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B to C#

Ann Sanders

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To those who play Irish trad on the anglo, can I ask how many will go from the B on the right middle to C# on the incidental row as opposed to always going from the B on the G row ? Providing of course you are using a Jeffries layout and can get the C# on the second button.TIA

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The layout on my Jeffries is a bit idiosyncratic, but it affords essentially the same options, and I think I use the two fingerings more or less interchangeably. It depends on the phrase. Typically I’ll experiment with both when learning a tune, and as often as not I’ll end up incorporating both variations into the arrangement I eventually come up with.


I’ll confess, though, that when I was first learning to play Anglo (on a 40-button Wheatstone layout that included a draw C#) I leaned far too heavily on the draw B in the right hand middle row; it took me an embarrassingly long time (and an extended stint on a 30-button Wheatstone-style instrument) to awaken to the possibilities of the push B on the left. Now they feel equally natural, and I can grab the one that better suits the musical context without having to think about it.


Bob Michel

Near Philly

Edited by Bob Michel
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4 hours ago, ellen33 said:

In the first part of Apples in winter (jig) I use the high B to C# on the right hand side. Hard to find examples, because I don’t use it as often as the other way. 

Thank you ellen33. I must have a look at it. I think I always try to work the inside row to avoid the move even if that includes using all of it from F# up but I thought I was possibly torturing myself. And maybe I am!! 

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I don't play Irish all that much, but I do strongly believe that there is no single right way of playing the Anglo that works for every situation.


I try as far as possible not to use one finger consecutively on two buttons on the melody side, but sometimes it turns out to be the best way, not only for convenience, but also for timing and emphasis.  I would not reject on theoretical grounds something that worked in practice.


Playing a left hand accompaniment, my left little finger has sole control of 4 buttons, and is first or second choice for a total of 6 buttons.  So while I'm agonising over the niceties of  "correct" fingering for the right hand, my left little finger (my weakest and least mobile as I'm right handed) is wandering all over the place,, sometimes playing 3 or 4 different buttons consecutively.


The sole arbiter of what is "right" should be whether it sounds good at the speed you want to play it: smooth if you want smooth, staccato if you want staccato.


People who try too hard to convince you that there is only one right way may want to sell you their "method".


This is traditional folk music on an instrument designed for the Victorian working class musician with little or no formal musical knowledge.  I suggest you try as many approaches as possible, revisit tunes you've played for ages, and experiment.  You may find 2 or 3 solutions to a fingering problem in one tune, and find several other tunes where you can use each of those solutions.



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