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Aldon Sanders

'Standard' fingerings for Ab, Db, Gb scales on EC?

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Hello everyone,

 

I've been playing my EC off of standard SATB piano arrangements of hymns and have labored over the finger twisting arrangements -- all pure enjoyment for me, mind you. I mainly play the soprano and alto parts together, but add the tenor parts or try to include other moving voices when the chance comes up.

 

So far, the keys of Ab & Db have been the most difficult because of the irregularities in the standard left/right scale patterns and the multiple choices (enharmonics) available for several notes. Though I haven't encountered the key of Gb/F# yet, I'd like to include it in my question:

 

Are there 'standard' fingering patterns on EC for the scales Ab, Db & Gb that would be helpful to practice?

 

Thank you!

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I don't have an answer (as I'm not used to playing scales in these keys), but would generally deem using the respective accidenals (flats or sharps on the side of the respective natural note) preferable, in accordance to ease (or at least not confuse) oneself's understanding of what is going on musically, and to be able to alternate between the sides as usual. Of course any deviation would be o.k. for a good reason...

 

Best wishes - 🐺

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The big problem is d flat (aka C#) Everything else flows nicely. My own preference is to play c d flat(C#) e flat all on the same side and then start alternating again. Otherwise you end up doing two pairs on the same side - c d flat (C#) and then over for e flat (d#) and f and then back to alternating. I find a single enharmonic easiest to handle although the fingering is awkward it becomes easier with practice.

 

As well as doing straight scales, once you get up to 4 + accidentals, it's worth doing chromatic scales to get a feel for the notes.

Edited by Pianist

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56 minutes ago, Pianist said:

The big problem is d flat (aka C#) ...

 

Hi Pianist - it's perhaps worth mentioning that in the 19th century the English Concertinas would have been tuned in a mean tone temperament, so Db would not be the same as C#. Likewise Ab and G# would be different. The instrument would be limited to the eight keys between three flats and four sharps - enough for most people and not requiring any awkward fingering.

 

I know this is not the answer you're looking for, but most people without your skill and persistence would simply transpose into C or D!

 

LJ

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21 minutes ago, Little John said:

most people without your skill and persistence would simply transpose into C or D!

 

and playing in the key of C in old pitch would very approximately do the trick anyway 😇

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6 hours ago, Little John said:

 

Hi Pianist - it's perhaps worth mentioning that in the 19th century the English Concertinas would have been tuned in a mean tone temperament, so Db would not be the same as C#. Likewise Ab and G# would be different. The instrument would be limited to the eight keys between three flats and four sharps - enough for most people and not requiring any awkward fingering.

 

I know this is not the answer you're looking for, but most people without your skill and persistence would simply transpose into C or D!

 

LJ

Agreed. Or, if you're playing in F minor e.g. Miss MacDermott  (Carolan) then you could transpose to G minor. (But it sounds so much nicer in F minor!)

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9 minutes ago, Pianist said:

(But it sounds so much nicer in F minor!)

 

again - E minor in old pitch (resp.: in which pitch+key does it in fact sound so much nicer? in which temperament as well)

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On 2/19/2019 at 5:41 PM, Pianist said:

Agreed. Or, if you're playing in F minor e.g. Miss MacDermott  (Carolan) then you could transpose to G minor. (But it sounds so much nicer in F minor!)

Carolan is certainly old enough to have been familiar with temperaments other than ET. He was 15 years older than J.S. Bach. But remember that he was a harper, and as far as I know, sharping levers were not used on harps in his day - and pedal harps certainly weren't. That means that, if he wanted to play in a different key signature, Carolan would have had to sharp or flat the appropriate strings manually. What then followed would have been the "tuning prelude", which some writers of the day describe as the most fascinating part of a harper's performance; he would have run scales, arpeggios and pinched chords up and down the strings, touching up the tuning until everything sounded right - and what sounds "right" on a diatonic instrument like a harp is Just Intonation. I use this tuning method on my old, diatonic autoharp, as did my mother before me - but it's obviously not feasible on a concertina!

Cheers,

John

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