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Jeffries Duet Fingering Technique


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I have owned a Jeffries Duet since the early 80s, but have only recently (i.e in the last year or so) begun to really try learning to play it (my main squeeze was a Piano Accordion, playing for Morris, but I have ceased Morris for the time being, and am now taking the opportunity to learn the Jeffries).

Anyway, I can knock out quite a few tunes in G and am trying to move onto D in order to explore the instrument more.

I have begun attending Chris Timson's sessions in Bradford-on-Avon to encourage me to move away from my 'comfort zone' of playing Morris tunes in G!

However, I am aware that by teaching myself, it is possible (and in fact, most probable) that I shall begin to develop incorrect techniques and bad habits, in particular regarding fingering.

I have seen the fingering charts on the web, but they don't actually suggest correct fingering, which is what I am after learning...though one may say there is no such thing as correct Duet fingering.

It is apparent that you cannot stipulate certain fingers for specific notes, as much depends on the following note patterns.

Sorry to ramble on so, but basically, I'd appreciate any advice on correct (or how to avoid incorrect) fingering for the Jeffries Duet.

 

Thanks,

 

Paul

Edited by wolosp
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...basically, I'd appreciate any advice on correct (or how to avoid incorrect) fingering for the Jeffries Duet.

If it's uncomfortable, then quite likely it's incorrect. Extending that, if a particular fingering sequence leads to an uncomfortable situation, then you should try making changes to the sequence.

 

Then there's my standard advice: Éxperiment. If you find something that works, remember it and use it again. If you find something that doesn't work, remember it and avoid repeating it.

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My experience with the Jeffries suggests that it's very tempting not to use the little finger on the right hand, yet it actually makes life an awful lot easier up the higher end of the keyboard when you coax it into action, especially in flat keys like Bb and Eb.

 

I tend to play quite a few scale passages, or part-scales, that will allow it - especially C and A majors - with just two fingers alternating, as that helps in avoiding getting tied up in the inevitable knots that the keyboard layout can cause :D

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Thanks to everyone who has replied to my post.

 

Jim: Good, sound advice. So, at least I won't be doing anything wrong by teaching myself, because there is no 'correct way! <_<

 

Stuart's comment about the little finger strikes a note of truth - I have on occasions used it, but I find it's accuracy a little 'unreliable' :rolleyes: but I'm sure it'll improve with practice.

 

Wes: Thanks for the link to the tutor. I was aware of that site and it was that document that made me wonder whether there was a recommended fingering pattern.

 

Thanks again,

 

Paul

Edited by wolosp
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One other thought Paul, you say that you're thinking of starting to expand your horizons by heading into D; I know it's a good key for session playing, but I think it's one of the keys that sits less well on the instrument. I much prefer either going sharper than D (A and E are both nice to play in) or F/Bb/Eb.

 

Oddly enough, I think that the more sharps or flats in the key signature, the less likely your fingers are to trip over themselves on the Jeffries - certainly in A, for example, for me there are fewer nasty "cornering manoeuvres" required than in D. Obviously much is going to depend on any individual player's hand shape/size, so others will probably have other observations or preferences.

Edited by stuart estell
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One other thought Paul, you say that you're thinking of starting to expand your horizons by heading into D; I know it's a good key for session playing, but I think it's one of the keys that sits less well on the instrument. I much prefer either going sharper than D (A and E are both nice to play in) or F/Bb/Eb.

That of course depends on the "central" key of the instrument. We seem to be assuming that it's C -- which I admit is likely, -- but I don't think Paul said. If the central key is G (possible) or Bb (not uncommon), that would make a lot of difference for other individual keys.

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That of course depends on the "central" key of the instrument. We seem to be assuming that it's C -- which I admit is likely, -- but I don't think Paul said. If the central key is G (possible) or Bb (not uncommon), that would make a lot of difference for other individual keys.
Forgive my ignorance Jim, but how do I determine which is the central key of the instrument?

I can understand an Anglo being constructed 'in a key', but I had been under the impression that it was fully chromatic, and could play in any key.

 

..Just checked and my instrument is apparently in C as in this chart http://www.concertina.info/tina.faq/images/finger2.htm

 

Rgds,

Paul

Edited by wolosp
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It's the scale produced by the alternating buttons in the middle two rows of the instrument (as long as you omit the 7th!) that determines the home key of the instrument; it's down to the Jeffries layout being a relative of the anglo.

 

The home key of a Jeffries Duet is more of a geographical marker than any indication of its chromatic capabilities or otherwise... and to be honest it's the only help the keyboard layout gives you :D

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It's the scale produced by the alternating buttons in the middle two rows of the instrument (as long as you omit the 7th!) that determines the home key of the instrument; it's down to the Jeffries layout being a relative of the anglo.

 

The home key of a Jeffries Duet is more of a geographical marker than any indication of its chromatic capabilities or otherwise... and to be honest it's the only help the keyboard layout gives you :D

Thanks Stuart.

 

Great source of info, this forum, ain't it :)

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  • 5 months later...
It's been good to re-discover this posting after a few months of owning my Jeffries Duet. Comforting to know that I have been following the well-trodden path, albeit slowly! :)

 

Regards,

Peter.

 

Looks like this Jeffries Duet layout makes very little sence. Hardly 2 octaves on the right, one octave on the left, haphazard design of the keyboard. Is it actually convinient to play, campeared to, say, Crane? I found Crane to be an ingenious system.

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Looks like this Jeffries Duet layout makes very little sence. Hardly 2 octaves on the right, one octave on the left, haphazard design of the keyboard. Is it actually convinient to play, campeared to, say, Crane? I found Crane to be an ingenious system.

I had a Crane system for a while (1990/1), found it very logical, but decided that it was not for me, as I was already struggling to play the Maccann system (still am!). Maybe I prefer the challenge of the more perverse keyboard layouts, having started on Anglo. :unsure:

 

Regards,

Peter.

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had a Crane system for a while (1990/1), found it very logical, but decided that it was not for me, as I was already struggling to play the Maccann system (still am!). Maybe I prefer the challenge of the more perverse keyboard layouts, having started on Anglo. :unsure:

 

Regards,

Peter.

 

Peter,

 

Have you tried a Hayden duet? I tried a MacCann system for a year and it was always a struggle for me, but I found the Hayden straightforward by comparison. I think I could have made a go of the Crane system if I had found it first.

 

Regards

 

John

Edited by John Wild
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I had a Crane system for a while (1990/1), found it very logical, but decided that it was not for me, as I was already struggling to play the Maccann system (still am!). Maybe I prefer the challenge of the more perverse keyboard layouts, having started on Anglo. :unsure:

 

Regards,

Peter.

 

Peter,

 

Have you tried a Hayden duet? I tried a MacCann system for a year and it was always a struggle for me, but I found the Hayden straightforward by comparison. I think I could have made a go of the Crane system if I had found it first.

 

Regards

 

John

Hi John,

 

I've "tinkered" with a Hayden a couple of times at weekend events. I found it too logical, and the fingers didn't need to move far enough for my liking. I know that Brian designed his system to use a similar fingering for several keys, but I much prefer to move around the instrument (if this makes sense).

 

Regards,

Peter.

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It's been good to re-discover this posting after a few months of owning my Jeffries Duet. Comforting to know that I have been following the well-trodden path, albeit slowly! :)

 

Regards,

Peter.

 

Looks like this Jeffries Duet layout makes very little sence. Hardly 2 octaves on the right, one octave on the left, haphazard design of the keyboard. Is it actually convinient to play, campeared to, say, Crane? I found Crane to be an ingenious system.

 

The Jeffries layout is odd, yes, there's no denying that, although there are larger instruments around than the smaller 50-ish key ones. Mine's got 1 1/2 octaves on the left hand and 2 1/2 on the right, with a fifth overlap between the hands. It's a thoroughly idiosyncratic beast, sure - which, admittedly, is part of the reason I love it - but capable of just as much as any of the other systems, I'd say. If you want proof, just listen to Michael Hebbert play the Dam Busters March on it - astonishing.

 

Speaking personally, I much prefer the slightly less rational keyboards of the Jeffries and Maccann systems to the more regular Crane and Hayden. They make much more sense to me from a musical point of view. If I wanted logic I'd be a mathematician instead of a musician :lol:

Edited by stuart estell
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It's been good to re-discover this posting after a few months of owning my Jeffries Duet. Comforting to know that I have been following the well-trodden path, albeit slowly! :)

 

Regards,

Peter.

In between practicing on my Victorian Jeffries Anglo for an event this Saturday (where I'm a Victorian Street Musician), I've been playing around on the Jeffries Duet.

 

Interesting discovery (which everyone else will probably say is obvious!):

 

If, on the right hand side you play:

 

F (3rd octave)

A (4th octave)

B' (4th octave)

D (4th octave)

 

you can get a very nice chord on the left hand diagonals:

 

F-C-G#

 

A-E-C#

 

B'-G-E'

 

D-B'-F

 

Previously, I had only considered chords along the keyboard, using one or two rows.

 

Regards,

Peter.

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