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Ann Sanders

Irish Trad in D Major

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A question for those who play Irish trad on Anglo- what is to be lost or possibly gained by playing tunes that are strongly in D major mostly on the G row? I am not talking about only on it and ignoring the benefits of crossing when it suits but of, for example in a tune like Tobins or similar, using the A on the inside on route to the high D also on inside and then on to the C#s. I know that this tune and others like it can be played on the C row using the high D and the C# on the right and that it is no harm to be able to do it both ways, and that players like Chris Droney and Frank Edgley mostly play on the G row but am interested to hear if there are reasons why it is better to play one way or another in the case of the key of D. Thank you. 

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Frank will certainly tell you (and show you) that working from the G row can be very successful, and I know he admires Droney's playing greatly (as many of us do).

 

There's more than one way to play in D on C/G anglo. Each method has its strengths and adherents. If only one method were truly successful, the others would be extinct by now after a century and a half, so play on in any system that works. The only experience I have to add is that someone just learning the instrument should choose and learn one fingering system (any system) and stick to it initially. You'll be able to tell when you are ready to experiment with other ways of playing. At that point, having multiple approaches can put more tools in your musical toolbox.

 

Ken

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There are plenty of times where playing on the g row is the place to be in D or A,  but don’t focus on it as the best way, right way.  ITM has a solid rhythmic core.  This is something you create by  choosing what notes you play in the same bellows direction, or choose a note to separate by a change of bellows direction.  Some rhythmic effects require two notes to be in the same direction.  Certain chord combinations are only easily available in one direction.  Lots of d tunes go lower than the compass of the g row, so you need to go to the c and or the outside accidental row anyway.  In the beginning, it helps to establish your primary notes you will use most of the time, whether along the rows or cross row.  I personally think that you want to consider that there are lots of tunes in keys besides g and d,  so thinking of the instrument  as a whole, not revolving around a particular row is a good plan.  Whatever plan you use, keep phrasing as your goal.  Most difficult fingering can be overcome with practice, so that is of less concern to me than phrasing, or dynamic effects.  Good players use all the buttons, making choices to make the music better.

Dana

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This may or may not be a direct answer to your question, but I sometimes I discover as I gain speed in a tune that I need to rethink my fingering.  I may have too many changes in bellows direction that become distracting musically or just plain hard as I increase in speed, for example.  Also, I have begun to play more chords for accent and find I may need to be in a certain bellows direction or on one or another hand to make the tune make sense.  The a and g on the top row are becoming more useful to me after years, and I wished I had familiarized myself with them earlier.   So I definitely move out of the rows more. 

Edited by LateToTheGame

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