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Transposing on English Concertina


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Hi, I would like to find EC players thoughts about finger patterns/thought patterns that enable you to transpose a tune or song from one key to another. For example, If I am playing a simple song in C, I can also slide my fingers one set of buttons further away and play in G using the same fingering except for the row change to play the F#. Now I might want to play in E on the same side or F on the other side. Is there a way to think about the transposing/use of the English keyboard system to learn to make changes on the fly? Or does this come down to trial and error and relearning a tune 12 ways to play in 12 keys? The large Hayden type duets have a fingering solution within their range, but it seems that the English has some rough patterns to follow too. Any thoughts? Thank you! Eric in Montana.

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I have posted on this before but cannot remember which topic those thoughts will be in.

 

So, as you say a tune in C can be put into G by moving your fingering one row away from your wrists, and then to D and again to A, and E , for as long as the keyboard will allow. Of course this puts the tune a fifth higher at each key change and eventually a change of octave will be needed.

 

Moving the fingers back towards you wrist, from a C scale position, will start you into the Flat keys.

 

Next stage is to learn to play a tune or a scale an octave up or down from the where you currently feel comfortable. Then you can transpose by hand shifting ( and adding/subtracting the accidentals) and swap octaves to control the range of the piece.

 

A simple way to 'learn' the keyboard is to press any button on the two central rows, the Naturals, and make that the start note for a scale. Now go up or down the scale from there and add in the needed Sharp/Flat as your ear tells you. Or better still start with the C button, play a C scale, then move to the next note ( D) and play a D scale.... E (or Eb) and continue. You should start to feel a patern emerging and soon be able to start a scale of most notes and within two runs of that scale ( up and back) you will wizz up and and down as if you always have played that scale.

 

Similar exercizes can done with Arpeggios and therein are the basis' of simple chord shape memorizing.

 

These paterns of alternating sides for the next note will only be upset when you move into keys like C#,F# and B majors.

 

 

PS; look at (search for) "fingering paterns on a EC" in the teaching and learning forum... there is quite a bit more there that might be of interest to you Eric.

Edited by Geoff Wooff
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Thought patterns: I have the order of 'The Circle Of Fifths' memorized, from playing a piano-accordion. So, using this, it's fairly easy to pick out chord relationships starting with any one being the tonic or tonic key.

 

However- since playing the English concertina, rather than an accordion most of the time, the actual circle of fifths means a little less, and I tend to just think as if I'm always constantly in the key of C - but taking note of what sharps or flats add, according to the actual given key.

 

In other words, I don't think there are a lot of finger pattern 'tricks' on the English concertina that will help transposing. It works on accordion because it's a different layout.

 

Although, I guess, what's already been mentioned, if that works for you then great. The way my mind is already pre- arranged, what works best for me is to mentally relate everything to the key of C -- I might be playing in the key of D, but in my mind, it's more like ' the key of C with sharp and C sharp.'

Edited by bellowbelle
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Finger memory is the best way to make the key switch and that just comes from practicing. As said previously, practice scales and arpeggios. Learn not only the3rd, 5th, and 7th of each scale but know augmented 5ths and 7ths and 9ths as well. Familiarize yourself with various chordal finger patterns. Sounds like a lot but a half hour a day just on this and transposing keys and modulating chords becomes second nature very quickly.

 

 

 

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