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High D/e On The Left Or Right ?


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Hi, just wondering what people like to do with a high D/E on the anglo concertina for Irish trad. I have been at different classes at festivals and one very well known teacher says only on the left, another equally well known says only on the right (with obvious exceptions for both as long as you're not hopping across rows). Some teachers say go with what feels more comfortable. I mix the two but generally its on the left. I use D on the right quite a bit.

 

Anyone with any opinions ?

 

Thanks !

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I suspect there are as many ways to do this as players, and many ways that succeed. It depends where you prefer to play the scale in each of the common keys, or if you just "find the notes wherever you need to" (in the words of Monsignor Charlie Coen).

 

Ken

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Cross row based fingerings and along the row based fingerings often use the opposite notes for alternates. These are only the basic notes though and as Chris says, phrasing should be the determining factor regardless of initial style. This all depends then on the other notes you are starting with. It is not a question of right or wrong, but of what base fingering you are building off of. It is important to have a consistent set of notes at the beginning, but eventually you can vary everything on the fly depending on what the music calls for. That takes really listening to the music and trying out different choices to see what the difference sounds like.

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Another approach, get a teacher whose playing you like and slavishly copy them and their versions of D/E and equivalent. One day you will start to realise you can see through their playing and that you prefer slight differences, and then bigger differences and you know the reasons why. This is the beginnings of your own style.

 

Or I just could have said, swapping between teachers when new to the instrument is confusing and counterproductive.

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As Chris says, it mostly comes down to phrasing. Example: how would you play a B-c#-d run? If you're using the Wheatstone system (and a 30-button box), you have c# only on the push. So if you want to avoid a bellows reversal--as a fiddler might use a slur, bowing all three notes in the same direction--you're constrained to use the left hand push-d. On the other hand, you might prefer to reverse the bellows in a particular context, just as a fiddler might prefer to reverse the bow. It depends on the sound you're looking for.

 

How you choose to ornament the note is another consideration. I'll typically grace the left hand push-d by very quickly playing two buttons on the right hand (usually e and c) in quick succession to produce a staccato triplet. For the right hand pull-d, I'll usually use the "phantom button" approach, tapping the left side (as opposed to buttons) to get the requisite bounce. The sounds are similar, but not identical. So that's another criterion for choosing one fingering or the other.

 

Finally, it's not an either-or proposition. By all means concentrate on one fingering until it's second nature, but don't hesitate to experiment with the other as well. In the long term, being able to articulate a phrase in two (or more) contrasting ways will add a lot of interest to your playing. And it's more fun.

 

Bob Michel

Near Philly

Edited by Bob Michel
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I don't play Irish, but I do know that if there are two options available, it is foolish to rule out one of them because someone else says so.

 

I play cross rows in the harmonic style and have 3 very different Anglos. Some tunes fit one fingering, some fit another, and it sometimes varies from box to box. The designer of the box put the options there for a reason.

 

Strikes me some teachers are more interested in establishing a mystique than teaching music as a creative art, but that may be harsh.

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