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When I first tinkered about with my first concertina [ 20 key Anglo German made] I just played it a lot,, and got to know how to make sound with it, and let my fingers and mind go freely over the buttons. Soon, I began to properly learn a bit more music theory [ basic at first] enough to then get going, at a rudimentary level, basic stuff, but enough to enthuse me to become more proficient at the process.

Gradually reading [ with aid of a tablature system of numbers and symbols above the pages] it helped to speed things up greatly.

It helped me also because I always had interest in music, and so I could have in my mind a tune, and follow along with it sometimes on the page as I heard it to a degree. 

The lesson here is perseverance, patience, and to stick with it, and what may seem impossible now, will become feasible soon enough with practice, and by not being disheartened by maybe slower progress than you may have expected. One day soon, for all you know, you could be playing things you may now think are impossible to master. So keep at it; and do not give in.

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1 hour ago, Don Taylor said:

Łukasz:

 

Did you do this on both sides of the concertina?  Maybe both at the same time?

 

On both. First in octaves, to get accustomed with the difference in fingerings of the same chord on LH and RH. Then with different mixes of oom-pahs and arpeggios - simultaneous different articulations of the same chord on LH and RH. Then transitions only on the RH while sticking to oom-pahs on the LH. The goal of all of this was to be able to play easily in "bonefire guitar" style, as back then I focussed mostly on accompaniment for pop/rock tunes. The revelation about how melody emerges from harmony was an unexpected byproduct of those excercises. In the end, on a day with a good "flow" I was able to freely improvise within a chord structure. But that was before my 4 years break. Nowadays, I stick to "as written" pieces mostly, but those old skills help greatly when learning new accompaniments.

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 1/19/2023 at 8:36 PM, wunks said:

 The most useful pattern for me is 1,3 and 5 often parsed with 2 fingers instead of 3.  nearly anything can be built from that.

Hi - Could you elaborate on that?

My over-complicating head says that 1, 3 and 5 could be C, E and G in one C Major but something wildly accidental in another key. 

I am also unsure what you mean by 2 fingers instead of 3 - on an English concertina would you ever play those three notes with 3 fingers?  (In my head C and G are 1 finger and E the other

(I have avoided saying which hands/fingers because I now know that different Cs can be on different fingers 😀)

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On 1/20/2023 at 6:55 AM, David Barnert said:

 

Since I posted the above,  it occurred to me that “Do Re Mi” (which I called “Doe a Deer”) is deliberately and obviously full of the useful patterns I mentioned, because the song is meant to teach children how music is put together. For instance, the notes on the words “Mi, a name” are the same 345 that I pointed out in Dueling Banjos. Learn to play and internalize that song (in as many different keys as you can) and you will have learned many patterns that you can apply when you recognize them in other tunes.

Hi - another key related clarification required

Are you saying that "Doe a deer" and "Dueling Banjos" are both played in C major key but that Duelling Banjo's starts on the Mi?

This is kinda what I was alluding to with me starting in the wrong place - if I started Duelling Banjo on a note I thought was correct lets say I though it started on Re - then before long I would be playing complex accidentals

 

Should I just assume that everything is in C Major and somehow guess the first note and the rest will follow?

 

 

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On 1/20/2023 at 11:41 AM, Kelteglow said:

I was listening to a U Tube video recently about Singing Harmonies .A nice tip I heard was to take tunes that you know and try to play them in several different keys  by (ear) . Many tunes will be possible  .Try in the keys of C,G,D.A and F to start with .This teaches you that once you find the start note where to find  next note  .Once you have done that you can also sing and try to find the chords that go with the song . Again do it in several keys just playing Chords .Hope that helps .  Bob

I think this is the converse of my problem - I frequently start a tune with the wrong note and then get disappointed when it all goes "accidentally wrong".  I can see it is an obvious stepping stone but for my novice hands maybe a bit too soon

 

I won't go on to ask another question about that key transposing - which is does it really change the mood of the music

(I definitely did not ask that question! 😀)

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On 1/20/2023 at 3:25 PM, Łukasz Martynowicz said:


When I started learning Hayden, because of how this layout has music theory embedded very directly in the button grid, I found out that it was way easier for me to get accustomed with common melody phrases by playing chords instead. The method was this - I first practiced simple 2/4 and 3/4 tempo oom-pahs of common three/four chord patterns until I could unconsciously move hands to root positions. Then practiced different arpeggio patterns of those chord progressions, and finally moved to linking those arpeggios or oom-pahs with different transitions. This approach really tought me how melody is constructed from harmony and then I already had many common melody patterns already trained in my muscle memory. A second thing about chords - I only get the flow of the tune right when I finally merge accompaniment sucessfully with the melody line. This is why I usually try to learn both simultaneously. It is hard and awkward at first to control both tasks at the same time, and remember what each hand is supposed to do, but it is even harder for me to add accompaniment to a fully smooth melody later on.

 

And a word about muscles - the single best and eye opening tip I ever got from a seasoned piano player was that music is played with your finger’s extension muscles, not flexion muscles. This is because we don’t really use them in everyday tasks, so they can be trained for speed, timing precision and endurance much better than flexion muscles. So @OP - when you end a session with tired fingers focus on which groups of forearm muscles hurt - if those are outer muscles, then it is normal and you just have to train more. If those are inner muscles, then you need to relax your grip and focus on lifting your fingers in rhytm instead of pressing in rhytm and let the residual tension of the hand press buttons for you.  So, a neutral position when you strap in should be with buttons pressed, not hovering comfortably above. You then „prime” your fingers by lifting them. 

Wow a cornucopia of different observations - and your reward?  More questions 😀

 

Hayden?  Is that a method or a tutor? Sigh - I will google this too but I have other questions I want to ask!

 

One day will I be playing chords on my concertina - and will they be 3 button chords?

(I've tried and I do not seem to be able to use 1 finger to press two keys - let alone 3!  I play an English concertina- maybe chords are easier on an Anglo?)

 

"Accompaniment"?  Are you playing the melody and the chords - ie up to 4 keys at a time?? Wow!

(Actually that is so awesome I think I am slightly deflated I will never get to such dizzy heights)

 

I will try and practise the "extension" trick - but it is my little fingers that hurt because they take much of the wright of my concertina - perhaps this is wrong.  Also, my concertine is a Concertina Connection Jackie and I'm beginning to realise it is rather heavy!

 

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On 1/20/2023 at 10:45 AM, RAc said:

That is where crib sheets come in handy (that is the first two bars of each part of all tunes in the repertoire compressed). Your plight appears to be very common... 

What are "crib sheets" - Sorry this thread is going to be huge!!

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1 hour ago, TinkerPhil said:

Are you saying that "Doe a deer" and "Dueling Banjos" are both played in C major key but that Duelling Banjo's starts on the Mi?

 

No. They can both be played in any key. My guess is that Do a deer is originally in C and Dueling Banjos is in G, but it doesn’t matter. A tune is a tune in any key, and the important thing is the relationship between the notes. But yes, D-a-D starts on 1 (Do) and D-B starts on 3 (Mi). In any key.

 

1 hour ago, TinkerPhil said:

Should I just assume that everything is in C Major and somehow guess the first note and the rest will follow?

 

No guesswork involved. The scale is your friend. Get to know its components intimately and be able to recognize them when you encounter them. In any key, the 1 note (Do) has a satisfying “we’re home” sense to it. the 5 note (Sol) has a little tension. It wants to go home. The 7 note (Ti, or Si) has more tension. It not only wants to go home, but it wants to do so by inching up to the octave. Six (La) has a plaintive feel to it. Regret, awareness of mortality, call it what you will. Once you familiarize yourself with the role each note plays in a major scale, you won’t have to guess which one to start a tune with.

 

1 hour ago, TinkerPhil said:

I won't go on to ask another question about that key transposing - which is does it really change the mood of the music

(I definitely did not ask that question!

 

People who have “Perfect Pitch” (most of us don’t, I don’t) can hear a difference and may say the mood is different, but that kind of thinking was more reasonable historically, in the days before universal equal temperament, where all the semitones have the same width, a 12th of an octave, and all intervals except the octave are slightly out of tune. In the old days (Bach’s time, for instance), keyboard instruments were tuned to any of various systems where certain intervals were perfectly in tune (frequency ratios expressed as ratios of small whole numbers), while other intervals were uncomfortably out-of tune.

 

On such a keyboard, a tune played in one key might have a very different feel if played in another key.

 

1 hour ago, TinkerPhil said:

Hayden?  Is that a method or a tutor?

 

It’s a kind of duet concertina. Unlike the other, historical, systems, Brian Hayden developed this in the 1960s. It also turns out that Kaspar Wicki came up with the same thing a hundred years earlier, but since his patent was in German, Hayden never found it.

 

1 hour ago, TinkerPhil said:

One day will I be playing chords on my concertina - and will they be 3 button chords?

 

I hope not. Except on rare occasions, play as few notes simultaneously as you can get away with. If the melody has the 3rd, leave it out of the chord. Play chord notes sequentially instead of simultaneously. See any of my YouTube videos for examples (I’m playing a Hayden).

 

1 hour ago, TinkerPhil said:

What are "crib sheets"

 

Pages with reminders of the beginnings of tunes. One or two measures each, a dozen or two on a page.

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3 hours ago, TinkerPhil said:

Wow a cornucopia of different observations - and your reward?  More questions 😀

 

Hayden?  Is that a method or a tutor? Sigh - I will google this too but I have other questions I want to ask!

 

One day will I be playing chords on my concertina - and will they be 3 button chords?

(I've tried and I do not seem to be able to use 1 finger to press two keys - let alone 3!  I play an English concertina- maybe chords are easier on an Anglo?)

 

"Accompaniment"?  Are you playing the melody and the chords - ie up to 4 keys at a time?? Wow!

(Actually that is so awesome I think I am slightly deflated I will never get to such dizzy heights)

 

I will try and practise the "extension" trick - but it is my little fingers that hurt because they take much of the wright of my concertina - perhaps this is wrong.  Also, my concertine is a Concertina Connection Jackie and I'm beginning to realise it is rather heavy!

 

 

Like David wrote, Hayden is a type of duet concertina layout, which is very chord and music theory centric. It is way harder to play accompaniment and melody simultaneously on an English. 

 

1 hour ago, David Barnert said:

I hope not. Except on rare occasions, play as few notes simultaneously as you can get away with. If the melody has the 3rd, leave it out of the chord. Play chord notes sequentially instead of simultaneously. See any of my YouTube videos for examples (I’m playing a Hayden).

 

Well, in my case "as few as you can get away with" typically means 2-3 notes at once, but the number of simultaneous notes I play heavily depends on what exactly I play and what I want to achieve. So, if I play a moody tune, like Agnes Obel's Riverside, then verses indeed have alternating single note accompaniment, but the chorus has a 1+2 rhythm on the LH, because 1+1 rhythm is just too thin. If I play a rock cover/accompaniment, then I can go with as many as 6 simultaneous notes to achieve the required punch. Same goes for polyphony pieces - I currently learn a piece which peaks at 5 simultaneous lines, one of which is a high drone. BUT, and it is a big but, I do high number of simultanous notes only on my big box, where those notes are spread over three or four octaves. On a 46b it is indeed hard not to drown RH with the LH, as on many occasions accompaniment will overlap in the same octave as the melody.

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1 hour ago, Łukasz Martynowicz said:

On a 46b it is indeed hard not to drown RH with the LH, as on many occasions accompaniment will overlap in the same octave as the melody.

 

Yes, what I neglected to mention earlier that you, Łukasz, and I know instinctively, is that lower notes means bigger reeds and bigger reeds means louder sound. So if you don’t want your lower accompaniment to drown out your higher melody, you’d best be sparse with what you play down there. Space between the notes, and not too many at once.

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Wow! I have sooo much to learn - it is very daunting - maybe I should limit myself to asking simple questions in the future!

 

I will try to keep as many of these things in my mind as I can - Thank you all!

With regard to my original question, and having started to learn "Morning has broken" (I really am not any good yet!) I can already feel I am "learning" the tunes - my example is that I can still remember much of "Silent night" which I last sight-read a couple of weeks back and others like "Skip to My Lou" which I can "play" quite well without music - though I still stumble on the quaver bit!

 

I can see how "crib sheets" could help too

 

I can see, like everyone said, practice, practice and more practice is the solution!

 

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One way I have found not to 'drownedout' the melody line with too much louder left hand chords, is to fractionally play the main melody line ever so slightly just before you add a chord. It is possible to do this, just before you add accompanying notes. And lifts the melody out to the ears, before powerful chords are added.

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