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Kathryn Wheeler

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Everything posted by Kathryn Wheeler

  1. This week I had the pleasure of trying a bass anglo by Andrew Norman - I was really delighted with how responsive it was and also how natural it felt to play, coming from a standard anglo of normal, higher pitch. What luscious deep beautiful chords were possible
  2. Hi John, I’ve messaged you, if you’re still interested
  3. “Folks can devise a system that suits them” Exactly! That’s what I’m doing And it is only for tricky little passages where I need to remember what I’m doing because I’m using non obvious (to me) fingering. I have come up with a way and it looks like it’s fine. When I say non obvious I mean it feels really natural and right for that context. Bur when I examine what I did I realise that I need to make a note of it because I reckon I won’t remember if I haven’t practiced it in or haven’t played the piece for a while. Thanks for all your replies, especially to those of you that have shared what works for you. My main point of posting was to just make sure there wasn’t this universally known way of doing it that I hadn’t come across because I write my own music. And because someone else might suggest a nifty way.
  4. What’s weird is that I’m ok with the index being 1 but, nope, the middle is rebelling at being 2 and the pinkie just has to be 5. The ring finger is a bit confused 😆
  5. I did wonder whether to number fingers like a pianist or not - I reckoned not because I don’t use the thumbs except on the air button of course. But that said, i guess I have too much keyboard playing in my background because it just feels weird to call my middle finger 2!
  6. It is lovely to develop your own way of relating to an instrument, yes. I still like to write things down though, not only because I get asked for dots and people ask how particular bits are played but because it’s really nice for me to have - and if I forget some details in future I’ve got it there. So if anyone else has any nifty ways of clearly showing finger choices without them getting confused with numbering for buttons that’d be interesting!
  7. Yes, I’m finding that you develop in built ways of playing certain runs or common figures, often things that occur in scales and arpeggios. Once I’ve worked out a way, I then find these patterns occur again and I no longer have to consciously think. I’m currently trying something with more buttons so it is yet to become second nature.
  8. My mum used to teach primary age school children country dancing during lesson time and this was in England in the 70s-90s. And it wasn’t just her school - they’d meet up periodically with other schools to have an afternoon of dancing. Whilst out and about watching or doing dancing (border Morris) I’ve heard some lovely wistful comments from people who had done this as children in school including some very burly lads to their mates, which is great! I didn’t have this in our school though and I was in primary in this period, so maybe it wasn’t all schools! It wasn’t until I went to uni that I came across dancing societies (I don’t remember country dancing or Morris in Cambridge then but maybe it existed - but did remember going to some Scottish ceilidh dancing. Some people there were terribly serious about it and probably did all sorts of more serious Scottish dancing. I gave up because there’d always be some dreaded dancers you’d see coming who’d outdo each other in how hard they could whirl you round or grab your hand. Ugh!! 😆
  9. As I usually play music that had more than one part going on at any one time, I’m finding that I am needing to not necessarily use the most ideal finger for buttons more than I might, say, if I was playing single line melody. It’s not all the time that I’d need to notate this, just the odd tricky bit here and there.
  10. And yes it is occasionally isn’t it! But I also get asked how I’d play certain things so in those circumstances I want to notate more than I would for personal use. Its handy cos I might forget with the passage of time what I’ve done in some bits of an old tune!
  11. I like how you incorporate the finger choice within the bellows direction indicator. Very efficient. It also will make it clear which button you’re using pretty much I’d think. (Apart from the odd case where you get two identical notes on the same direction of course) I’d been using the lines like in Gary Coover’s notation to indicate out bellows.
  12. How do you make a note of what finger to use where? There are times where it is useful to have a reminder especially when you’re working out a tune or coming up with an accompaniment for it. Or those times when you’re writing a tune down for others to learn At the moment I’m writing a finger number in a circle (because occasionally I also use numbers to indicate a button choice). So there are two things here that need numbers! In my playing I occasionally feel the need to make a note of what fingers I would like to use, because good fingering choice can make all the difference can’t it! Some things just feel right whereas other choices are all wrong for a particular context. And these patterns of notes or runs occur time and time again, so your fingers remember that pattern. On a 20 button anglo this issue occurs from time to time eg a shift of hand position down on the left side when you want to navigate the lower reaches in certain contexts. And sometimes you need to change the finger you usually use on a note here and there. When coming from a 20button to an Anglo with more buttons then what finger to use where becomes even more of an issue - what fingering should I use in this phrase or run to feel most comfortable, to incorporate buttons on the top row (or wherever extra buttons are on the instrument). When you search for fingering on the internet you will get lots of “fingering charts” that actually are just what notes occur on the pull and push for each button. That’s not what I’m talking about! So, if some people call this fingering, what do they call “what finger to use where”. On every other instrument I’ve played _that_ is called fingering, haha! what do you do?
  13. I don’t tend to play mouth blown reed instruments but yes can see how it might add to free reed instruments!
  14. Yes diatonic instruments do lend themselves to modal music don’t they! I first came across modes in medieval music and then realised we use them unconsciously a lot in folk and other popular music. They’re great! On bowed strings, because you don’t have buttons for notes or even fret’s indicating where to put fingers, you can play any pitch - even notes that don’t exist in our scales. But let’s assume we just restrict the ones we do use - then you can be restricted by how the notes lie under the fingers, changing strings (using patterns that feel nice or interesting), or whether to change position. You can impose restrictions. And that’s not even going into what bowing options to use. It can seem really overwhelming but imposing restrictions can help. So it’s refreshing to pick up the 20 button anglo!
  15. That was a fun listen, thankyou, and a gorgeous background picture. The landscape looks familiar but I can’t place it. I find it fascinating how the different modes affect the opportunities for accompaniment. I also like how some are more sparing because that gives nice contrast. There are two instruments going on in that recording by the sounds of things. I’m actually now tempted to play around with the idea on a different instrument too because how the notes lie under the fingers will be different. This was after jamming on viola last night in an impromptu session after a dance out (it’s a side where all the music is on bowed strings).
  16. Ah fabulous! I’m just starting to think of interesting dance ideas and combinations- the tunes come far more quickly!
  17. Yes! And such interesting modes come out don’t they! Actually wouldn’t that be a fun exercise - a tune in each mode. And yes there are many joys in exploring this instrument aren’t there - I think not having things that more buttons give you makes for working with what you do have. And a restricted palette can lead to creative choices! You can also see that with melodeon chord basses and buttons, resulting in people using some gorgeous unexpected harmonies.
  18. It is very pixie-ish indeed! In fact we have plenty of interesting mushrooms that come up out there 🍄 And yes it’s a brisk version of a dance step we do (when I say we I don’t mean pixies haha!)
  19. Whilst I'm on the subject, I've found when writing tunes for dances that it is much appreciated if it is based as closely as possible on the structure of the dance and make it feel like it feels to dance it, if that makes sense. I've come across quite a few tunes that don't do that and it actually frustrates me when I dance them! A good tune choice can really add extra energy!
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