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Comparing D/A and C/G fingerings


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If that's the case (I'd still be interested in what he says, rather than a guess on your part), maybe he should consider learning to play his C/G in the keys of D and A. 'Tain't that hard, if it's a 30-button. Eb & Bb can also be nice.

No, it is not that hard, but it does have its problems. In the key of A, you often use the chords A, D and E7, and the E7 chord can be a little tricky when keeping that all on the left hand. (I hold the C-row E key with the knuckle of my first finger as I press the G-Row B and D keys with tip the same finger).

 

When playing in the key of A on a C/G, the A major chord (chord I) and the E7 chord (chord V) are in the same direction, while when playing in the Key of C, the C chord (chord I) is on the push and the G7 chord (chord V) is on the pull. Your D (chord IV in the key of A) is on the pull, but on the right hand you have a high D on the push but not on the pull. Also there is no low D (in the same octave as the low C) so you don't get a nice low root peddle note to alternate with your chords, or adding nice bottom root note to the chord. The same is true for the Eb and Bb chords.

 

When playing in Eb, how do you make an Ab major chord on the C/G Anglo since the Ab (G#) inon one direction and the Eb is in the other?

 

Since you dont find the forming of chords for all those other keys too difficult you must be a better concertinist either Tom or myself. He never pretends to be a "concertina champion" -- it is just one of several instruments he uses in making music.

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...learning to play his C/G in the keys of D and A.  'Tain't that hard, if it's a 30-button.
No, it is not that hard, but it does have its problems.

Alex, you indicated you were theorizing about why Tom wanted a D/A anglo. I felt/feel that my response could be more helpful if I knew for sure from him, rather than theorizing from you, what he wants to do with it. I might actually agree that getting a D/A would be the best thing for him, though my suggestion of working those keys on a C/G was in part because I expected him to have trouble acquiring such an instrument. My expectation may have been wrong.

 

"vic227" has indicated he might be willing to sell his. Whether he and Tom could find a mutually acceptable price is up to them. At the time I also didn't think about the possibility of getting a new instrument made by Bob Tedrow, The Button Box, Frank Edgley, etc. (One advantage of using the C/G for the keys of D and A is that no money would be required for a new instrument.)

 

But as for "its problems"...

In the key of A, you often use the chords A, D and E7, and the E7 chord can be a little tricky when keeping that all on the left hand.

And with the right-hand D on the pull, it doesn't help to cross hands, though in principle I think it's not only unnecessary to keep chords entirely in the left hand, but sometimes unwise. But you also seem to be making an assumption that the chord has to be played in its most compact (1-3-5-7) form with the tonic on the bottom. Listening to the sound files on Tom & Chris' web site, I dectect more imagination and variety than that in their non-concertina accompaniment.

 

As I've mentioned elsewhere, chord inversions and "incomplete" chords can sometimes sound as good as (or even better than) the basic form, and musical context can imply full chords when some of the notes are not actually being played. In an arpeggiated chord the notes are played one at a time, rather than all at once, and that can relieve many fingering difficulties (e.g., that E-G#-B-d can be done with only 2 fingers and no contortion). A harmony line and/or sparse chords are other possibilities, a couple of many.

 

But back to the E7 chord as an example, I'll suggest the following sequence as just one possible approach (all notes on push in left hand, with rows in parens, 1 for G, 2 for C, 3 for the other):

... E(2)-G#(3)-d(1)

... D(1)-G#(3)-B(2)

... B'(1)-D(1)-G#(3)

... E'(3)-B'(1)-G#(3)-d(1)

The first three are "incomplete", but I think unmistakable, and with a "lighter" quality than they would have if "complete". The lowest notes of each form what I think is a nice descending bass line, which can be emphasized if each is played separately before its accompanying notes. (A possible alternative to the last configuration could be E'(3)-D(1)-G#(3)-B(1).) The sequence can be varied, and any of those "chords" can be used alone or in other combinations.

 

Well, this isn't a course. That's just one idea for illustration, and there are myriads of other possibilities. Chords needn't be played low, or all in one hand, especially if the concertina isn't doubling the melody.

 

When playing in the key of A on a C/G, the A major chord (chord I) and the E7 chord (chord V) are in the same direction, while when playing in the Key of C, the C chord (chord I) is on the push and the G7 chord (chord V)  is on the pull.  Your D (chord IV in the key of A) is on the pull, but on the right hand you have a high D on the push but not on the pull.  Also there is no low D (in the same octave as the low C) so you don't get a nice low root peddle note to alternate with your chords, or adding nice bottom root note to the chord.  The same is true for the Eb and Bb chords.

Mostly true, but so what? One can do great-sounding things within those "limitations". If you can't duplicate exactly the note structure in one key that you had in another, experiment. It should be possible to find something that sounds good, though it might be stylistically different. I personally think variety is good... variety in sound, variety in arrangement, variety in "feel".

 

When playing in Eb, how do you make an Ab major chord on the C/G Anglo since the Ab (G#) is on one direction and the Eb is in the other?

First of all, instruments differ. The standard Jeffries C/G layout has both the C# and D# in both directions in the right hand. (Some instruments also have that highest D in both directions, though on a 30-key instrument it must replace something else.) But assuming an instrument as you describe it, the solution is to play only some of the notes of the chord at any given time, e.g., G#(push), then c-d# (pull). But since I believe in chord inversions, I might even play C and G# together on the push.

 

Since you dont find the forming of chords for all those other keys too difficult you must be a better concertinist either Tom or myself.

Technically better, I really doubt. (I'm working on my technique, with a long way to go.) Instead, from your comments I get the impression that my view of music and accompaniment is just more flexible than yours.

 

One final remark, and certainly not meant as a criticism. With regard to the E7 chord, you say:

I hold the C-row E key with the knuckle of my first finger as I press the G-Row B and D keys with tip the same finger.

You've mentioned before your technique of bending the finger under so that the nail side presses the buttons. I'm not aware of anyone else who does that. (If there are others, I hope they'll let me know.) When I try it myself it seems impossible... for me. When I press two buttons with the same finger, I do it with the pad of the first joint, and I've seen various others do it "my" way. It seems to me that you must have very large fingers and probably hands as well, and you must keep your hands straps rather loose. (Yes? No?)

 

I find that very interesting, and an example that individual differences can at times be considerable.

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With regard to the E7 chord, you say:
I hold the C-row E key with the knuckle of my first finger as I press the G-Row B and D keys with tip the same finger.

You've mentioned before your technique of bending the finger under so that the nail side presses the buttons. I'm not aware of anyone else who does that. (If there are others, I hope they'll let me know.) When I try it myself it seems impossible... for me.

I realise we're moving off the toping of D/A anglos, but I just wanted to add that I had a go at this technique of bending the finger the other night, and it's an ingenious way of getting round one of the layout limitations (features? :)) of the instrument. But I did find it uncomfortable, and suspect that it could cause a very stiff middle finger if used frequently - and for that reason I'd agree with you Jim; in this case I'd rather find a musical solution, and either split the chord up in some way or leave out the fifth or seventh.

 

Cheers

Stuart

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The first three posts in this thread were split off from the Buy/Sell forum at request of the thread initiator.

'S funny. Were it my choice (which it's not), this whole topic would go under Teaching & Learning.

Yes, that would have made more sense. I don' t know what I was thinking.

 

 

Instead, from your comments I get the impression that my view of music and accompaniment is just more flexible than yours.

You are correct. Until I read your response, my view was quite limited.

It was too much based on the Bass Guitar + Guitar + voice arrangement of the only kind of music I ever played in my youth.

 

And with the right-hand D on the pull, it doesn't help to cross hands, though in principle I think it's not only unnecessary to keep chords entirely in the left hand, but sometimes unwise.

Yes, in fact, to properly resolve my E7, I must use the C# on the right hand.

But you also seem to be making an assumption that the chord has to be played in its most compact (1-3-5-7) form with the tonic on the bottom. Listening to the sound files on Tom & Chris' web site, I dectect more imagination and variety than that in their non-concertina accompaniment.

 

As I've mentioned elsewhere, chord inversions and "incomplete" chords can sometimes sound as good as (or even better than) the basic form, and musical context can imply full chords when some of the notes are not actually being played. In an arpeggiated chord the notes are played one at a time, rather than all at once, and that can relieve many fingering difficulties (e.g., that E-G#-B-d can be done with only 2 fingers and no contortion). A harmony line and/or sparse chords are other possibilities, a couple of many

Looking at the Piano part of a song book here, I see that chord inversions and incomplete chords and everything you discribe here are the norm.

 

Alex, you indicated you were theorizing about why Tom wanted a D/A anglo. I felt/feel that my response could be more helpful if I knew for sure from him, rather than theorizing from you, what he wants to do with it. I might actually agree that getting a D/A would be the best thing for him, though my suggestion of working those keys on a C/G was in part because I expected him to have trouble acquiring such an instrument. My expectation may have been wrong.

Well it's not a life and death situation for him. It's more of a "nice to have". He does not want to buy a newly built one because he is looking in the under $1000 range.

 

I still never asked him why. He in fact does play some stuff with the D chords.

 

The other day ( yes and I still didn't ask him), in the Sea Shanties class that he and Chris teach, I watched him accompany the song Strike the Bell from the album by that name. It has only the chords C F and G7 in it ( I think) but the thing is he was not just doing peddle note + chord on the left hand. He was making the chords with both hands and doing rhythmic things with playing different parts of the chords within each measure or beat. Whenever he would resolve in the C, he would always have about as many notes of the chord as the fingers could make to get a nice juicy thick chord. It just sounds nicer to have the low notes in there. That just becomes more difficult when you get away from the key of C. Higher notes without low notes under them on the concertina can have their moments and effects, but sometimes one just really want to resolve with those nice low notes in there. So I can understand wanting to be able to do that in a different key, the same way you can do that in C on a C/G.

 

Meanwhile, I found someone with a D/A Bastari for Tom that seems to be what he wants.

 

It seems to me that you must have very large fingers and probably hands as well, and you must keep your hands straps rather loose. (Yes? No?)

Let me measure my hand here... okay from the wrist to the tip of my middle finger is 8 inches (20 cm). I think this is average for a male of Anglo-European background, though I must admit that they are larger than those of anyone in my family or step family.

 

I do not keep the straps very tight, but surprisingly, I find that Tom keeps his looser and so does the Gary, guy who owns the D/A.

 

You've mentioned before your technique of bending the finger under so that the nail side presses the buttons. I'm not aware of anyone else who does that. (If there are others, I hope they'll let me know.) When I try it myself it seems impossible... for me. When I press two buttons with the same finger, I do it with the pad of the first joint, and I've seen various others do it "my" way.

 

I have attached a photo showing my left hand. The G row lines up with the point where my fingers join the rest of the hand. To play notes on the top row, I must curl my fingers at about a 90 angle toward the instrument. To play the G -Row, I must curl them so that the nail is slightly facing the buttons.

 

For me to press 2 buttons with the pad of my first joint, I would either need to bend the first joint backwards (which I can't do) or I would have to slide my hand downward so that the strap is across my knuckles, and my right hand thumb then would not reach the thumb button. When I try this, I find it severly limiting.

 

I'll make another post to show a photo of playing the E7 with the knuckle.

post-4-1090120310.jpg

Edited by AlexCJones
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Okay, here is the E7th chord using the knuckle of the middle finger to press the C-row E4, the tip of that same finger to press the G-row B4 and D5, and the index finger to press the top row G#4. Obscured is the pinky (little finger) pressing the top row low E3.

 

(standard note name/number system used where middle C = C4)

post-4-1090121143.jpg

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The first three posts in this thread were split off from the Buy/Sell forum at request of the thread initiator.
Were it my choice (which it's not), this whole topic would go under Teaching & Learning.
Yes, that would have made more sense. I don' t know what I was thinking.

Ken moved it once. I'll bet if you asked him nicely he might do it , again. :)

 

Let me measure my hand here... okay from the wrist to the tip of my middle finger is 8 inches (20 cm).

Hmm. Mine is 7-1/4", and from the wrist to the tip of my little finger is just under 5-3/4".

 

I have attached a photo [now two photos]....

Gives a whole new meaning to the "Click thumbnail" instruction! :P

 

My technique is a bit different. You seem to have your hand pushed as far foward as possible.I flex my wrist slightly so that my palms are pulled back slightly, and more so when playing the G row than when playing the 3rd (accidental) row. Your second knuckle seems to be positioned over the 3rd row, while mine is positioned over the G row when I play the 3rd row, and progressively further behind the G row when playing the C and G rows. Then the palm and finger together form an arch without the bending being so concentrated in a single joint as appears in your photos. So when I play two buttons with the same finger, the entire finger is pulled somewhat back, and I press with the pad of the fingertip.

 

I shall try to find someone to take photos of my hands. A picture is indeed worth many words.

 

I've now tried holding my anglo the way I see in your photos, and if I deliberately extend my hands foward I find it is not too difficult, though for me it's unnatural and involves noticeable tension. Interesting.

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