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StephenTx

English reference buttons /motes

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Is anyone have any suggestions? When I'm playing piece of music and I sometime move off the wrong buttons notes on the English concertina I have a difficult time getting my fingers back to keys and lose my orientation on the buttons.  Do any of you have hints tricks methods suggestions as how to do this without having to look at the buttons.  It's almost like I wish some home keys hederacea spot on them or something. Any suggestions will be greatly appreciated. Thank you Stephentx

 

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Firstly, getting a row out is not an uncommon problem on English - I've seen good players do it occasionally under performance nerves, and even experts like Alistair Anderson often start off by twiddling arpeggios  to make sure their fingers are right.

 

My main suggestion is rather than strategies for getting back when lost, is to try strategies for getting lost less often. As years have passed, I've moved to having my thumbstraps tighter - I know others may disagree, but it works for me to avoid this kind of problem. I put my thumbs through the tighter loops so that they stick when the first joint is just entering the strap. That gives me a first fixed reference point. I then start off with my pinky slid forward in the rest to the curved end. That gives me my second fixed reference.

 

On the right hand, my first finger then sits neatly on A, and on the left side, on G. My second fingers fall on F on the right (and third finger on F#), and second finger on E on the left. I keep this muscle memory active by when I pick up the concertina, to play a couple of arpeggios without looking to check. If they don't work, I put it down again, pick it up, and try again until I get it right.

 

When playing, I tend to let my right pinky slide back towards the midpoint of the rest for easier access to the lower notes, which also seems to match the natural balance point of the tina.

 

Regards,

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Also, try to develop your ear to be able to hear what the wrong note is in relation to where you want to be. This does not require perfect pitch (which I do not have): you don’t have to be able to identify a note out of context. But if you suddenly find yourself playing in the wrong key, you should be able to discern whether you’re off by a 4th or a 5th and that will tell you which way to adjust.

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I find this often happens when trying out an unfamiliar instrument. The comment about playing a few arpeggios or whatever to make sure you are in the right place is a good idea, but if in a performance you can't do that, a visual check also helps. 

 

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