d #F G-- 3 3 2 2 2 3 1 2 1 3 1 Most of this is the same as tunelet 2, except the note you'll have to reach down for: the #F is on the row below the G. (The # symbol -- called an "accidental" -- has to do with music theoretical concepts -- for now, you can treat it as "that note, WHICH is a different note from the F that doesn't have the #", or you can read about it elsewhere. I'll have more to say another time, especially the delight I take in the term "accidental...") X:1 T:Tombigbee Waltz, Tunelet Four M:3/4 L:1/4 K:G |: z2 "B3"B | "B3"B"A2"A"A2"A | "A2"A"B3"B"d1"d | "e2"e "d1"d "#F3"^F | "G1"B2 z :| ============= That's the first half of the tune.================= Enough for one chapter. I'll put the second half of the tune in the next chapter, and THEN I'll get into the harmony. Here's how the first half of the tune looks, without all the extra notations I added. Convert it, print it out and add your own notations, the ones you invent for doing things the way that works best for you. X:1 T:Tombigbee Waltz, "A" part S:The Waltz Book, collected by Bill Matthieson M:3/4 L:1/4 K:G B/A/ || GBB | d2 B/A/| GBB | d2 B | BAA | ABd | e2 d | B>c B/A/ | GBB | d2 B/A/| GBB | d2 B | BAA | ABd | edF | G2 d || You might want to write the diddley syllables in over the notes, and observe how they relate to the music notation symbols! Any time you are having any trouble at all learning a rhythm, try using diddley syllables. It's a lot easier to learn a rhythm if you start with your voice, the instrument with which you are the most familiar! And I'll churn out the second half of the waltz as soon as I can. It's mostly ready to go, except for all my final tweakings.... ---------------- Section Two ----------------- [For those of you with more musical background.] Take a running leap into Edly's Music Theory for Practical People, and learn something about music theory you always wondered about. Some of the Chapter Titles: Diatonic Harmony; Chord Inversion; Intervals for Ear-Training; Blues Structure; Chords: 9ths, 11ths and 13ths; Secondary Chords; Improvisation Ideas; Ingredients of Voicings. My favorite chapters are the ones about Modes: Chapter 21, 22, 23, (including the section titled Scales from Mercury) and especially Chapter 26, Diatonic Modal Chords. As I've poked around on the Hayden with a few different modal tunes, I'm realizing just how nicely it lends itself to them, with the very clear sense of where the semi-tones land in the scale. I didn't think it would make so much sense, when I first started learning the Hayden system: the semi-tone interval is such a huge leap, fingering-wise. But as it turns out, the way the modal scale is grouped by the semi-tone is made very vivid on the Hayden. Lots of fun. (If that's totally baffling and intriguing, read Chapter 21 and noodle around on the Hayden, watching for the semi-tone, and how it organizes the mode.) Someone else's recommendation for Edly's: Theory’s simple. You get twelve notes and put them together in different ways... like Lego, only noisier. Edly's is simple and clear, yet goes deep into many of theory's quirky complexities. The best book on popular theory I've seen. -- Gunnar Madsen, cofounder of the Bobs
  8. A very brief opinion: it's just plain more expensive to squash all those buttons and action and reeds into a little, light, portable box. People don't seem to expect "portability" from an accordion as much... not to mention a (wood and wire) piano. So the prices per button are just that much higher on the smaller, lighter, more portable box, even for the "cheap" ones. The original hope was to make a Morse concertina for under $1000, but the people making it still needed to do that daily meal thing, roof over the head, all that cost of living stuff. So it didn't work out.
  9. Chapter five of Judy's harum scarum Hayden tutorial ---------------- Section One ----------------- [For those of you with minimal musical background.] Let's add one more note to the left hand of the tune, which will make it a more satisfying harmonization: moving one button right from the F, the G, using finger 2 on it: 3 2 F G C D E 3 1 C D E E D C D C D E D C C D E E D C D E D C - - C - - E - - F - - G - - C - - E - - F - - E - - 3 1 3 2 3 1 3 1 Here's the whole thing, in abc notation. You can cut and paste this into the concertina.net abc tune converter, to see it in standard music notation. X:1 T:The First Leaves of Spring M:3/4 L:1/4 K:C V:1 clef=treble V:2 clef=bass [V:1] |: CDE | EDC | DCD | EDC | CDE | EDC | DED | (C3 | C3) :| [V:2] |: C,3 | E,3 | F,3 | G,3 | C,3 | E,3 | F,3 | (E,3 | E,3) :| The thing I like about abc notation is there are about a million tunes out there in abc, and it's a real handy notation for just jotting down a tune someone just taught me and I don't have staff paper handy. ---------------------------------------------------------------------- So now that you've got the sound of major firmly in your ear, let's do a minor tune. It's really the same tune, but played in a minor key. Next time I'll say some more about Minor v.s. Major, but for the moment, just treat it like two different colors; green is green, blue is blue, The First Leaves of Spring is what Major sounds like, and The Last Snows of Winter is what Minor sounds like. Here's what the new minor tune looks like using abc notation: X:1 T:The Last Snows of Winter M:3/4 L:1/4 K:D minor |: DEF | FED | EDE | FED | DEF | FED | EFE | (D3 | D3) :| Find the location of the F on your button chart, and here's the fingers to use, in the right hand: 1 F D E 2 3 And the tune, with fingerings: 2 3 1 1 3 2 3 2 3 1 3 2 2 3 1 1 3 2 3 1 3 2 D E F F E D E D E F E D D E F F E D E F E D - - That first finger on the F may feel a bit awkward at first, but just play the tune slowly a bunch of times, and it will get comfortable. Ok, here's a left hand and fingerings to go with the tune: D E F F E D E D E F E D D E F F E D E F E D - - D - - F - - G - - A - - D - - F - - G - - F - - 2 3 2 1 2 3 2 3 You may want to play the left hand all by itself until it gets comfortable; then put it with the right hand. If that doesn't work too well -- there's a lot of fingers to coordinate all at once! -- try a simpler left hand, maybe just the D note, the same way as I started you with for The First Leaves of Spring. That would look like this: D E F F E D E D E F E D D E F F E D E F E D - - D - - D - - D - - D - - D - - D - - D - - D - - 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 That's an example of simplifying when you need to; keep it in mind as you learn new tunes; it'll get you started with the easiest left hand possible. Next time, I'll show how I went about adding a left hand to a waltz. ---------------- Section Two ----------------- [For those of you with more musical background.] A couple of interesting challenges. Start playing the Bartok Mikrokosmos. After about number 5, it helps a lot to play the scale he's using a few times, before tackling the actual music. And writing in your own fingerings helps too. It's all about "where's the half step?" If you can keep track of where the half-steps are in the scale, then you know when to go up or down a row, and that helps. Some. Find a book of beginner/intermediate classical guitar tunes -- they have a lot of nice chording ideas to mess around with. You'll need to, in order to fit them on the Hayden. (yes, I'm kind of punting. I'm just learning to play Hayden myself, so I'm having to dig around in my own collection of techniques for learning new instruments... that's why I'm calling it a harum scarum tutorial. Dumping out my musical bag-o-tricks, maybe one or two of them will be new to you.) Next time, to go along with the waltz harmonization demo in the first section, I'm planning on a laundry list of resources for learning about chords/harmony/theory, some of it pretty basic and some of it pretty advanced.
  10. Chapter Four of Judy's harum scarum Hayden tutorial -------------- a brief digression ------------- This is my extremely opinionated attitude towards what music is appropriate for playing on the concertina: I think anything you want to play on the concertina is exactly the right kind of music to play on the concertina. It's about joy, not about ought. ---------------- Section One ----------------- [For those of you with minimal musical background.] Expanding the left hand into something more interesting.... (hard to remember which hand is which? stick a note on top of the left side, "LEFT" to remind yourself! -- anything to help yourself along!) In C major, start by just playing the left hand alone: C - - E - - C - - E - - C - - E - - C - - E - - pretty boring! just finger 3, finger 1, finger 3 endlessly. Now play it with finger 2, 1, 2, 1 until that feels a little more comfortable. NOW, let's add a new note: On your button chart, find the "F" that's in the row above the "C", and a little to the left of the "C". The button pattern looks kind of like this: F G A B C D E F# <-- ignore this note -- I'll get into the # modified notes later. So, using finger 3 on the "F", try this: 2 1 3 C - - E - - F - - Now for the fun part: play the new left hand with the tune, like this: C D E E D C D C D E D C C D E E D C D E D C - - C - - E - - F - - C - - E - - F - - C - - E - - 2 1 3 2 1 3 2 1 You may find that it is REALLY hard to coordinate your two hands: keep at it! Slow down, think about what finger goes where, slowly. This is the single most important rule of learning to play music: when in trouble, slow down! (the second most important is keeping at it...) If you just can't make your two hands work together with all these fingers doing different things, try playing just the right hand a few times, then play the left hand a few times. Then go back to the very first version of the tune, C D E E D C D C D E D C C D E E D C D E D C - - C - - E - - C - - E - - C - - E - - C - - E - - and play that, to remind yourself that you can, in fact, get both hands to work together; when you feel like maybe you can add that new note, the "F", play the left hand just by itself, and then try VERRRRY s l o w l y playing the tune and the new left hand. One way of really helping yourself get comfortable is to play for just 5 or ten minutes, first thing in the morning; and then play for 5 or ten minutes later in the morning; and then again later in the day, just 5 or ten minutes; and then right before you go to bed, for 5 or ten minutes. That's about 20 to 40 minutes of your day, which you could do all at once in one sitting, but splitting it up like that gives your brain time to absorb all this new information, and refreshes what you're learning more often, which moves you along that much faster. --------- In the left hand, is the fingering still feeling awkward? the 2 - 1 stretch between the C and the E -- does that feel too long for your hand? if it does --- Just use finger number 3 on both the C and F: 3 1 3 C - - E - - F - - so you're using the same finger on two different buttons. That's what works for my hand, actually, but it was easier to write clear instructions using the 2 1 3 pattern. You may even find that you drifted into the 3 1 3 pattern -- that's EXACTLY RIGHT. I'm a huge advocate for doing what works for you. I'll jump up and down about that a whole lot, as time goes on. You get to figure out what fingers work for YOU, for your hand and physiology and comfort, and use those fingers. !!!!!!!!!!!!! lots of exclamation points !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! You get to figure out what fingers work for YOU, for your hand and physiology and comfort, and use those fingers. !!!!!!!!!!!!! lots of exclamation points !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! and play the music you really want to play, too. ------- A couple more ideas to try out, if you're feeling adventurous ----- Once you get comfortable, try it in G major. Or in D major. Basically: find the D on your chart, and play the pattern exactly like you played it starting on the C. Try the left hand with some other three note tune. In the left hand, add the "G" note and see if you can figure out a pattern that sounds nice with this tune, or any other tune. ---------------- Section Two ----------------- [For those of you with more musical background.] Turning difficult lines of music into exercises.... Let's imagine that some piece of music you want to play has this passage: X:1 T:Ostinato for the Right Pinky R:reel S:me M:4/4 L:1/8 K:C |: CDAe CDAe | CDAe CDAe :| and that final, highest note just keeps getting away from you -- your pinky just can't find it, or falls off the button; when what you really want is to play a nice smooth repeating pattern, getting it the same every time and making it sound easy. One very effective way of getting from perpetual stumbling to smooth, is to make that series of notes into an exercise of pairs of notes, two quick, then pause, the next quick, then pause |: C<D A<e C<D A<e | C<D A<e C<D A<e :| or even more exaggerated |: C//D// z A///e// z C//D// z A//e// | C//D// z A//e// z C//D// z A//e// :| Play that dozen times (and if it's too hard, slow down!!!!). Then switch it up so the notes are paired exactly opposite: |: C>D A>e C>D A>e | C>D A>e C>D A>e :| |: C// z D//A// z e//C// z D//A// z e// | C// z D//A//z e//C// z D//A// z e//:| Play that a dozen times (AND IF IT'S TOO HARD, SLOW DOWN!!!). When you're comfortable with each pattern, try alternating them: which may mean that you have to slow down again. When you can play the two exercises back to back and get all the notes, try playing the original -- it'll be smoother. If you really worked at the patterns, the original will be suprisingly easy to play. You can apply this approach to ANY difficult pattern of notes or chords on any instrument, and it will make that difficult pattern a lot easier to play. Here's a version for the left pinky, all in one abc file: X:1 T:Ostinato for the Left Pinky R:reel S:me M:4/4 L:1/8 K:C |: EDGe EDGe | EDGe EDGe :| |: E<D G<e E<D G<e | E<D G<e E<D G<e :| |: E>D G>e E>D G>e | E>D G>e E>D G>e :| Here's a tune I used that technique on, trying to go from hopeless stumbles to smooth, back a few years ago, on the recorder. I spent about a week working it over, and it has been totally solid ever since. It's a real "fiddly" tune, much more comfortable for the fiddle players than the recorder; this is how I got to where I can hit all the notes, at dance tempo, no stumbles. X:1 T:Swinging on a Gate S:New England Fiddler's Repertoire R:reel M:4/4 L:1/8 K:G |: gedB G2 AB | cABG AGEG | DGBd g2 g2 | fgag fdef | gedB G2 AB | cABG AGEG | cABG AGEG | DGGFG2 D2 :| |: gfga bagf | gfed B2 AG | EAAB cBAG | EAAB cdef | "m13" gfga bagf | gfed edBd | cABG AGEG | DGGF G4 :| The B-part has the real challenges, especially the lovely twisting falling thing in measures 13 - 15. X:1 T:The hard bit in the B part R:reel M:4/4 L:1/8 K:G |: gfga bagf | gfed edBd | cABG AGEG :| |: g>f g>a b>a g>f | g>f e>d e>d B>d | c>A B>G A>G E>G :| |: g<f g<a b<a g<f | g<f e<d e<d B<d | c<A B<G A<G E<G :| It is just plain enormous fun to rip that tune off without a hitch. That dotting and reverse dotting technique is something I learned from my classical piano teacher.
  11. Overblowing/bending notes: depending on the size of the reed, you can bend the pitch quite a bit. If you've got a good tuner, you can see it happen. Push hard on a low note and watch the pitch drop. The reeds which are the easiest to bend are the "short scale" reeds. They're almost always low range reeds, made smaller to fit into concertina designs that are too small for "full scale" reeds. Stagi and Bastari use a lot of them. Short scale reeds are reeds that would sound at a higher pitch, but they've had a lump of something heavy (steel or brass ) attached to the end to make them have a lower pitch. They have poorer sound, they're harder to get started playing, and it's really easy to get them to bend: the harder you force the air across them, the more the pitch changes, just like a harmonica. High-quality reeds won't bend much, but the short scale reeds can produce as much as a quarter tone of bend, some of them. On my old Lachenal English, I have to be careful not to over-play the lowest notes. I got over-excited playing for a contra dance, once, and spoiled the voicing on my low A and had to beg for help to get it back to where it would even sound at all. So I'd say it's probably not a good idea to experiment too much with over-blowing, especially with a nice old instrument. Judy
  12. Chapter Three of Judy's harum scarum Hayden tutorial ---------------- Section One ----------------- [For those of you with minimal musical background.] ---------- A bit of reading here; skip down to "Try this" if you'd rather just play. The First Leaves of Spring is in what is known as a "major key". Why major, you might ask? well: the answer to that takes me into a more lengthy explanation than I want to throw at you at this stage. "Major" is a different sound than "minor", the same way "red" is different from "green". If you can get comfortable making the association between "major" and the sound of The First Leaves of Spring, you'll have learned something quite useful. In a couple chapters I'll show you what "minor" sounds like, but first, I'd like to move you and this little major tune to a different place on the instrument: to "G". The First Leaves of Spring is written out in the "key of C" -- it's first note is its "root" or "key" note (two words for the same thing, here, like "red" and "scarlet"). You could also play the same tune in the "key of G", and it would sound very much the same, except for being higher. ------------- Try this: ---------------- Using your button chart, find the "G" on the second row of your instrument. The next two buttons over are named "A" and "B". (Huh??? not H and I? I'll explain later...) Starting on "G": play "The First Leaves of Spring", just in the right hand. It should sound the same except higher. Next, find "G" on the left, and add those notes. This is what it would look like, written with letters: G A B B A G A G A B A G G A B B A G A B A G - - G - - B - - G - - B - - G - - B - - G - - B - - When you're comfortable with that, go back to playing the tune in the original key. Swap back and forth between the two versions, in G and C. Keep in mind that this is the sound of "major", and that one version is in the "key of C major" and the other is in the "key of G major" -- depending on which note you started on. This idea extends to all the different notes: for example, you can play this same tune in "the key of D major" if you start on the "D" note. There are lots of things in music that use this little group of concepts: "major", "minor", "key", "root", so I'm throwing them at you now to get you started on them! Next chapter, I'll expand the left hand part to be more interesting. ------------------ For the impatient among you ----------------- tired of this tune? want more tunes NOW? try googling on "three note songs" -- EEk: they're in musical notation, which may be completely unfamiliar and baffling. Try translating them into C, D, E, writing that down, and playing from that. I'll get into musical notation before long... -------------------- Section Two --------------------- [For those with more musical background] Pinkies: there was a comment on my first chapter about pinkes... the use/non-use thereof... If you find that using your pinkies is comfortable, go for it. If you find that using your pinkies is uncomfortable, don't bother with them: the evidence of my ears is that you can become a fine player either way. If you get into the habit of not using your pinkies and then wish you had learned to use them, here's how I would go about changing that habit: I probably wouldn't bother to do it unless I had a musical reason to do so -- a piece or genre of music that I really wanted badly to play AND that demanded a lot of pinky usage -- something I wanted badly enough to be motivating. It's hard to change a habit without there being a driving need. But, supposing I did: I'd create myself an exercise, or a set of exercises, to isolate the difficulty of developing a habit of using pinkies. A simple one would just be the four notes of the whole tone scale, played all over the instrument | C D E ^F | ^F E D C | D E ^F ^G | ^G ^F E D | etc, played on both the right and the left at octaves. That'd get my pinkies working in parallel with the index finger on the other hand. I might also play some scales... but I really hate scales. They're so not musical... My favorite approach to creating exercises for myself is to pull chunks out of the actual musical material containing the challenge, and turn those chunks into exercises. Turning things into exercises, playing them slowly and thoughtfully, speeding them up until I start to stumble a lot, going back to playing them slowly and thoughtfully: that's been my most effective tool for learning something difficult. I'll talk more next time about how to turn things into exercises, especially my favorite technique for smoothing out chronic stumbles.
  13. Hmmmm... I can see the attraction of different colored buttons, especially when you are new at it and feeling more lost, but, well: from my experience playing English, again: playing at speed there's not a whole lot of time to be looking over the end of the instrument to figure out what note you're on, anyways, so it's kind of not the best thing to depend on looking. You're going to have a much more satisfying experience if you get a map of the instrument into your head, and let it become part of your own long-term memory sense of how the instrument works. That's why I put forth the orientation technique: that's something that will get so quick, so automatic, if you practice it regularly (like any musical skill) that you won't need to look. Simple tunes played with attention to where you are on the instrument will help to get you there. And, any time that you do get lost, spending that little extra bit of time and effort to orient your fingers _without_ looking -- that'll develop your tactile sense of where you are faster, and you'll be playing better sooner. Judy
  14. Chapter Two, Judy's harum scarum Hayden Tutorial. --------------------- Section One ---------------- [For those of you with minimal musical background.] Adding the left hand to The First Leaves of Spring. Using your button chart, find the lowest "C" note on the left hand side. Hold it down -- play it -- while playing the tune in your right hand. This is a grand old traditional technique known as the "Drone Note" -- bagpipes are one of the more familiar instruments that use drones. It's very easy, but gets old pretty quickly, and the way concertina reeds are, the low ones tend to overpower the higher ones: they're just putting a lot more energy into the air waves, being longer and heavier than the high reeds. So here's a more interesting thing to do in the left hand: Put your THIRD finger on that C note, and just play it for the first three notes of the tune: like this: right hand: C D E left hand: C - - Now put your LEFT index finger on the "E" note on the left side, and play it for the next three notes of the tune: right hand: E D C left hand: E - - MUCH more interesting... Keep doing that alternation for the rest of the tune: C D E E D C D C D E D C C D E E D C D E D C - - C - - E - - C - - E - - C - - E - - C - - E - - and when you get to the end, bask in the lovely sound it makes, as the two different notes create a simple chord. Now play it again. IF you are finding it difficult to coordinate your hands, just keep at it. Me, when I first picked up the Hayden, about the fifth instrument in my lifetime, I still had a hump to get over to get the two hands to work together. If this is your first instrument, it'll take a bit of time to get used to, so just stick to it. Getting both hands working together soon is a really good thing that will help you along a lot more than just about anything else. If you're finding it really frustrating, try setting the instrument down, putting your fingers on the edge of the table, and just silently tapping the patterns. That means you aren't also trying to work the bellows; it's a way of simplifying the problem and just working on one part of it at a time. There's a very, very, very, very important principle there: when in trouble SUBTRACT. If you're trying to learn three things at once and finding it heavy going, subtract one (the bellows) and just learn two: left hand working with right hand to create a pattern. At some point, doing the pattern on the table edge will start to feel more ok; now try it on the instrument again -- you could do it silently, not working the bellows, until it is comfortable there; then add the bellows motion. But the most important thing you can learn right now is this principle of WHEN IN TROUBLE SUBTRACT. It is a learning principle that has served me well for decades, and I'll return to it again and again as I scramble this tutorial together. -------------------------- Section Two ------------------- [For those with more musical background [and who came back for more...]] If you really did the whole thing, you found out just how quickly you run into trouble with the keys further around the circle of sharps, on the Hayden. There's a principle here: all musical instruments have limitations, and it's worth knowing them, so you can figure out whether this particular instrument is going to be able to play the music you want to play. Here's a couple relatively simple tunes to start exploring intervals with. The Old Mole has interlocking triads that I find delightful to play and it is also a very good learning exercise, when transposed into all the reasonable keys. There's a principle here: find simple tunes you can listen to a million times and still like them, and use them as finger exercises. [Cut and paste to the abc converter here.] X:1 T:The Old Mole S: The Barnes Book of English Country Dance Tunes, I M:6/8 L:1/8 K:G |: "Transposed to G" G2G E>FG | A2F E2E | G2G E>FG | A3 c3 | | B2G E>FG | A2F D2D | E>FG F>EF | G3 G3 :| The Chanter's Tune has more challenges, and also lends itself to experimenting with expression. I suppose I ought to make a video of what I do.... but I'd rather leave it to you to invent your own approach. Noodle around and find what you like. I play the first two lines with short sharp notes, especially the repeated notes, and then play the second two lines much smoother, more legato. I like the contrast. X:1 T:The Chanter's Tune S:The first edition of O'Neill's Music of Ireland, #143 M:2/4 L:1/8 K:G (c/A/)\ | GG d(c/A/) | GG =f(e/f/) | gd d(c/A/) | =fe d(c/A/) | | GG d(c/A/) | GG =f(e/f/) | gd d(c/A/) | (G2 G) || || (B/c/)\ | dd/e/ =f(e/f/) | (d/c/d/e/) =f(e/f/) | gd .d(c/A/) | .=f(e/f/) .d(c/A/) | | GG .d(c/A/) | GG =f(e/f/) | gd d(c/A/) | (G2 G) || Ok, yes, there's no left hand on these. Well: depending on your level of musical expertise, you can come up with your own... or... gee, my tutorial is starting to bifurcate again... all these folks at different levels! So: here's a suggestion for people who aren't sure how to go about creating their own left hand: 1) Start with the same left hand as in The First Leaves of Spring. If it doesn't sound good, rearrange the notes until you like them better. 2) If that gets boring, try adding another note from the same key. ------------ And again: Play these tunes in every REASONABLE key on the instrument (you figure out what "reasonable" means to you, it's a good exercise), looking at the written music and getting your head around two things: 1) be thinking about what ACTUAL key you are playing in (your button/note chart will come in handy here!) 2) meanwhile using the written notes to tell you when to go up and when to go down. Use the written notes as a kind of graphical representation. It's an exercise in transposition, in ignoring the absolute pitch information that's written on the page. You're learning a new instrument, it'll be easier now than any other time. [if you aren't familiar with abc, there's an abc converter on concertina.met] ---------------------- And: not getting lost in the wasteland where there the playing field isn't split up into chunks, like on a fiddle, or right under your nose, like a piano, or laid out so every finger pattern is a different note, like on wind instruments -- it's easy to get lost on the Hayden system. Which note is this button I'm playing? is hard to answer if you don't have perfect pitch and don't want to look over the side and see where you are. (Of course, if what you really want to do with the Hayden is to just pick a comfortable key for singing along to, you're golden: you don't need this section, you can just learn wherever you happen to be and you can ignore everything I have to say about transposition.) But, if you want to play with other people, it helps to be able to land on G without a lot of struggle, experimentation, and exasperation (yours and others...)) I will describe what I do to not get lost on the English system, which has a similar, though not as severe, shortcoming (i.e, you get lost at the distance of a fifth, which is much easier to figure out and correct.) SO: Holding the instrument, look at your button chart, and focus on the bottom row of notes on the right side (but don't be peeking over the end of the instrument to look at your fingers!!!) Curl your fingers under and touch the handrest. Brush them back up and find the left-most button on the bottom row. (This may take some practice, to get it in one shot. In classical violin training, they call it target pracice.) When you've got that button, you're oriented. You can work from there to find the button that you want to play, lightly brushing the tops of the buttons to stay oriented, and when you get to that G, or F#, or whatever, you'll have complete confidence that you will not be committing an error when you start the tune. IFFFF -- this a big IF -- IFFFFF you practice this a LOT, you will become so fast at it that you can get lost in the middle of tune, re-orient, and get back to playing without losing more than a note or two. But you have to practice it a lot, and NOW is the time to do it, when you are first learning the instrument and getting those habits worn into the deepest crevices of your long-term memory. Do it on the left hand: do them simultaneously, become (over the long term) able to find two different notes, one on the left and one on the right, without hardly having to think about it. No more lost in a wasteland with no sign posts.
  15. Elsewhere someone asked if the Button Box has plans for a Hayden tutorial; no; but I'm going to dive off the edge (wheeee!!!) and try my hand at it. Can't foist a new version of the Hayden system on an unsuspecting world and not at least offer *some* kind of user manual... So, here's a first lesson based on what I've been doing to teach myself the Hayden system. There are two sections: first one, for folks with no musical background at all; then in the second section I'll present some ideas for folks with more musical background. ------------------------ Section One --------------------------- Ok: so: you've got a Hayden system concertina (any type -- Stagi, Elise, Beaumont, Peacock, Wheatstone, Tedrow....), you've probably figured out some way of holding it so you can get sound out of it: basically, sticking your hands through the hand straps, leaving your thumbs outside (so you can hold onto the thing and work the bellows.) Put the instrument on your knee, whichever one is comfortable; or both knees, or in your lap: try different places, and find what is most comfortable. If you need more ideas, or visuals, google "anglo concertina hold" for ideas -- you hold Haydens the same as Anglos. Now: you probably have a button chart telling you what buttons play which notes on your particular instrument. If you don't, there's one somewhere on the internet (or if you can't find one there, try the Button Box), Find a C note on the right hand side. (or, really, any note with two buttons to the right of it, and call it "C" for now.) Put your index finger on the C. Let's call that finger "1". Put the next finger, number "2", on the next button, a D; And the third finger, number "3", on the next button, which is an E. Pull on the thing to start air flowing, and type 1, 2, 3, or: C D E just like on a computer keyboard. So: that was the first three notes of a tune called "The First Leaves of Spring." Now here's the first half of the tune, spelled out in letters: C D E E D C D C D E D C Play that slowly, several times. If it's hard to get your fingers to behave --- coordination happens if you just keep at it slowly. You're just using fingers number 1, 2, 3, going back and forth. (If you're feeling like this is hard and weird, you're right; just keep at it slowly and it will get easier and more familiar. Learning to play music is all about taking on hard things, doing them many times slowly until they stop being hard things, with various strategies along the way for making it easier for hard things to get easier. I've got a lot of little things that have worked for me, and I'm hoping you will find them useful.) Here's the second half of the tune. It starts off exactly like the first half of the tune, but then it changes: C D E E D C D E D C - - I put dashes to show that you hold the C note longer, since it's the final note. Ok. Play that many times, until you are comfortable with it; next post I'll show you how to put a left hand part to it and make it sound a lot more like something real. --------------------- Section Two -------------------------- For people who are more advanced: One of my first questions on the Hayden was what fingers should I be using? At the session the evening before the concertina workshop, I was sitting between two very experienced Hayden players, and I asked them. They both said they mostly use the first three fingers, reserving the pinky of the right hand for the occasional note way out in the upper right. They use their left pinky hardly ever, if at all. An exercise for you: Here's the abc for the whole tune, right and left. It's written in G, but my suggestion is to play it on every button on the instrument, looking at the written music and getting your head around two things: 1) be thinking about what ACTUAL key you are playing in (your button/note chart will come in handy here!) 2) meanwhile using the written notes to tell you when to go up and when to go down. Use the written notes as a kind of graphical representation. It's an exercise in transposition, in ignoring the absolute pitch information that's written on the page. You're learning a new instrument, it'll be easier now than any other time. [if you aren't familiar with abc, there's an abc converter on concertina.net] X:1 T:The First Leaves of Spring M:3/4 L:1/4 K:G V:1 clef=treble V:2 clef=bass [V:1] |: GAB | BAG | AGA | BAG | GAB | BAG | ABA | (G3 | G3) :| [V:2] |: G3 | B3 | c3 | d3 | G3 | B3 | c3 | (B3 | B3) :| Try this starting on every button on your instrument. You'll get REALLY familiar with the beginning of the major scale, and you will have to work very hard around the split between the left hand and the right hand to piece the scales together. If you do this, you will be moving very fast towards becoming an expert Hayden player. You'll also get to know how the outer reaches of the instrument feel to you: all the notes will become comfortable and familiar. Here's the same tune in its minor version: X:1 T:The Last Snows of Winter M:3/4 L:1/4 K:G minor V:1 clef=treble V:2 clef=bass [V:1] |: GAB | BAG | AGA | BAG | GAB | BAG | ABA | (G3 | G3) :| [V:2] |: G3 | B3 | c3 | d3 | G3 | d3 | c3 | (B3 | B3) :| This will keep you busy until I can get together some more stuff for you to work on. A brief road map of my self-teaching approach: find simple tunes you like a lot; learn them at the written pitch with a simple left hand accompaniment and then transpose them all over the instrument. You've got about the most tranposable musical object ever made, right there between your hands; this is great for when you want to transpose, and HORRIBLE when you get lost and you're playing a half step off from everyone else. Next post I'll talk about not getting lost in the wasteland of no signposts that is perhaps the most annoying characteristic of the Hayden system. Judy Hawkins
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