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Playing "a" Tunes - Fingering Suggestions For Anglo C/g?

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Dear all,

I was wondering if anyone has standard fingering suggestions for smoothly incorporating the G# when playing A tunes on an Anglo C/G. Given that it may vary because of the notes in a particular tune, I wonder if anyone has a standard pattern that works most of the time.

 

For example, when hitting the mid-range G# on the outside row, first button, and moving to or from that G# to an A, do you shift to play the A on the outside row as well (second button), or do you generally stick to the middle row A and go to catch the G# with your middle finger (which of course complicates getting to E button after that). I seem to have more problem getting to this G# than I do the high one, which I generally get with my ring finger, which is not typically being used.

 

Thanks for sharing your ideas,

Claire

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Well...it depends. Rather than laying down a rule, it's probably better to make that kind of fingering decision on a phrase-by-phrase basis.

 

For example, if you're playing the common sequence F#-G#-A, you're stuck (on a 30-button instrument) with a bellows reversal between F# and G# whether you want one or not. So the question becomes: do you want another one to follow it? If you do, then play the pull A on the middle row; if not, play the push A on the accidental row.

 

It's a matter of style more than technique: either choice will give the phrase a distinctive rhythm that's slightly different from the other. When I'm working out a tune I always try as many possibilities as I can think of. Often I'll make a point of learning more than one way of phrasing the passage, just for variety. And often I'll discard a fingering I've been using for years in favor of one that's smoother (or less smooth, if that's what the tune needs).

 

Adopting a single standard fingering simplifies matters, and in the early going (if that's where you are) you may want to do just that. But keeping all your fingering options open encourages you to think creatively about how you want to phrase the particular tune, and makes your playing more supple and interesting.

 

Bob Michel

Near Philly

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Thanks Bob,

That is basically what I have been doing, so that is helpful confirmation. Although I have been playing for a while, I would say my playing in the key of A is just starting to to enter the fluid stage. In other keys, I found it helpful to generally stick to a cross the rows pattern in the early stages. As my comfort level grew, I was able to vary from that and play more than one pattern within the tune and now I definitely follow your type of route when choosing a pattern for a tune in D or G or a minor tune. I am interested if anyone has a basic pattern in A - maybe not - it is tricky around that G#.

Best,

Claire

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Although I have been playing for a while, I would say my playing in the key of A is just starting to to enter the fluid stage.

I know that feeling very well. 'A' is tricky, largely because you have to play so much on the push. It requires you to rethink your air management strategy.

 

As for fluidity, each key on the Anglo has its own flow (or lack thereof!). This assymetry drove me nuts when I was first learning to play, but I've come to accept it as one of the instrument's signature charms. I don't know whether you play Irish tunes, but if you know the Foxhunter's Reel, try playing it both in G (the usual key) and in A (which fiddlers sometimes like). It's a good way to get a sense of what you can and can't do to coax fluidity out of a tune in A.

 

Bob Michel

Near Philly

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I found it helped to learn the A scale on the pull and on the push
Admittedly as highlighted above, the F# G# A direction change is the pain in A

But once learned, you will find some bits of a tune will fit the pull scale and some the push scale - that's the bit to practise slowly

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