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jggunn

consecutive notes

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Really how important in playing the English to use alternate fingers for consecutive notes? It is difficult for me to discern any difference in the sound, and I do not find it faster. And why not use the bellows for articulation in these cases.

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My model for this is Simon Thoumire. As closely as I can tell, he does his incredible triplets with the same finger. Articulation using bellows is, however, a completely different sound.

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I play Anglo, not English, but the principles are the same for this issue.

 

Using only the bellows for articulation does not produce a crisp start to each note.  If you take your finger off the button and put it back on for the next note, then there is a moment as the bellows pressure builds up slightly before the valve opens and the note starts at exactly the right moment with a crisp attack.

 

If you use bellows movement alone to produce consecutive notes in the same bellows direction it will be slow, clumsy and muddy.  If you do the same with notes in opposite bellows directions it is not quite so bad, but it can still sound breathy.

 

My view is that you should practise the more difficult skill of depressing and releasing the button once for each note.  9times out of 10, this will be the sound you want.  1 time out of 10, you may choose not to use the skill, either because you want the sound, or because that particular run of notes is tricky.  Far better to have the skill and choose not to use it than to be unable to use it because you don't have it.

 

Now, should you change finger for consecutive notes?  There are two situations: consecutive notes on the same button, and consecutive notes on different buttons.

 

In the case of consecutive notes on the same button, I have never used different fingers.  I know some melodeonists use this technique for very fast triplets or grace notes, but they have big fat buttons.  It would be a fine skill to learn on a concertina with skinny buttons, but I have never needed to.

 

In the case of consecutive notes on different buttons, it is a good general rule to use different fingers.  However, there are times when the digital gymnastics required are such a distraction that it is counterproductive.  If you are to use the same finger consecutively on different buttons, it is usually best to choose carefully where to do this.  For example, the last note of one phrase and the first note of the next phrase often provides sufficient punctuation that you can do this and make it sound right.

 

A specialist English player may disagree with some of this.

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I find myself switching fingers on the same note often,  usually to set up the next series of notes so as not to run out of fingers going up or down the scale or for grace notes.  This can create a rapid little stutter that is unique and sometimes pleasing or make the switch before the hole closes if it's not desired.  I'm playing  Jeff duet but some of this may apply to other systems.

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with the English it is not uncommon to play triplets or similar with two fingers alternating on the same button. results would be fast and rhythmic, and the technique is not too difficult either...

 

best wishes - 🐺

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6 hours ago, wunks said:

I find myself switching fingers on the same note often,  usually to set up the next series of notes so as not to run out of fingers going up or down the scale or for grace notes.  This can create a rapid little stutter that is unique and sometimes pleasing or make the switch before the hole closes if it's not desired.  I'm playing  Jeff duet but some of this may apply to other systems.

Ah yes, I forgot that aspect of it when I was writing my longer comment above.  Certainly on Anglo, and I guess on English, there are many times when you can use two consecutive notes on the same button as an opportunity to swap fingers to help you move your hand position one button further up or down.  On an Anglo, it is often (but not always) two different notes on the same button as you play part of a scale.

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1 hour ago, Mikefule said:

Certainly on Anglo, and I guess on English, there are many times when you can use two consecutive notes on the same button as an opportunity to swap fingers to help you move your hand position one button further up or down.

 

I can confirm that for the English - however it would rather be to free a finger which will be needed somewhere else - and I‘m doing it unnoticeably (I hope)...

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