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Posts posted by mathhag


    8 minutes ago, Mikefule said:

    The simplest possible transposition on an Anglo is when you can play a tune along the row.  Change to the other row and "Hey presto!" You've transposed it.


    However, that is only possible or desirable on a certain sort of tune.


    If you play across the rows, it follows that if you change the row for the starting note, you will inevitably have to change some of the fingering.  This sounds complicated at first — indeed, it sometimes is — but it opens up a world of possibilities on the instrument.


    Imagine a 30 b CG Anglo:


    Play a tune that starts on C and goes up the scale of C.  If you swap rows and start on G, that's the simplest transposition.  (Or vice versa, of course.)


    However, play a tune that not only goes up from C but also goes down below the tonic, and some of the melody has to be on the left hand.  This puts all sorts of constraints on any accompaniment you play.


    But if you take that same tune, swap rows, and start on the G, and when you go below the tonic, you can do so by borrowing right hand notes from the C row.  That leaves your left hand unconstrained for playing a full chordal accompaniment.


    Now take another tune that starts on C and goes up beyond high C into the very squeaky notes on the G row.


    Instead, start it on the G on the left hand of the C row (or the left hand of the accidental row) and you can play it in G, and when you get to the high part of the tune, you will still be in the comfortable part of the register.



    More than that, the differences in fingering open up and suggest different accompaniments.


    I find that playing in C on a CG encourages me to play a full and rich accompaniment.  However, the same tune transposed to D may have a more sparse accompaniment, with more bass notes, octave notes, pedal points and isolated "stabs" at individual notes or pairs.  As a result, although the arrangement is less "full and rich" it often feels more fresh and alive.




    My main instrument is GD, and when I started, I loved playing in G but was quite intimidated by playing in D.  Now, I prefer it.  It brings out more of an Anglo feel and sound.


    (As an aside, another way to achieve this sparse but fresh and alive accompaniment and "Anglo feel and sound" is to play on a 20 b.)


    The next step of transposing on a CG is to move into F or D.  If you play mainly a single line of melody with little or no accompaniment, this is just a matter of learning fingering patterns.  If you want to do more complex accompaniments, it may take a lot of work.


    An enjoyable half way house is to play tunes like Rakes of Kildare that are modal: the key of the second note of the major scale (so playing in D on the C row.  These tunes often need few or no accidentals.  They can be a real palate cleanser after playing a lot of tunes in the major key.


    Another approach to transposing is to take music written in, say, G, D or A, but sight read it as if it were in C (or whatever the primary key of your instrument is.)

    What food for thought and ideas for fingers. I play mostly melody without accompaniment so I might try something here.


    (as a side note hope you write another book)

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  2. Hi Jim, 

    I have also decided doing both works for me.

    I also just started a spreadsheet for my tunes this week . Right now I have four columns : Tunes I can play by heart, Tunes that I can almost play by heart, only with notation, just started or I just can’t get.

    I think I understand how to transpose a tune to another key but I haven’t tried it yet. May become a future personal challenge.




  3. Hi Tradewinds Ted, 

    I was really pleased when I read your suggestions. Most of them are how I am proceeding. Right now I have an alternating day process. I have two songs that I am working on by ear and I spend most of my time on them . Usually I have one other that I am just starting and spend just a little time on it. On the alternate days I play through most everything else either with notation or without if I know them well enough. Sometimes I take a day to try something new like you suggest with some tunes I know well, different fingerings or check out how I am holding and playing. I also look at other tune resources I try some things out. 
    so that is what I am doing right now and it is enjoyable and I feel like I got out of the rut I was in just playing the same tunes over and over.

    Thanks for your thoughtful comments,


  4. 7 hours ago, Jody Kruskal said:

    When I had problems, my Dr. suggested this successful strategy...


    No playing for a week. For the next week, only 5 min. twice a day. Next week, 10 min. twice a day. Then 20, then healed. Worked for me and the pain never returned.

    This will be hard but this seems like it might be an approach to try. 



  5. 5 hours ago, d.elliott said:

    perhaps you should look at how you hold and control the instrument, and what the weight of the instrument is.



    I spent a lot of time with how I hold and control based on very clear recommendations from Bruce McCaskey . I think I am doing that well now. My instrument is actually a small 5 3/4 across the flats Dipper. Pretty light I think.

    i am doubtful that the concertina is the culprit but thought I would ask the group.

    Thanks for your consideration of my question.

  6. Have any of you ever developed upper arm shoulder pain from playing?  I have a very painful right arm when I move it in certain directions. Saw my Orthopedic surgeon and he felt it was a tendinitis and gave me a cortisone shot. That has not helped yet. I am trying to figure out what I might have done to irritate it. It doesn’t bother me when I am playing but just wondered if this could be the problem. It will break my heart if it is

  7. Everyone’s comments have been really thought provoking. For the most part I will only be playing for myself except when I travel for instruction. The closest session for me is at least a four hour drive. 
    Thanking all of you, I think I will pick a tune and work on it for the majority of my practice time. I will rotate the other tunes through the remaining time. I may choose is new tune when I feel like it. Since I play this instrument purely for my own enjoyment.

  8. Such wonderful suggestions and thoughtful approaches. The only thing I can’t do is play in sessions because there aren’t any. 
    but I am going to try to learn a tune completely by ear. 
    I also just changed my practice room and have been making many errors since then so RAC I am sure I should work on your advice.

  9. I have thought about this post many times but fear there may be no good answer. But here goes

    some of you may know from my previous post that I have only been playing concertina for about 2 1/2 years. It is the first instrument I have ever played and in March I will turn 69.
    I have the great benefit of a glorious instrument, Dipper #47 or 147 if you are Colin ( an insurance story) and I have had the opportunity to learn from Doug Barr, Mairead Hurley, and Noel Hill in person . I am using Caitlín’s wonderful online course and had incredible help from Bruce McCaskey. I have been totally smitten with this instrument. Nice that my husband has been totally supportive. He says I have never wanted to spend money on anything before. I have committed to at least one trip each year to learn more. I live in a VERY remote area


    So I play almost everyday and it is my great joy.


    Finally I get to my question. Right now I have about 30 tunes I can kind of play, using abc notation primarily. I have only ten that I can play by heart and almost to speed. 

    Should I be adding tunes, which I love to do or working on getting the tunes I have better?

  10. So this may seem kind of sappy. I just had to post how happy I am playing  my concertina.  I am finally starting to feel like I am playing music. This morning I played through most of my repertoire mostly by ear. 
    For me this is earth shattering . I started to play the concertina a little over two years ago. It is the first instrument I ever played. I don’t read music but ABC notation really helps me. Also Gary Coover’s books really helped to get me started.

    As did so many helpful folks. I was lucky enough to meet Jody Kruskal and Doug Barr at NESI and they gave me encouragement and Doug gave me my first set. Also Marta Vogel introduced me to Gary’s book . Doug Creighton help me pick out my first instrument and has continued to help me.

    Here was this old woman who wanted to start playing a musical instrument  but everyone kind of said jump right in. So I have. 
    Mairead Hurley was ridiculously patient with me when I attended Boxwoods and couldn’t find a “B” much of the time. Everyone else was very advanced but she helped me a long. 
    I have not mentioned that I live very close to the end of the world with no teachers nearby so I must use online resources or travel. I allow myself one major trip each year for instruction. This past summer I attended Noel Hill’s week. He was fantastic. My husband noted he could hear that I was better at the end of the week.

    My husband has been so supportive. He noted that I have never really spent any money on myself so when I had the amazing opportunity to purchase a Dipper, he said go for it. It is my joy and Colin put up with my gazillion issues about the materials that were used since I need to cross borders. 
    My husband also gave me a subscription to Caitlín Nic Gabhann online course. I love it.

    Bruce McCaskey has been unbelievably kind and helped me in so many ways. We have never met but he has been so wonderful.

    And Halifax aka Christine has been a great online friend.

    This is all to say thank you all for the gift of music in my life.

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