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McDouglas

EC chords: finger assignments

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This could be added to the EC accompaniment thread - although my query is a bit more specific. 

 

When playing a three- or four-note chord do you

a. play each note with one finger or

b. play some notes with the joint of a finger (I am able to do this when notes are a fifth apart on one side or the other) and some notes with individual fingers?

 

I imagine the responses will be pragmatic, as in, do whatever works.

Nevertheless, I do wonder if there is an established technique that produces more consistent outcomes.  When using a joint to play two notes with one finger, it sometimes takes my hand out of position in such a way that I have trouble getting back on the right buttons.

Maybe like everything I just have to practice more.

 

Any wisdom to shed on one technique versus another?

 

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first, I wouldn’t regularly play three- or four-note chords so close that this would be an option, and second, if so, I would only use one finger for two or more buttons combined if lead to that somewhat naturally - not as a technique.

 

but there are different opinions on that...

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3 hours ago, Wolf Molkentin said:

I wouldn’t regularly play three- or four-note chords so close that this would be an option,

 

I understand (I think) why you say that - as it seems to me that more open voiced chords sound better on the EC - as well as the general principle that less is more.  However, I've just found  the English Concertina Melodist Books 1 and 2 on this site.  Downloaded them and started looking at these arrangements by Eugene Riviera.  I'm guessing these volumes are from the early 20th century.  Close three and four note chords are everywhere!

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Yes, we have these „chord charts“, and it‘s common to mention the accessibility of the triads as pro of the EC - I have reduced that to the open fifths which are in fact powerful, in my own playing...

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1 hour ago, McDouglas said:

However, I've just found  the English Concertina Melodist Books 1 and 2 on this site.  Downloaded them and started looking at these arrangements by Eugene Riviera.  I'm guessing these volumes are from the early 20th century.  Close three and four note chords are everywhere!

I am not sure when the change over to Equal Temperament tuning for concertinas occurred, but maybe those books were written with a mean tone tuning in mind where closed chords are sweeter.   The EC was not designed by Wheatstone for ET tuning.

 

There have been numerous discussions about mean tone tunings for concertinas on this forum.  I think that the general concensus is that 5th comma mean tone is the best compromise to give you a decent number of keys (not all) and that will not clash with other instruments tuned in ET.  I believe some Anglo players use fourth comma mean tone which would sound really nice but would further restrict the number of useful keys.

 

If you buy an EC from Greg J then he can tune it to fifth comma mean tone for you.

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Don, you’re right about Wheatstone’s design (including several enharmonic doubles), and the ET tuning issue might make room for the heavy use of major thirds in those books in retrospect, but I would still not build harmonies like that, had I my instruments tuned to a mean tone variant I reckon...

 

Best wishes - 🐺

 

 

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46 minutes ago, Geoff Wooff said:

Wolf,  

have you tried  a Meantone tuned EC ?

 

actually no (would love to of course), however my point was, I prefer spread harmony...

 

best wishes - 🐺

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1 hour ago, Wolf Molkentin said:

 

actually no (would love to of course), however my point was, I prefer spread harmony...

 

best wishes - 🐺

The use of  closer harmonies , with an emphasis  on the problem  of harshness of  ET major thirds , especially on metal ended concertinas, was the reason  I  chose  to  re-tune my  EC's to Meantone  30+ years ago.  I love the 1/4 Comma  sound  but chose 1/5th Comma  version  for convenience when  playing  ensemble.

 

I use wider harmonies  as well  but the  sweeter  Maj triads   means   I do  not need to avoid them   and so  my harmonising  has more freedom.

 

Best wishes and a happy  Christmas,

Geoff.

 

PS:  finger assignment ?    Of  course  complex  fingerings  need to be  worked out and memorised  ... planning ahead  etc.,  but  some exersizes  to increase  positioning flexibility  might be helpfull:

 

Playing scales  in octaves or other intervals.

 

Playing scales or tunes  using just one finger of each hand... 

 

And yes, playing two buttons  with one finger... rocking that finger  to   press one button or the other.

 

Some people  like to play with four fingers, allotting  one  row to each  finger  others  like to  use  three fingers  and keep the small finger  for  emergencies  and escape routes. I like to  use the Pinkies  for  low harmonies, tucking them  under  my hands.

Edited by Geoff Wooff

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2 hours ago, Geoff Wooff said:

Some people  like to play with four fingers, allotting  one  row to each  finger  others  like to  use  three fingers  and keep the small finger  for  emergencies  and escape routes. I like to  use the Pinkies  for  low harmonies, tucking them  under  my hands.

 

Yes, as soon as harmonies or counter-melodies are involved, all four fingers will be needed for best results, and in fact the pinkies will rather push „bass“‘ buttons then. The plates are not needed as long as the instrument is put on a knee or thigh.

 

You might try rotating the instrument by 45 (or better 60) degrees (an advantage of the hex tina) which proved to be essential for my own playing...

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