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Gusten

Specific anglo ornamentation question

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Hi,

 

I've played the concertina for... Wow, almost two years now! I'm enjoying it more for every day I play, and I find that (since I have no teacher available) progress is directly proportional to how often I play, and how actively I try to learn new things.

 

...which brings me to my question! I'm working more and more on ornamentation (I play irish trad music, on anglo), and I haven't yet figured out how to perform/simulate rolls on the high F#-B, i.e. the index and middle finger on right hand, G-row.

 

On the C-row, I've lately started to work on triplets, but the G-row is too close to my palm so I can't do fast triplets there. Maybe my hand straps are too tight?

 

I've tried different variations, but can't figure out a way to make rolls (or other ornamentation longer than just a cut) sound nice. Does anyone have any advice here? Thankful for all input!

 

Regards

Gusten

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Hi,

 

I've played the concertina for... Wow, almost two years now! I'm enjoying it more for every day I play, and I find that (since I have no teacher available) progress is directly proportional to how often I play, and how actively I try to learn new things.

 

...which brings me to my question! I'm working more and more on ornamentation (I play irish trad music, on anglo), and I haven't yet figured out how to perform/simulate rolls on the high F#-B, i.e. the index and middle finger on right hand, G-row.

 

On the C-row, I've lately started to work on triplets, but the G-row is too close to my palm so I can't do fast triplets there. Maybe my hand straps are too tight?

 

I've tried different variations, but can't figure out a way to make rolls (or other ornamentation longer than just a cut) sound nice. Does anyone have any advice here? Thankful for all input!

 

Regards

Gusten

 

Regarding the hand straps, if the inner row is too close for you to play on comfortably then one option is to be able to shift your hand a bit. You need the straps loose enough to be able to do that easily. I like my straps set such that with my palm flattened I have about a quarter inch of clearance between my palm and the wooden bar as I try to pull gently out on the bellows. The natural flex or bend of my hand is sufficient to eliminate this gap when I play, but I can still shift my hand in the straps easily when I need to. The position of your hands in the straps is also a factor, I normally try to have my hands as deep in the straps as possible and the further your knuckles are from the straps the more flex you have available.

 

Also, you might look at the height of the wooden crossbar, a higher (taller) bar would likely give you more room to get your fingers in close for the inner row buttons. I've seem some as short as under 1/2 inch but I prefer a 7/8 inch bar height. You can try putting a bit of filler between your palm and the bar (and adjust the straps) to see how a higher bar might work out for you.

 

As to playing F#-B as you describe, I think you're taking on a difficult task. I'd likely settle for an F#-A combination using the fingers you mention, an easy choice since both are played in the same bellows direction. If you really want the F#-B then I suggest you play the B at the bottom (high end) of the C row with your little finger. It might take some practice to get that combination working but they are both in the same bellows direction.

Edited by Bruce McCaskey

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As to playing F#-B as you describe, I think you're taking on a difficult task. I'd likely settle for an F#-A combination using the fingers you mention, an easy choice since both are played in the same bellows direction. If you really want the F#-B then I suggest you play the B at the bottom (high end) of the C row with your little finger. It might take some practice to get that combination working but they are both in the same bellows direction.

 

Thanks alot for the advice on the straps and hand-position, Bruce. I haven't really given that much thought, so you've opened up my eyes here. I'll get right to analysing my bar-height and hand-position when I get home from work (and re-read your post, to make sure I don't miss anything)!

 

I think I wasn't clear with what I meant. I'm looking for advice on how to perform a roll/other ornament longer than just a cut, on the F#, the G, the A and the B, i.e. four different rolls. I'm not looking for a roll to involve F# and B, I just tried to be efficient when typing, and failed to get my point through.

 

That is, how would you perform (or rather "mimic" as it's concertina we're playing) a roll on the high G? And how would you perform a "roll" on the high F#? And on the high A, etc.

 

Thank you.

/Gusten

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I feel compelled up front to state that I don't play rolls on the notes you named, rather I usually settle for triplets involving the next higher note. Also, I'm not looking to start a discussion as to the proper definition of a "roll" so to be clear here I'm going to offer some thoughts on the topic, but not represent them as the "proper" way a roll should be approached. I'll leave that for others on the forum that feel qualified to make definitive statements regarding the matter.

 

I don't know if you play Wheatstone layout or Jeffries, but while I used to play Jeffries I switched to Wheatstone some months ago at Bertram Levy's urging and so my comments will assume a Wheatstone layout. The Wheatstone only offers a single C#, but it offers a G/A button combination such that one has a push A and pull G available on the outer row. To be clear, I'm referring to second button from the physical top of the outer row on the right side.

 

Finally, in my opinion you'd be most successful at a roll if it's all played in the same bellows direction so that's the approach I'm taking. Anything that requires a bellows reversal may be physically possible for some, but it would require precise bellows movement to execute successfully. Regarding the notes you asked about, here are my musings:

 

F#: The starting note is on the pull, and you also have a pull G on the outer row and a pull E on the inner row (top of the left side). Using the index finger on the F# and middle on the outer row G, you can play an F#-G-E-F#, or even an F#-G-F#-E-F#.

 

G: Starting with the index finger on the push G of the inner row, you could execute a G-A-G-E-G using the middle finger on the push A of the outer row and then sifting the middle finger to the push E of the middle © row. If you start with the middle finger on the pull G of the outer row and the index on the inner row A, you could play a G-A-G-F#-G by alternating the index on the A and F#.

 

A: Starting with the index on the pull A of the inner row and using the little finger on the B at the (physical) bottom of the middle © row along with the middle finger on the pull G of the outer row, you could play either A-B-G-A or A-B-A-G-A.

 

B: Starting with the index finger on the push B on the inner row, and the middle or ring on the push C of the middle © row, you could play B-C-B-A-B by alternating the middle finger over to the outer row to pick up the push A there. Another approach would be to start with the little finger on the pull B at the (physical) bottom of the C row, and then use the ring finger on the C on the inner row and then middle finger on the inner row A to play B-C-A-B or B-C-B-A-B combinations.

 

I hope my descriptions make sense and that I've not introduced any errors of intent. No secrets revealed here, but some of these combinations may require considerable time to develop rapid finger coordination. In some cases you may find it beneficial to physically roll the concertina toward or away from your body a small amount to change the button alignment relative to your finger to facilitate access.

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Interestin Bruce, I am gradually adapring my Jeffries to that arranement plus a few others

 

Can you update us on B Levy's new book or whatever he is producing for Anglo tuition.

 

I find that , listening to a wide range of instrument players ( and I prefer solo or one with just an accompanist )I come acrossall sorts of ornaments so don't feel a need for strict adheremce to any one kind .. I do sometimes bring things from my flute and fiddle playing into concertina but by and large I like a 'sparser' style. maybe that's down to who I like listening to on concertina.

 

 

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Can you update us on B Levy's new book or whatever he is producing for Anglo tuition.

 

Bertram had hoped to be ready to publish before now, but between his time in Argentina, work on the boat he's building, a family sailing vacation, his performing schedule and other elements of a busy life, the publication was delayed. He has been working on it though, and over the last several months he has he afforded me the opportunity to try several of his exercises and to comment on portions of his text. It's been a very interesting experience and it has changed my perspective on the Anglo.

 

After several years of playing with a traditional "cross-row" approach I'd developed a mental framework which essentially married fingers to buttons in set patterns. I can still call on that approach if I wish, but Bertram has freed me from the mindset of a rigid structure. I've been learning to draw on the full potential of the buttons and to use bellows phrasing and fingering that have no default.

 

I don't know precisely where Bertram stands with respect to actually getting the tutor published at this point, but I received an email from him recently that suggests he's very close. The text has been complete for some time, I think the delay was primarily related to finding the time and setting to record and prepare the demonstration tracks for the associated CD.

Edited by Bruce McCaskey

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One neat ornament, anyways, is a two finger triplet on the same button. I only play Irish but it should work for other genres as well.

You start with the finger you'd ordinarily use to play that button, use the next finger for the second part, and return to the initial finger for the third part of the triplet. All on the same button. It's staccato and should fit into the melody with the value of the single note it replaces. It can be overdone but it can also add some nice color to a tune. It's easy enough on the first and second finger but gets harder for the lower notes, below middle C.

Edited by David Levine

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Another suggestion, try cutting the F# with the B, and then play the F# again (BF#F#). This works well for a crotchet length ornament. For a dotted crotchet you can extend this by playing another F# first, as in F#(BF#F#). The trick is to get the bounce between the two F#s working. The rhythm is not clear from the above but I think you will be able to work it out.

 

Chris

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Wow, a lot of specific, detailed and most helpful advice here! Thank you all very much.

 

David, the two-finger triplet you speak about is something I use a bit on the middle row (only ornament I use for the middle-finger E on the left hand). The problem is that the inside row is too close to my palm, so I can't pull the triplet off on the same button with two fingers. That's why I wonder if I might have my hands in a bad position while playing, but I've received some advice here in this post so I'm going to study my playstyle more.

 

A bit off-topic - since a few days I'm not playing at all, since a spring broke on middle row, index finger G/A. For some reasons, high-schoolers are more enthusiastic about spring break than concertina-players are.

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A bit off-topic - since a few days I'm not playing at all, since a spring broke on middle row, index finger G/A. For some reasons, high-schoolers are more enthusiastic about spring break than concertina-players are.

Gusten, check your email.
;)

P.S. Well done with the pun. :D

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