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Playing In The Key Of A


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i use the jeffries layout. on my right-hand side, the top, "accidental" row has a high "a" on the push near the far right end. i use this baby whenever a high "a" occurs as a long "rest" note. it is great for bellows control, and greatly reduces the stress of playing in a-major, where so many notes occur on the pull. i also use it for long high "a" notes in other keys as well. couldn't live without it.

Two other things the push A is good for, in either hand:

  • Phrases where A is played in quick succession with other push notes, notably G#, but also E and C#.
  • Against a "bass" note of low A or E, which on many instruments are found only on the push.

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Noel who? Ah! that Noel! He taught the keys of G and D (both Major for the avoidance of doubt) on the first course of his I attended, in Nova Scotia in October 2005. As for A, or even C (presumably not up and down the C row), I haven't been exposed to those yet. Presumably I'll have to sign up for another course or two. And why not? Not that his methods are "patented" but as an important source of income, as well as artistic integrity, for him, I wouldn't be so liberal with them here.

 

nobody owns ideas. but i respect what he does own, which is the copyright to his scale sheets, sheet music and recordings.

 

besides, a stupid video online could never replace spending a week learning from someone as gifted a teacher and player as noel.

 

which reminds me...

 

chris, did you ever think of making it out to one of noel's camps? you could ask him how to play in A major instead of us!

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the approach of playing anglo concertina melodies "across the rows" has been known, used, and taught by irish players going at least as far back as the generation of paddy murphy of clare, who passed on what he figured out to anyone interested, and who taught and mentored not only noel hill but gearoid o'hallmhorain and many other wonderful concertina players. moreover, the anglo concertina was being played this way in the UK (and probably europe) before it came to ireland, where quite naturally rural folk players accustomed to 20-button instruments used a push-pull approach with the 30-buttons for a while before beginning to play across the rows. (hey, some still use the push-pull approach and sound great.) bandoneons in europe and argentina also evolved for across-the-rows melody patterns.

 

the across-the-rows approach was a natural and organic development, not a secret copyright invented by one person, and it is taught by many players and teachers, including many who did not even get it in the chain from paddy murphy (who would probably have been amazed to think it would be considered anything but public knowledge), from those of his contemporaries who were also starting to do this, or from the young players he taught and mentored. the essential information on how to do this is not owned by anyone. it is out there for one and all, and all are free to teach, talk about, and pass around this information without needing to use or crib from personal teaching materials that may be copyrighted by any one individual.

Edited by ceemonster
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And according to Gearoid, Paddy Murphy developed the fingering by listening to even older recordings of William Mullaly (such as this one) and working out a fingering system to create a Mullaly-like sound.

 

the approach of playing anglo concertina melodies "across the rows" has been known, used, and taught by irish players going at least as far back as the generation of paddy murphy of clare, who passed on what he figured out to anyone interested, and who taught and mentored not only noel hill but gearoid o'hallmhorain and many other wonderful concertina players. moreover, the anglo concertina was being played this way in the UK (and probably europe) before it came to ireland, where quite naturally rural folk players accustomed to 20-button instruments used a push-pull approach with the 30-buttons for a while before beginning to play across the rows. (hey, some still use the push-pull approach and sound great.) bandoneons in europe and argentina also evolved for across-the-rows melody patterns.

 

the across-the-rows approach was a natural and organic development, not a secret copyright invented by one person, and it is taught by many players and teachers, including many who did not even get it in the chain from paddy murphy (who would probably have been amazed to think it would be considered anything but public knowledge), from those of his contemporaries who were also starting to do this, or from the young players he taught and mentored. the essential information on how to do this is not owned by anyone. it is out there for one and all, and all are free to teach, talk about, and pass around this information without needing to use or crib from personal teaching materials that may be copyrighted by any one individual.

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I don't think the scales and fingering system are something that Noel would claim to have any "patent" with and he wouldn't object to people sharing this information. The value in what Noel has to offer, that no one else could duplicate even if they tried, is his philosophy, style and technique. To hear his tune settings and watch the way he applies cuts, rolls, crans etc., is truly unique to his playing and no one else's. Having the opportunity to sit in the same room and watch him apply his knowledge and extraordinary talent to such an enigmatic musical devise, and even answer questions about what he's doing, in itself is well worth the price of tuition.

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nobody owns ideas. but i respect what he does own, which is the copyright to his scale sheets, sheet music and recordings.

 

besides, a stupid video online could never replace spending a week learning from someone as gifted a teacher and player as noel.

 

which reminds me...

 

chris, did you ever think of making it out to one of noel's camps? you could ask him how to play in A major instead of us!

 

you bet, i WILL be attending one of his workshops, although probably not until 2008. i have to spend my time/resources in 2007 in building a cabin on some acerage i bought when acerage was still dirt cheep (i digress).

 

anyway, yea, ive been listening intently to noels recordings and have decided i really, really, like his playing and would like to put time, effort and resources into attending one of his courses. i currently live in california (acerage in wisconsin), there's a workshop in oregon, but am considering making a trip to ireland (never been) for a great concertina adventure. i have a wakker anglo that sounds really nice, but at this point im simply playing "notes." so, id like to learn more keys, besides g and c, and also want to learn the inflections that noels music so pleasant. for example, the apparent bowed triplet (as referred to by fiddle players)...how does noel do that on the concertina??? not sure, but am looking forward to attending the workshops.

 

by the way, i think the video is awesome.... im practicing scales daily.

 

chris

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besides, a stupid video online could never replace spending a week learning from someone as gifted a teacher and player as noel.

 

 

Nobody is suggesting your video is stupid. I thought it was fantastic. Many of us don't have the time/finances available to spend a week learning from a master. I don't have access to anyone else who has played the concertina. To most people, it must belong in that murky category of instruments that they have heard of but don't know what it looks like, only slightly more recognisable than a hurdy gurdy. I thought your video was highly informative and I am extremely grateful for the time you took to make it and post it on-line. In your own way you are passing on your knowledge. I'm sure Paddy Murphy would have done the same if he had had access to youtube!

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besides, a stupid video online could never replace spending a week learning from someone as gifted a teacher and player as noel.

 

 

Nobody is suggesting your video is stupid. I thought it was fantastic. Many of us don't have the time/finances available to spend a week learning from a master. I don't have access to anyone else who has played the concertina. To most people, it must belong in that murky category of instruments that they have heard of but don't know what it looks like, only slightly more recognisable than a hurdy gurdy. I thought your video was highly informative and I am extremely grateful for the time you took to make it and post it on-line. In your own way you are passing on your knowledge. I'm sure Paddy Murphy would have done the same if he had had access to youtube!

 

haha, thank you. i'm glad that my video was in some way helpful.

 

you bet' date=' i WILL be attending one of his workshops, although probably not until 2008. i have to spend my time/resources in 2007 in building a cabin on some acerage i bought when acerage was still dirt cheep (i digress).

 

anyway, yea, ive been listening intently to noels recordings and have decided i really, really, like his playing and would like to put time, effort and resources into attending one of his courses. i currently live in california (acerage in wisconsin), there's a workshop in oregon, but am considering making a trip to ireland (never been) for a great concertina adventure. i have a wakker anglo that sounds really nice, but at this point im simply playing "notes." so, id like to learn more keys, besides g and c, and also want to learn the inflections that noels music so pleasant. for example, the apparent bowed triplet (as referred to by fiddle players)...how does noel do that on the concertina??? not sure, but am looking forward to attending the workshops.

 

by the way, i think the video is awesome.... im practicing scales daily.

 

chris[/quote']

 

good luck with your cabin! let me know when you're in wisconsin sometime, maybe i can make the trip up (i live an hour west of chicago) or you could come down here.

 

we'd be happy to have you in the midwest, but i hear the oregon camp is great and the ireland camp is supposed to be amazing.

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i believe that what you are calling the "apparent bowed triplet" is an apparent bowed quadruplet---same number of sounds as in a "half-roll," but all the same note, rather than throwing a cut in there. we call that the "pb caper" around here. and yes, mr. hill is a master of it. you can learn it from him, and it is also taught in workshops by all kinds of other players. i like this ornament to sound a little less martial than the execution now in style, but.....

 

if you want an "apparent bowed triplet" with just three sounds, then just do a triplet on the same note, playing it only three times. it's not that hard. it is my default triplet on concertina because i love how clean it sounds and i love players who do this---chris droney does it, charles coen does it, john williams does it a lot on his first, self-titled lp. i do mostly this and then sometimes i attempt the pb caper, sometimes a real half-roll with a cut in it, sometimes a full roll using two soft, unobtrusive cuts.....

Edited by ceemonster
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