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English Concertina - When Should You Change From Three Fingers To Four


Daddy Long Les
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I've always played with my little fingers on the rests and used my 1st fingers to deal with the top two rows. I'm sure this has been asked many times before but at what time should you (if ever) change to using all four fingers and ignore the finger rests? I guess it's more logical to have one finger per row and I've heard that advanced players do this. So far I've managed fine but I'd be grateful for any advice.

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There's no "should." I'm playing single-line melody music, not chordal, so this goes for that universe-- I use the index and middle a large majority of the time, and incorporate the ring only on an "as-needed" basis, which does occur. Little-finger use would be rare indeed, and I more or less never have all four fingers on the buttons, with no finger on the concertina surface. My small fingers do not place comfortably on the rests, but I am "resting" them, just outside/below the rests.

Edited by ceemonster
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If you are starting to play the English it might be an idea to commence with a four finger system and some people will advocate such an approach, though looking through old tutor books, and the further you go back in time, using less number of fingers was recommended.

 

I, like Ceemonster, started playing single line melody music and used the three fingers . This can require a hand shift to play the three upper rows but I prefer to dodge about with fingers and recommend trying to play single line melodies using just one finger on each hand... the idea being to get to know where the buttons are and to be able to get a finger to a button no matter how out of line it might appear to be.

 

As the years have past I find myself wanting to play more chordal music or single line melody with accompaniment and have managed most of what I want to do using the three stronger digits but I notice that my little fingers are getting used so I have started to practice with them to use them more.

 

It is handy to take some notes on the bottom ( or outside) row with the pinkie and rotating it underneath the others to finish off chords at the lowest notes.

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Here is an example of a note sequence that could be played in various ways:

 

Index is finger 1 ,pinkie is 4.

 

all on the left side E, G#,C#,E,Bb,B . This could be most flowingly played 3,1,2,3,4,3 ; But I have always used 2,1,1,2,3,2 and now I compromise with 3,1,1,3,4,3.

 

The movement on decending buttons in a line by either rocking the finger backwards or sliding it back is, I find , usefull . I also do a lot of 5th chords by covering two buttons with one finger rocking forward or back to add the extra note.

 

( the phrase of notes above are from Minuet No 1. Bach, suite for Cello in G maj.)

Edited by Geoff Wooff
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