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Fingering help please


Johanna
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I'm trying to learn "The Three-Speed Plough," by John Kirkpatrick, on EC. The last measure of the A section (attached) leaves my fingers tied up in knots. No matter what I do, I have my third finger on the second C, and no fingers left to play the F sharp that follows.

 

Is there any way to play this? It's a nice tune, so I'd hate to give up on it.

plough problem.pdf

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I'm trying to learn "The Three-Speed Plough," by John Kirkpatrick, on EC. The last measure of the A section (attached) leaves my fingers tied up in knots. No matter what I do, I have my third finger on the second C, and no fingers left to play the F sharp that follows.

 

Is there any way to play this? It's a nice tune, so I'd hate to give up on it.

 

Well, here's how I'd do it:

 

middle - index - index - middle - ring - index - index - LH middle - ring - LH index

 

Gary

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I'm trying to learn "The Three-Speed Plough," by John Kirkpatrick, on EC. The last measure of the A section (attached) leaves my fingers tied up in knots.

Oops! My attention has been called to the fact that I misread the key signature, so I've now edited this post to address the correct tune.

 

I made the following recommendation (quoting myself here) based the c being c#. I won't delete it entirely, because I think it's worth practicing in its own right. (Maybe I should write a tune that uses it?) Following the quote is a corrected version of the post.

Just tried it, and this is how I'm doing it:

i=index; m=middle; r=ring (RH vs. LH is unambiguous)

c#( r) - e( m), A( i) - c#( m), F#( r) - A( m), D( i) - E( m) - F#( r), G( i)

If you're not used to the "crossing under" I use going from e to A and from A to D, it's definitely a technique worth practicing, as is its inverse (index on top, middle under), though that's not a good idea here because of the following c#( m) to F#( r).

Just tried it (again, with the correct notes), and this is how I'm doing it:

i=index; m=middle; r=ring (RH vs. LH is unambiguous)

c( r) - e( m), A( i) - c( m), F#( r) - A( m), D( i) - E( m) - F#( r), G( i)

Note that this is exactly the same fingering, but with c-natural instead of c# two of the reaches (A to c and c to F#) are no longer "unusual".

 

And the above-quoted advice regarding crossing under being worth practicing still holds, including the fact that the inverse crossing is doesn't work for the quoted phrase because of the following notes (c - F).

 

A note on the crossing under:

Some folks find index-over-middle to be easier than middle-over-index; others find the reverse to be true; but it's worthwhile to become comfortable with both, since in many sequences only the one or the other is reasonable. Flexibility is a virtue.

 

Also, the size and shape of your hands may affect the ease or difficulty of various fingerings. But I don't think either very large or very small hands should preclude the above fingering suggestion, only maybe require a bit of extra practice to get it comfortable. (My own hands are somewhat broad, but otherwise not especially large or small.)

 

P.S. If anyone really wants to read my entire unedited original post, it's quoted in spindizzy's following post. :)

Edited by JimLucas
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I'm trying to learn "The Three-Speed Plough," by John Kirkpatrick, on EC. The last measure of the A section (attached) leaves my fingers tied up in knots.

Just tried it, and this is how I'm doing it:

i=index; m=middle; r=ring (RH vs. LH is unambiguous)

c#( r) - e( m), A( i) - c#( m), F#( r) - A( m), D( i) - E( m) - F#( r), G( i)

If you're not used to the "crossing under" I use going from e to A and from A to D, it's definitely a technique worth practicing, as is its inverse (index on top, middle under), though that's not a good idea here because of the following c#( m) to F#( r).

 

A note on the crossing under:

Some folks find index-over-middle to be easier than middle-over-index; others find the reverse to be true; but it's worthwhile to become comfortable with both, since in many sequences only the one or the other is reasonable. Flexibility is a virtue.

 

Also, the size and shape of your hands may affect the ease or difficulty of various fingerings. But I don't think either very large or very small hands should preclude the above fingering suggestion, only maybe require a bit of extra practice to get it comfortable. (My own hands are somewhat broad, but otherwise not especially large or small.)

And it is possible to use the inverse under-crossings for your requested passage, but I (and I think most folks) find it much more awkward and difficult:

c#( r) - e( i), A( m) - c#( r), F#( m) - A( i), D( m) - E( m) - F#( r), G( i)

Note the crossing of the middle finger under the ring finger for the c# to F# sequence. Possible, but "unintuitive" and probably awkward without a lot of practice.

 

I don't think that's a c# from the pdf (I don't know the tune).

It looks bouncy, so (having treated my work colleagues to a session where I was tapping various fingers on the desk and muttering) I'd probably go for a jump between the e and A, and maybe also between the A and D (but I might cross the m finger under for that - would have to try something other than my desk which has limited responsiveness!)

 

so .... c(m) e(i) A(i) c(m) F#® A(i) D(i or m) E(m) F#® G(i)

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I don't think that's a c# from the pdf (I don't know the tune).

Oops!
:o

You're quite right about the music showing c-natural, not c#. My error.

 

But I wouldn't change my fingering recommendation at all. With the same fingering, both the A to c and c to F# reaches are no longer "unusual", so they shouldn't need extra practice. (I think I would still recommend practicing my faulty c# as a useful exercise, just not for this tune. :))

 

On the other hand, my suggested (but not recommended) "inverse" pattern simply isn't viable with the c-natural.

 

Now to go correct my original post. B)

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Thanks for all the replies. :) I've tried Jim's suggestion (without the c-sharps), and I think that with practice I can make that work. It's great that you all are here to ask about things like this. :)

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..........no takers for this ?

Middle Index Middle 3rd Pinky Index Middle 3rd.

At first blush you might think it's complicating it unnecessarily but sometimes, and here's a case, when the little finger is in the right place at the right time !

Practising fingering such as this helps you through those passages where it's nice to avoid "finger hopping" to give a smoother feel. The fact you can smooth it out does not make it smushy if you practice the crisp articulation.

And I'm a big supporter of Jim's suggestion of practising these less obvious finger patterns. I find it remarkable how quickly these become easier. Do 'em 10 times (perfectly) 3 times a day for a week and see how far you've come.

 

Try this lovely tune Johanna..........you'll soon see where you have to give it some extra thought and when with much practice you can struggle through it, it a great feeling of accomplishment and from the point of view of technique, you've learned a vast amount.

Robin

Flaxley Green Dance.pdf

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Thanks for all the replies. :) I've tried Jim's suggestion (without the c-sharps), and I think that with practice I can make that work. It's great that you all are here to ask about things like this. :)

 

ps thanks for starting this thread, I went to look for a recording of the tune and the whole album seems full of good tunes ... Puddleglum's misery has always been a favourite, and the title piece (Dance of the Demon Daffodils is a great tune)

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Try this lovely tune Johanna..........you'll soon see where you have to give it some extra thought and when with much practice you can struggle through it, it a great feeling of accomplishment and from the point of view of technique, you've learned a vast amount.

Robin

I know that tune well from Hannah James and Sam Sweeney's album, where they do the A section in parallel thirds (second part a third below the melody) and it sounds lovely. I've always played it by hopping the same finger between the notes a 5th apart...thanks for the reminder that I should take the time to relearn it properly.

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ps thanks for starting this thread, I went to look for a recording of the tune and the whole album seems full of good tunes ... Puddleglum's misery has always been a favourite, and the title piece (Dance of the Demon Daffodils is a great tune)

The other two on the same track as The Three-Speed Plough - The Hafren Hornpipe and a Half, and Unchristmas - are both a lot of fun as well. I've been working on those, and figured I should try The Three-Speed Plough too to round out the set.

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Try this lovely tune Johanna..........you'll soon see where you have to give it some extra thought and when with much practice you can struggle through it, it a great feeling of accomplishment and from the point of view of technique, you've learned a vast amount.

 

 

Robin

 

Really nice tune, Robin! Hope to see you for the Ale, if the boys can get it together to make a decision.

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..........no takers for this ?

Middle Index Middle 3rd Pinky Index Middle 3rd.

I would say that's a reasonable alternative.

I rarely use the little fingers to play notes, as I do use them in the finger plates*, though I will occasionally lift one from its plate briefly to play a note that would otherwise require a bit of phalangeal macramé.

 

*Note that I
don't
call them "finger
rests
". My little fingers aren't resting, but are actively involved in helping to support the instrument and control the bellows and the orientation of the ends. Even when seated, I most often hold my concertina suspended, not resting on a leg.

 

I'm not going to try debating here the pros and cons of 3-finger vs. 4-finger methods and suspended vs. resting vs. neck strap or harness support of the instrument. I think those issues deserve their own thread(s)... and indeed, they've been discussed before. But even though my own playing is mainly 3-finger, I do think it's a good idea to try some 4-finger exercises, such as what Robin has suggested. Experiment with various possibilities, and find what suits yourself.

Try this lovely tune Johanna..........you'll soon see where you have to give it some extra thought and when with much practice you can struggle through it, it a great feeling of accomplishment and from the point of view of technique, you've learned a vast amount.

Nice tune. Reminds me a bit of the Abbots Bromley Horn Dance, though the latter is more sedate.

 

I guess "struggle" is a relative term. I breezed through it, using two or more different fingering sequences on repeats of several phrases, including and especially both inversions of crossing under. But I've been using that technique since shortly after I started playing, and for someone not used to it, I can see that "struggle" would be likely.

 

In fact, I think it's a great tune -- especially the last half of the B part -- for practicing alternative fingerings. E.g., in the 4th measure from the end (A-c-f B-d-g) I found myself using each of the following (among others):

  • i-m-m r-m-m
  • i-m-m r-i-m
  • m-r-i m-i-i (followed by m-i-...), and even
  • i-m-r m-i-m

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....so, is there an actual John Kirpatrick book or gathering of material around? I know I always love his tunes and there are quite a few in Hardy's collections. Time to do and internet search--I do not even know what era Kirkpatrick was in. :huh:

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....so, is there an actual John Kirpatrick book or gathering of material around?

I recently got a copy of "Jump At The Sun: The John Kirkpatrick Tunebook" (from here). There's a lot of good stuff in there. I can learn tunes by ear, but it's so much easier to have dots in front of me too. Especially for the tune's that he's written (and recorded) to be played as canons, the dots are a big help to figure out what is going on.

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