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Middle row versus Inner row


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...when you follow the basic principle that your index finger should be used on the first column, second finger on the second column, etc, isn't that fingering very standard? Middle finger for the E, then third finger for the C#, which is on the third column, and pinky on the A, which is on the fourth. I am surprised to hear other people would do it differently, what is the alternative? If you start E with your index finger, then you're moving the center of your layout to the left, which might make it very hard to come back to it, and might force you to get choppy, no?

"Might" is the key word here.

It depends considerably on what notes come immediately before and after. I would expect forced choppiness in some cases, but not in others. What was the tune for which Noel made his recommendation?

 

"Choppy" is interesting, too.

"Bouncy" from changing bellows direction seems to be considered a good thing, but "choppy" from jumping a finger is considered bad? But another word for "choppy" might be "staccato". Seems to me, then, that "choppy" should be considered another technique in the repertoire, to be used but not misused. (What constitutes "misuse", however, is itself a long debate, I'm sure. B))

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I would expect forced choppiness in some cases...

 

Never when I am on my game. You always have the option of cross-fingering - where you use a finger normally dedicated to another row. This is a pretty important concept. For the right hand: when you go from the C row RH B (index finger) to the 3rd row C# on the Wheatstone layout, you would use your middle finger for the C# to avoid chopping.

Likewise, on the left hand, when you play from the C row G (with the first finger) to the A# to the A (as in G to G# to A), you would use the middle finger on the left hand for the G# (crossing over the first finger) and then use the first finger again for the A. This is how you would play the first measure of the Primrose Polka, but starting from F# to G to G# to A. Little finger, index finger, middle finger (crossing over the index finger) and then first finger again.

Crossing over is one technique used to avoid chopping, which is never acceptable- at least not in ITM. There is always another way around the problem. You just have to figure it out and remember it.

 

Dogmatic? Me...?

Nah.... Couldn't be!

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Maybe we're not talking about the same type of choppiness, Jim. I'm pretty much with David on this one, and I avoid choppiness at all cost. I don't see it as a technique, but as a handicap, like driving a standard car with only one hand, one for the wheel and the same for the gear stick... dangerous :-)

 

Since july 2008 I have moved from playing most notes with the C row to playing cross row, but the main idea, was to play without choppiness... playing cross row was mostly an end result of wanting to play without choppiness. Edel Fox did tell me to use the LH G row push D/pull E as my first choice, and to use buttons I can play with my index fingers when I have the choice... So RH B became the logical choice.

 

But anyway, before july 2008, I could remember tunes more easily because I pretty much had ONE way to play them, ONE way to play a note. It was much easier in that sense... but my tunes were so choppy, I could not manage to get a steady flow in the tunes. I would sound very mecanical and my right hand had to do some magic to play some impossible passages. The second part of Fred Finn's with only the right hand was a random thing, I had to be very awake and in control to manage to play it through steadily... now, with cross row and LH high D/E, the same passage is like a picnic!

 

The main problem now with crossrow and avoiding choppiness is that it's harder for me to play a tune I haven't played for a while because some tunes are like a maze, and when you want to play them steady without choppiness, you need to have a specific chain of positions/buttons that can be easily derailed if you don't practice the tune a lot.

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Hi Azalin didn't Edel say D push/F#pull on G row. My Jeffries E is on C row push finger 2.

 

I'm talking about "high" E... So push D/pull E button on LH G row, index finger...

 

The first octave D, you can do both, but I think Edel is using pull D third finger on the C row a little more than push D pinkie on G row.

 

It's too early for me to speak concertina fingering, I'm bound to make an obvious mistake!

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It's too early for me to speak concertina fingering, I'm bound to make an obvious mistake!

 

But that's what we should be talking about- that's what it's all about, as compared to the fiddle or the flute, either of which is about much more than fingering.

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It's too early for me to speak concertina fingering, I'm bound to make an obvious mistake!

 

But that's what we should be talking about- that's what it's all about, as compared to the fiddle or the flute, either of which is about much more than fingering.

 

Sorry I meant too early in the morning and week... My eyes are red and puffy and I'm drinking a strong tea at work to try to keep me awake, but it's not working much :wacko:

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For the right hand: when you go from the C row RH B (index finger) to the 3rd row C# on the Wheatstone layout, you would use your middle finger for the C# to avoid chopping.

 

Likewise, on the left hand, when you play from the C row G (with the first finger) to the A# to the A (as in G to G# to A), you would use the middle finger on the left hand for the G# (crossing over the first finger) and then use the first finger again for the A. This is how you would play the first measure of the Primrose Polka, but starting from F# to G to G# to A. Little finger, index finger, middle finger (crossing over the index finger) and then first finger again.

 

 

Well, I wouldn't. :)

Similar to chopping, I try to avoid crossing my fingers whenever possible. Particularly with faster tunes, with "finger acrobatics" like this it can happen much easier (at least to me) that a finger slips off the button. I also think it takes much more time than using alternate buttons with fingers ready in their "home" position. There are situations with no practical alternative where I prefer chopping to "cross-fingering" as I can "chop" faster and more comfortable. But in the two note sequences you describe, neither chopping nor finger crossing is necessary.

 

The B-C# sequence I always play with the LH B in the G row, using the "standard" index finger on the C# in the RH (Wheatstone layout).

 

For your second example (F#-G-G#-A), I would use the middle finger on F# (as usual), then switch to the G row for the push G with the ring finger, index on push G# in 3rd row, back to the pull A in the G row with the ring finger (which I keep on that button for that sequence). This means you have to stretch your fingers a bit more, but I find this also more comfortable than your alternative with three fingers taking up the space of two.

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I'm pretty convinced that "borrowing a finger" instead of chopping will greatly improve your flow in tunes. There are tunes, sometimes in Gm, where you need to borrow a finger to play the Bb and chopping would definitely not flow as much... but I guess we do what works for us. If you can manage to play as smoothly chopping those instead of borrowing fingers, good for you, but I couldn't manage on fast tunes.

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I'm pretty convinced that "borrowing a finger" instead of chopping will greatly improve your flow in tunes. There are tunes, sometimes in Gm, where you need to borrow a finger to play the Bb and chopping would definitely not flow as much... but I guess we do what works for us. If you can manage to play as smoothly chopping those instead of borrowing fingers, good for you, but I couldn't manage on fast tunes.

 

 

I haven't played that many tunes in g minor - do you have one or two example tunes so I could see what I would do? I assume that generally I would be able to do a lot with alternate buttons, eg. A and G on the G row. There might of course be tunes with a combination of Fnat, Bb plus A or G. But then there's also an A and a G available in the 3rd row... :P

 

I play a tune in C maj (Dezi Donelly's, might be known under another name), where the tune shifts into Bb major in the B part.

cGGA | (3_BcB dB fBdB | c_BGA (3BcB AB | Gc3 ecGc ...
2211 |    323 23 2323  | 2333   323 13 | 12 ...

No chopping, no crossing fingers.

 

Sorry, forgot to explain my "code": The numbers indicate the rows, 1 = G row, 2 = C row, 3 = accidental row

Edited by jileha
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The B-C# sequence I always play with the LH B in the G row, using the "standard" index finger on the C# in the RH (Wheatstone layout).

Yes, this does make sense. Except that Noel Hill would stress the importance of using the index finger, RH, for the pull B on the C row. As has been pointed out earlier, many Irish players prefer to use the strong index finger when possible. I do use the LH B pull in the G row, but generally when using the RH B would mean a chop, or for playing the triplet B-C#-D. Aside from that, my default B is the RH index finger on the C row.

 

For your second example (F#-G-G#-A), I would use the middle finger on F# (as usual), then switch to the G row for the push G with the ring finger, index on push G# in 3rd row, back to the pull A in the G row with the ring finger (which I keep on that button for that sequence).

I don't understand this at all. What do you mean, "I would use the middle finger on F# (as usual)?" Everybody I know plays the F# with the LH little finger. There's absolutely nothing usual about what you said. And why would you ever play a "push G with the ring finger?" This makes no sense at all. Either I am not understanding you, you are putting me on, or you aren't expressing yourself clearly. If I have misunderstood you I apologize.

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On the basis that I am not as well versed in the technical aspects of playing as others, I must say that I am fascinated by the different approaches to playing the concertina and how one person will favour one way over another and why shouldn't they !!

David Boveri's comments on the playing of the Merry Blacksmith made things clearer for me on that subject and playing it like he suggests suits me whilst on the other hand I can see no reason in some ways why you wouldn't start it on the right hand D on the understanding that you would have to use the other high D and A on G row at some stage.But the way he suggests suits my thinking.However on the subject of F#GG#A, I think that Jileha might have meant the small finger to be used for the F#( well I hope he did) but in reply to David Levine's point as to why you would play the G on the push, this brings me right back to my original point?? Why not? After all if it's ok to use the A on that button why not the G? And if you are on that row why change out??? Just today I was messin around with Spórt and if I was to follow David Boveri's example for the Merry Blacksmith( and I do realise totally that every tune can be different and he has made it clear that he is not making any definitive statements on how tunes should be played), I would be playing the opening A and high D on the G row which is quite doable and again suits how I hear tunes but I can't help but think that to start it on the C row would make life a lot easier.So that begs the question..what is the criteria for switching rows...ease of playing or sticking to a sound and is ease of playing the same as can't be bothered practicing the harder way????As for that run of F#GG~A..well strange enough I was taught to do it as Jileha suggests- F# on small, G on ring,G# on index and back to ring finger still sitting over the G and that is the way that would suit me..unless of course you were going on to a low D from there...which you could I suppose press with the small finger.When being taught one of Paddy Fahy's jigs ..the jig that starts D G BbB, it was press the D on G row, play G next to it and then on to Bb on index and that makes perfect sense to me and I would trust that teacher (although you could play the G on the accidental row and have the Bb beside you)Having said all that Micheal O'Raghallaigh was heard to say that you should never play the A or G on the accidental row.So who knows.

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Interesting Larry, I'd definitely do what you said, push D and G on G row, and then pull Bb on accidental row... you then get push / push / pull... I guess using the G on the accidental row would allow you play the sequence with pull / pull /pull or push / pull /pull, so if you really needed this for some phrasing reason, using that G on the accidental row could be the only way... But I'd definitely use that initial "standard" fingering you described.

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For your second example (F#-G-G#-A), I would use the middle finger on F# (as usual), then switch to the G row for the push G with the ring finger, index on push G# in 3rd row, back to the pull A in the G row with the ring finger (which I keep on that button for that sequence).

I don't understand this at all. What do you mean, "I would use the middle finger on F# (as usual)?" Everybody I know plays the F# with the LH little finger. There's absolutely nothing usual about what you said. And why would you ever play a "push G with the ring finger?" This makes no sense at all. Either I am not understanding you, you are putting me on, or you aren't expressing yourself clearly. If I have misunderstood you I apologize.

 

I have to apologize! I was playing air concertina... :( Of course, it's the F# with the little finger.

 

A lot of the personal choice of fingering depends of course also on the type of ornamentation used.

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why... play the G on the push, this brings me right back to my original point?? Why not? After all if it's ok to use the A on that button why not the G?

 

 

 

 

Because... I use the stronger fingers on either hand when possible. That is one reason why you'd always use the LH G on the C row (index finger) in preference to the G on the G row (middle finger). As far as using the A on the G row (middle finger), that A is a second choice and not the first choice. You would use it, but the first choice, again, is the A on the C row. In the context of a "system" these little points make more sense than if you address them in isolation.

 

 

 

I won't address the difficulties involved in the sequence described by jileha, beginning with F#-G-G#-A. Of course it would work. However, it's easy for people to say what they do, and to make it sound authoritative. Without having heard the tune being played I can't say whether it makes sense or not, or if the player makes it work in the context of a tune. Or if this fingering makes sense at other times. I do know that when I play up to tempo, the way I described the sequence F#-G-G#-A is a lot easier (faster) for me then a different fingering. This is the way I would teach it. The fingering system I teach begins with using the index fingers when you can.

 

Noel further points out that the B on the C row sounds much better than the B on the G row. You can see if this is true on your own concertina. On my concertinas the B reed on the G row lies under the hand and is on the inside of the reed pan (played on the press). The LH B reed, played on the draw, is out in the open and is on top of the reed pan. So the B draw sounds a little better - it's a bit clearer.

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Yeah on mine, pretty much all reeds closer to the index fingers sound better, clearer and louder. There's another interesting remark Tim Collins made to us in a class, it's that when playing a phrase, you might want to keep the same reed you played before so that the sound doesn't change for a specific note. For example, if in a phrase you used LH pull A on the G row, you might want to use it again in the same phrase *even if you don't need to use it*. That's something to think about. The sound definitely changes from reed to reed, even for the same exact note.

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Yeah on mine, pretty much all reeds closer to the index fingers sound better, clearer and louder. There's another interesting remark Tim Collins made to us in a class, it's that when playing a phrase, you might want to keep the same reed you played before so that the sound doesn't change for a specific note. For example, if in a phrase you used LH pull A on the G row, you might want to use it again in the same phrase *even if you don't need to use it*. That's something to think about. The sound definitely changes from reed to reed, even for the same exact note.

On the other hand -- with a side reference to another Topic -- you could learn to use those variations in tonality deliberately, in the way that some folks think is such an important capability of the violin. B)

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Yeah on mine, pretty much all reeds closer to the index fingers sound better, clearer and louder. There's another interesting remark Tim Collins made to us in a class, it's that when playing a phrase, you might want to keep the same reed you played before so that the sound doesn't change for a specific note. For example, if in a phrase you used LH pull A on the G row, you might want to use it again in the same phrase *even if you don't need to use it*. That's something to think about. The sound definitely changes from reed to reed, even for the same exact note.

On the other hand -- with a side reference to another Topic -- you could learn to use those variations in tonality deliberately, in the way that some folks think is such an important capability of the violin. B)

 

Pfffff, I ain't playin' a stinkin' fiddle! ;-)

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