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OK so I’ve only had an English concertina for four weeks and it’s a Jack baritone so there are limitations on what I should expect as playable as it is. Bored with scales and Twinkle Twinkle Little Star I decided to stretch myself a bit but I think I’ve chosen entirely the wrong tune because it’s such a finger twister.

 

Harvest Home has lots of 5th jumps and repeated notes. Being a good lad I took on board the idea that it’s a bad thing to play the same note twice with the same finger but the following all quaver sequence is driving me nuts (forgive the notation I’m struggling to get my head around ABC!) All of the notes are within the stave, I’m not sure when to use capitals to denote various octaves but the d,e and f are all higher than the G) The line of numbers underneath indicates the fingering: 1 = index 2 = middle, sorry the rows don't quite line up, I've tried everything and I can't make it work out exactly. The e is on the right hand of course, everything else on the left.

 

dG GG eG GG | fG eG dG GG | dG eG fG eG |

12 12 11 21 | 21 12 12 12 | 12 11 21 12

 

Oddly enough the following bar of four sets of triplets is easy-peasy, but not if I end the above sequence with the wrong finger on the G.

 

Does anyone else play Harvest Home on the English? Is it a swine to play or is it just too advanced for a new player to cope with?

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You play:

dG - GG - eG - GG | fG - eG - dG - GG | dG - eG - fG - eG |

-12 - 12 - 11 - 21 | 21 - 12 - 12 - 12 | 12 - 11 - 21 - 12

 

How about this?

dG - GG - eG - GG | fG - eG - dG - GG | dG - eG - fG - eG |

23 - 23 ---23 -- 23 ---32 --23 ---23 ----23 ---23 --22 ---32 ---23

 

Seems like you are doing it correctly though. I would suggest to try to do it slowly and relax the fingers.

Your fingers are stressed, probably. The secret is in relaxation. There is no such thing as finger twisting, only straining. And you'll get it very quickly. As always with tonus, it's easy to acheave compared to the strengh.

However, using my fingering is better, easier to reach for the buttons, since lengh difference between fingers 1 and 2 is greater, than between 2 and 3.

And I would definitely suggest to sit down and forget about pinkey rests.

So you'll have 4 fingers to play and 4 rows of buttons, each for finger (roughly).

I think playing standing is for advanced players, some of them at least.

 

What's so special in playing Irish folk on sophisticated English Concertina?

{Shutting up :D )

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Harvest Home has lots of 5th jumps and repeated notes. Being a good lad I took on board the idea that it’s a bad thing to play the same note twice with the same finger but the following all quaver sequence is driving me nuts (forgive the notation I’m struggling to get my head around ABC!) All of the notes are within the stave, I’m not sure when to use capitals to denote various octaves but the d,e and f are all higher than the G) The line of numbers underneath indicates the fingering: 1 = index 2 = middle, sorry the rows don't quite line up, I've tried everything and I can't make it work out exactly. The e is on the right hand of course, everything else on the left.

 

dG GG eG GG | fG eG dG GG | dG eG fG eG |

12 12 11 21 | 21 12 12 12 | 12 11 21 12

This link may help:

 

http://www.walshaw.plus.com/abc/

 

Regards,

Peter.

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Harvest Home has lots of 5th jumps and repeated notes. Being a good lad I took on board the idea that it’s a bad thing to play the same note twice with the same finger but the following all quaver sequence is driving me nuts....

 

dG GG eG GG | fG eG dG GG | dG eG fG eG |

12 12 11 21 | 21 12 12 12 | 12 11 21 12

The first thing I would note is that Harvest Home is usually played in the key of D, not C. But switching to the "right" key won't solve your problem, since the fingering that gives you trouble will be exactly the same... just in the opposite hand.

 

The way I play the dG combination (eA in the key of D) is with the middle finger on the d and the index finger on the following G. But I can also play it with your fingering without any trouble.

 

Does anyone else play Harvest Home on the English?

All the time. I usually do the repeated GGG as a GAG triplet, but I don't find that that makes a significant difference. I have just played it your way, with hardly a thought. (I'm not a beginner, though.)

 

Is it a swine to play or is it just too advanced for a new player to cope with?

No swine, but not the tune one would normally choose for a beginner at such an early stage. I think some beginners might have little trouble with the "crossing over" of one finger above another on the same row, but others might have to work on developing the necessary flexibility of the hands/fingers.

 

I'll raise another issue, though. I always recommend inserting only the tip of the thumb into the thumb loop. If I jam my entire thumb through the loop down to the base, I find I lose a lot of flexibility, and that dG (or eA) configuration becomes much more difficult.

 

Oddly enough the following bar of four sets of triplets is easy-peasy, but not if I end the above sequence with the wrong finger on the G.

Not odd at all. It is easy.

 

But for that it shouldn't matter which finger ends on the G. Just use the other one on the first d of that next section, but always use the index finger on the second d (after the intervening e), regardless of whether you used the index or middle finger on the first one. Then the rest of that phrase should always come easily.

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Harvest home is tricky, it manages to combine all the awkward things in the same tune .... and I'd recommend learning it in D 'cos that's what everyone else will be playing it in.

 

Jumps of a 5th and repeated notes (try Calliope House!) are all difficult.

I often jump the 5th - using the same finger - it makes my playing more staccato, and I think that's good for adding bounce.

 

In D, the fiddlers will take this tune and run with it - they've got nice easy drops to the open A string for those fifth jumps - a doddle!

 

Oh yes, and we follow it with the Trumpet Hornpipe (Pugwash) which is hated by all the EC players - lots of repeated notes!

 

Chris

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Lots of good points here, thanks for the input. I played it in C because that's the music I have, I've written it out in D now so I'll give it a go in the 'proper' key. Initial attempts to use the middle two fingers went quite well; as a finger-style guitarist I'm blessed with fingers that think for themselves but they still trip over each other in the more difficult passages on a strange instrument.

 

I have the thumb straps fairly loose but the tips of my thumbs barely show beyond the straps. I sit while playing, with the concertina resting on my right leg - I'm left handed so it feels more natural that way. My inclination now is to leave Harvest Home alone for a while after learning to play it at a pedestrian tempo and return to it at a later date, I need to find tunes and exercises that educate my fingers and sight reading reflexes rather than challenge manual dexterity and the finer points of fingering to such a degree at this stage.

 

I'll be keeping and eye out for the music for Calliope House (which I've never heard of), ready for the next time I need a ridiculous challenge! B) My other half plays flute (very well) and recorder (almost as well), it was her playing of Harvest Home/the Trumpet Hornpipe/Portsmouth as a set that started all of this. :unsure:

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I'll be keeping and eye out for the music for Calliope House (which I've never heard of), ready for the next time I need a ridiculous challenge! B) My other half plays flute (very well) and recorder (almost as well), it was her playing of Harvest Home/the Trumpet Hornpipe/Portsmouth as a set that started all of this. :unsure:

 

 

At least flute and recorder players can do all those repeated notes !

Calliope house is a great tune for anything other than EC players - it's in the Concertina net tune database

 

...but the chords make the midi version sound like elephants dancing ... it's lively and usually played VERY fast (and apparently was written in E originally - but sessions will usually move it to D)

 

Chris

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Calliope house is a great tune for anything other than EC players - it's in the Concertina net tune database

 

...but the chords make the midi version sound like elephants dancing ... it's lively and usually played VERY fast (and apparently was written in E originally - but sessions will usually move it to D)

 

Chris

 

Calliope House (the building) is here in Pittsburgh, and the tune was written years ago when the Battlefield Band came through on tour. I learned it in E passably well a few years back, but didn't have much occasion to play it. Recently in a session someone did a tune that sounded oddly familiar. I was able to pick it up and join in. Turns out it was C-house in D. When the Battlefield Band came through last December, someone who strikes me as being in a position to know says the tune was actually in Eb to start with! (Bb pipes in Scottish music and all that). Guess I need to learn it in Eb now! (all this is on anglo, and I find it an enjoyable challenge). If I've heard all this correctly, do you suppose fiddlers moved the Eb to E? It is in the Portland Collection, a widely (over)used printed source in the U.S., in E.

 

Doing it in all three keys would make a fun set; I'll have to work on it. In what order, I wonder? :ph34r:

 

Ken

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snip...

My other half plays flute (very well) and recorder (almost as well), it was her playing of Harvest Home/the Trumpet Hornpipe/Portsmouth as a set that started all of this. :unsure:

 

We often do Boys of Bluehill with Harvest Home and Trumpet Hornpipe.

 

At least flute and recorder players can do all those repeated notes !

 

Yes. Good practice for triple tonging ;) And Boys of Bluehill is great on the recorder, just runs nicely under the fingers :)

 

On the original subject, I can't comment on EC technique as I play Anglo, but on more general note, it is often possible to simplify a tune for learning, then add in the rest later once you have the basic tune under your fingers.

 

In Harvest Home, a lot of those repeated A's (playing in D) can be thought of as a drone accompaniment and most of them can be left out while still leaving the tune recognisable. If you do that while you get the basic tune comfortably under your fingers you can then start adding them in later. Play a bit staccato and leave a space where the A's should be.

 

The advice to play it slowly while you are learning and not to rush is sound for any instrument.

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We often do Boys of Bluehill with Harvest Home and Trumpet Hornpipe.

 

Hadn't heard of Boys of Bluehill so I wen't searching and I found the dots for a set of tunes on the net: Boys of Bluehill/Cork Hornpipe (Harvest Home)/Cronin's Hornpipe (hadn't heard of the latter either). I passed it across to Sally who took to it like a duck to water. I can't practice on the concertina for all of this bloody recorder playing! :angry:

 

On the original subject, I can't comment on EC technique as I play Anglo, but on more general note, it is often possible to simplify a tune for learning, then add in the rest later once you have the basic tune under your fingers.

 

In Harvest Home, a lot of those repeated A's (playing in D) can be thought of as a drone accompaniment and most of them can be left out while still leaving the tune recognisable. If you do that while you get the basic tune comfortably under your fingers you can then start adding them in later. Play a bit staccato and leave a space where the A's should be.

 

The advice to play it slowly while you are learning and not to rush is sound for any instrument.

 

I'm giving Harvest Home a bit of a rest at the moment as I said; I'll go back to it at a later stage when the sight reading hand/eye co-ordination is better and and I can concentrate on fingering exercises to overcome problems peculiar to the instrument. I'm currently progressing quite well with The Rakes of Marlow, a much more straightforward piece.

 

Thanks once again for all of the feedback, it really is much appreciated. :)

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I played Harvest Home at a session last Saturday-- I usually play it on fiddle, but had my concertina this time. I was able to use my bad fingering practice alright on the repeated notes, but I'm not sure what to do in the B music. On the fiddle there is a bow flick which produces a rapidly repeated note; on the concertina I was using a bellows shake. It sort of works, but I suspect a different ornament would be better. Any suggestions?

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Hadn't heard of Boys of Bluehill so I wen't searching and I found the dots for a set of tunes on the net: Boys of Bluehill/Cork Hornpipe (Harvest Home)/Cronin's Hornpipe (hadn't heard of the latter either).

 

 

The standard set we have is ....

Boys of Bluehill (aka Lads of North Tyne), Harvest Home, Trumpet Hornpipe (which we try to avoid)

 

I know Cronin's (nice tune) so it's good to have another options to slot into that group. (ps no particular problems for EC on that one)

 

Chris

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I played Harvest Home at a session last Saturday-- I usually play it on fiddle, but had my concertina this time. I was able to use my bad fingering practice alright on the repeated notes, but I'm not sure what to do in the B music. On the fiddle there is a bow flick which produces a rapidly repeated note; on the concertina I was using a bellows shake. It sort of works, but I suspect a different ornament would be better. Any suggestions?

As noted in my earlier post in this thread:

I usually do the repeated GGG as a GAG triplet....

That's AAA as ABA in the key of D.

 

Hmm. I just realized that that isn't really clear. Specifically, the basic tune is

(eA)(AA) (f#A)(AA) | (gA)(f#A) (eA)(AA) | ...

where the parens are my own notation to indicate equal-length beats. But the paired A's are often played as triplets, separated by bow reversals on a fiddle or triple-tongueing on wind instruments.

(eA)(AAA) (f#A)(AAA) | (gA)(f#A) (eA)(AAA) | ...

It's those triplet A's that I usually convert to ABA triplets on the concertina. One could also try playing the triplet A's straight, using either finger alternations (a la Simon Thoumire) or bellows reversals (what Larry says he tried?).

 

There are many other ways to ornament them, though. E.g., instead of A-B-A one could play A-G#-A. Or a slower ornament using the G# (or B ):

(eA)(G#A) (f#A)(G#A) | (gA)(f#A) (eA)(G#A) | ...

On the whistle usually do the "basic" three A's as a roll, and I might occasionally do that on concertina, as well. I.e.,

A(B )A(G)A

where in this case the parens indicate short-as-possible grace notes separating the full-sounding A's. One could even play

(eA)(eA) (f#A)(f#A) | (gA)(f#A) (eA)(eA) | ...

That's not the way other people do it, but it harmonizes nicely. And the fact that different instruments elaborate those bits in different ways means that the differences should be perceived as amelodic "ornamentation", rather than dissonance.

 

You could try as many of the above as you wish, add some others if you like, then choose one or more to play regularly.

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Funny that the idea of a set of Calliope House in multiple keys should just come up.

My fiddler companion and I were talking about the tune before I read this topic, and he mentioned doing just that for a dance he played.

He started in Bb, went to C, then D, and ended in E. The band played the tune twice through in each key

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You could try as many of the above as you wish, add some others if you like, then choose one or more to play regularly.

 

Thanks-- I'll give them a try. I sort of thought that the bellows shake (rapid reversal) didn't sound like I wanted it to.

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You could try as many of the above as you wish, add some others if you like, then choose one or more to play regularly.
Thanks-- I'll give them a try. I sort of thought that the bellows shake (rapid reversal) didn't sound like I wanted it to.

As an aside, I'll mention (again?) that accordion players I know have told me that the term "bellows shake" as used in piano-accordion circles refers to a sort of tremolo effect caused by rapidly vibrating the bellows while continuing an overall motion in a single direction. I.e., the reeds in only one bellows direction continue to sound during a bellows shake; the two sets of reeds don't alternate.

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"However, using my fingering is better, easier to reach for the buttons, since lengh difference between fingers 1 and 2 is greater, than between 2 and 3.

And I would definitely suggest to sit down and forget about pinkey rests.

So you'll have 4 fingers to play and 4 rows of buttons, each for finger (roughly).

 

What's so special in playing Irish folk on sophisticated English Concertina?"

 

 

 

I want to start with Irish Folk on EC from scratch. Should i learn to play with 2, 3 or 4 fingers? could you do me any further suggestions, experiences or remarks on this subject?

thanks in advance

 

(sorry, i need to learn the 'quote' mechanism)

 

Dirk De Bleser, Belgium

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