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How Do You Handle The G# In The Foxhunters Reel On Anglo?


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So I recently learned the Foxhunters in A, so obviously there's gonna be that pesky g# in the 4th part. How do you anglo players handle that? avoid it? change fingering positions? play a different note. Take your 'tina to the shop to have a g# installed where it's easier to reach, to the tune of $$$, just so you can play that one reel?

 

Me?--I either play the b above the a, instead of the g#, or I 'll sometimes play the f# below the a. I have to play real slooooow to even hope to get up to the g# in standard position, and I haven't really tried changing positions yet.

 

In G, Foxhunter's is much more concertina friendly. I do like it in A though, really slamming that c# is alot of fun, twisty fingering notwithstanding.

 

(edited to correct spelling.)

Edited by fearfeasog
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I haven't been playing that tune in recent months, maybe even longer. However, I gave it a go in G and A and agree that in A it has a very satisfying feel about it. I find that I have to be careful with the C#'s as It's easy to punch them too hard and over-emphasize those notes. One needs to remember to apply just enough pressure on the button to operate it and let the palm provide the closing force to the bellows.

 

As to the G#'s, I assume you are referring to the A-A-G#-A sequences. If that's the case, I'm using the "pull" A's on the inside (G row) with the middle finger and operating the G# with the ring finger. As an alternative you could play the push A's on the outer (accidental) row with the middle finger and the G# with the ring finger. The latter is perhaps easier but it wouldn't be my default approach.

 

I hope I've addressed your question and haven't misinterpreted it or the tune/key referenced.

 

Edited to add that my comments originate from a Wheatstone layout perspective. I believe the Jeffries layout lacks the outer row push G that would be used in my alternate fingering suggestion.

Edited by Bruce McCaskey
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While I haven't tried this tune, I agree with Bruce's evaluation. I play enough tunes in A and E that I regularly use that third finger on the G# key. Try running through your A scale a few times just to get use to using the finger and then go back to playing the tune and see if that helps. I know it did when I started to play tunes outside of C and G.

 

Alan

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I haven't been playing that tune in recent months, maybe even longer. However, I gave it a go in G and A and agree that in A it has a very satisfying feel about it. I find that I have to be careful with the C#'s as It's easy to punch them too hard and over-emphasize those notes. One needs to remember to apply just enough pressure on the button to operate it and let the palm provide the closing force to the bellows.

 

As to the G#'s, I assume you are referring to the A-A-G#-A sequences. If that's the case, I'm using the "pull" A's on the inside (G row) with the middle finger and operating the G# with the ring finger. As an alternative you could play the push A's on the outer (accidental) row with the middle finger and the G# with the ring finger. The latter is perhaps easier but it wouldn't be my default approach.

 

I hope I've addressed your question and haven't misinterpreted it or the tune/key referenced.

you have indeed addressed my question, tyvm! and yep i mean the aag#a as you say. My box is a jeffries (Morse Céilí) so I'll have to look for that accidental A and hope it's there.

 

While I haven't tried this tune, I agree with Bruce's evaluation. I play enough tunes in A and E that I regularly use that third finger on the G# key. Try running through your A scale a few times just to get use to using the finger and then go back to playing the tune and see if that helps. I know it did when I started to play tunes outside of C and G.

 

Alan

Thanks Alan, good idea about running thru the scale. I shal add that to my list.

 

:)

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Playing in G is my option. I know some fiddlers play it in A, but any music I've seen shows it in G, and that's the way I play it. There are some tunes, or versions of tunes in other keys that may sound better in other keys, but IMHO not worth the extra effort. There are too many tunes to learn & play, to take so much time mastering only one tune in a difficult key, or an awkward version. Spend the time learning friendlier tunes, or tunes in less awkward keys.

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In the end you have to be able to use that G# button whenever you want without thinking. I resisted it for a long time because it feels so far out of position, as if the note after it will be behind your left knee.

 

A way to incorporate the G# is to choose a tune which is not difficult but which includes a few G#s and then play it every day, playing the whole tune at the speed at which you can use the G#. Don't play fast and then slow down to play the G#, this incorporates a feeling it should be done faster and will habituate a feeling of anxiety about the button.

 

I find the push A is handy to use in conjunction with the G#.

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Playing in G is my option. I know some fiddlers play it in A, but any music I've seen shows it in G, and that's the way I play it. There are some tunes, or versions of tunes in other keys that may sound better in other keys, but IMHO not worth the extra effort. There are too many tunes to learn & play, to take so much time mastering only one tune in a difficult key, or an awkward version. Spend the time learning friendlier tunes, or tunes in less awkward keys.

 

Understood. Since I'm new to this tune (or vice versa) and indeed new to the session scene, relatively, I can't help feeling that I'll be putting someone out no matter which key I decide to start this in. Ah well, good advice--friendlier tunes it is.

 

In the end you have to be able to use that G# button whenever you want without thinking. I resisted it for a long time because it feels so far out of position, as if the note after it will be behind your left knee.

 

A way to incorporate the G# is to choose a tune which is not difficult but which includes a few G#s and then play it every day, playing the whole tune at the speed at which you can use the G#. Don't play fast and then slow down to play the G#, this incorporates a feeling it should be done faster and will habituate a feeling of anxiety about the button.

 

I find the push A is handy to use in conjunction with the G#.

 

Good idea, thanks!

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I totally agree with my pal Chris. I play fiddle as well as concertina and The Foxhunter sits perfectly on the fiddle. While Frank is correct in the value of generally addressing tunes in friendlier concertina keys, it's better to start right out learning tunes in the key of A and learning to use both the high G# as well as the left hand G#. Isn't this why there are thirty buttons?

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...learning to use both the high G# as well as the left hand G#. Isn't this why there are thirty buttons?

 

I'm not much of an anglo player, but doesn't the same argument apply to the push A's? Seems to me that not having to reverse the bellows between A and G# could make things easier.

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Both Chris and Jim are right. Use of the G# should be played with the adjacent A whenever possible - its the pairing principle which is to try to group two note in a direction for good phrasing. For example if you have a run E F#G# A - play the E and F# on the third row L15 to R11 while opening Then play G# A on the right top row R3 to R2 (Wheatstone system) closing. I spend a chapter on this particular move in the key of A in my tutor but this is is the basic principle. In my video of Bull at the Wagon in this forum - playing all keys in C/G - I conclude the second part of the tune in this way but in the lower octave L5 to L4 on the left.. LIke everything there are always exception like the first and third measure of the second part of the Bull at the wagon. Here the G# stands alone but I make the G# an accent which keeps the intention of the phrasing going.

 

Bertram

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[Edited to add: I see Bertram posted a response while I was composing. I'm certainly an enthusiast of his approach to concertina and it's not my intent to detract from his insightful advice. My own comment below as to personal preference strongly reflects the conditioning of the playing system I used when I first learned to play this tune.]

 

In my opinion Jim the push A and G# combination is easier, but then you get into the question of whether the bellows reversal improves definition and schools of thought on related button/bellows usage. I prefer the bellows reversal in this case and have played this particular button combination enough that it doesn't pose a problem for me.

 

I attended a session yesterday - a rare event for me - and one fiddler there launched into Foxhunters in A. Fortunate indeed that I'd recently explored it in that key so I was able to readily play it and keep up with the fast pace the fiddlers seem to love.

 

Since I've taken the time to make this post, I'll go on to pose a question.

 

The third setting for this tune on thesession.org looks off to me. I'm OK with the first two settings, but the third seems to me to be written in A (that is, most everything has been moved up a step so I'd expect the C's to be sharped) but its sheet music and ABC indicate it as G Major with C naturals. I'm not real familiar with the site but it appears to me that the sheet music might be generated off the ABC on demand rather than stored as displayed.

 

That third setting appears to have been posted for five years without anyone questioning it, so it leads me to wonder whether the key indicated is incorrect and no one questioned it or if someone actually plays it as written with C naturals? Admittedly I don't get out to many sessions so maybe I've just missed hearing this approach, but I've tried it as written and don't like the outcome.

 

I'm not a member there by the way, and don't know that joining to suggest something is wrong on the site would be good form.

 

http://thesession.org/tunes/511

 

Any opinions on that third setting?

Edited by Bruce McCaskey
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One more thing I meant to mention In the second measure of first part of the Bull at the wagon the double stop is the E chord - BG# - for this it is necessary to shift the axis of the left hand a little so that the B on the Lower G row is fingered with the 4th finger rather than the third - that allows the second or index finger for the G# L5 and concluding the phrase with the A L4 on the top row with the third finger - all while closing the bellows. Hope that helps

 

Bertram

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The third setting for this tune on thesession.org looks off to me. I'm OK with the first two settings, but the third seems to me to be written in A (that is, most everything has been moved up a step so I'd expect the C's to be sharped) but its sheet music and ABC indicate it as G Major with C naturals. I'm not real familiar with the site but it appears to me that the sheet music might be generated off the ABC on demand rather than stored as displayed.

 

That third setting appears to have been posted for five years without anyone questioning it, so it leads me to wonder whether the key indicated is incorrect and no one questioned it or if someone actually plays it as written with C naturals? Admittedly I don't get out to many sessions so maybe I've just missed hearing this approach, but I've tried it as written and don't like the outcome.

 

I'm not a member there by the way, and don't know that joining to suggest something is wrong on the site would be good form.

 

http://thesession.org/tunes/511

 

Any opinions on that third setting?

From reading the comments on that thread, the third version of the tune is a transcription of Mairead ni Mhaonaigh playing it in the enclosed video. The key is wrong in the ABC, but apart from that the transcription is ok.

 

Fearfeasog: I went to a teacher (whose qualifications are sterling), told her that I was struggling with the key of A major, and was given a version of Joe Cassidy's similar to this one: http://thesession.org/tunes/7938 That took a lot of time to get right, but my high G# was much steadier in all other tunes after that. Today they are flowing nicely (I play Jeffries layout and would use a pull A on the G-row with the G# (middle finger / ring finger)).

I find deciding which A to use with my LHS G# more of a challenge. So my tip (as other contributors)is to give the hard parts a lot of mileage. If you can learn to alternate between pull A and push A with the G# on the RHS, well, you can do both, and will have more room to roam. Good luck!

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this chart from The Button Box shows my jefferies layout. (I have the c#/c# combo top row index finger)

http://www.buttonbox.com/images/Anglo-FC.jpg (I'd embed the image but it is big and I don't know how to upload)

 

On the right side there are 3 high a's to choose from. I have a 2 pulls and a push.

 

One pull is on the g row, 2nd finger. another on the c row, 4th finger. The push is accidental row waaaaay over on the right. probably never going to use that one. Maybe someday, who knows.

 

Anyway you can see my options. I can either play the g-row pull a, then the push g# top row--the "standard" approach. OR I pull the c-row a with the pinky. or change position to pull it with the ring finger, then on to the g#. OOOOR i reach WAAAY over, sprain my pinky trying to reach the top row push a, then cry and run to the a&e, or emergency room, or mommy. :P

 

seriously though, the c-row a doesn't seem to make it much easier. maybe slightly. i can certainly work with it--work it into practicing the scale.

 

We work with what we have, no?

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