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Which Row(s) To Use?


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Quoted from Topic "Irish Music" in the Tunes/Songs subForum:

The Kesh is not too hard either though i find it helps if you play at least part of the B part on the G row (On the c row most of the notes are on the pull and I usually run out of air).

Bill, it sounds like you're using the C row as the main row for a G tune. Sounds odd to me. Is it a particular tradition?


Of course, many common practices seem odd to me, like avoiding cross-row playing on an instrument with more than one row, or even trying to avoid using more than one key-direction for the same note in the same tune. Regarding that latter, I may do a repeated sequence once on the push and again on the pull -- if that's possible -- to end up bellows-neutral, or change direction on a repeated note to emphasize the repetition that establishes the beat.


Now I'm getting some books, to learn what other people do... and maybe why.

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Well I can't really comment on what is considerened normal. Not many concertina players in the Baltimore/DC area (or maybe just not in the sessions I go to) so what I do know is mostly self taught. Since I am more proficient on the B/C accordion I basically am trying to learn the tunes I learned on it on the Concertina... and I tend to try to play them close to how I would on the B/C box.. which means the C row is sort of home row and my first instinct is to leave it only for the C# and F#... I am getting better on leaving it to smooth out some ornaments (like a BC#D triplet that I would play on the draw on the B/C accordion but I have to play push on the concertina (Wheastone layout) if I want to play it smooth and quickly.


Of course mind you I could be going hideously wrong in how I am approaching these tunes which is why I recently got the Mad for Trad tutor... Hopefully it will keep me from developing too many bad habits.




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Bill, let me suggest a couple of things for you to experiment with. If you do, you can decide for yourself whether they suit you or your playing.


..1) First, try playing Kesh jig centered on the G row. It'll be very different from centering on the C row, so it might be helpful to treat it as if it were a completely new tune.

..2) The A part (at least as I know it) ends with a-G-F# leading into a G. Try doing the a-G-F# all on the pull, but the final G on the push. I find that easier if I use the a in the C row, even though for most of my a's I use the G row. For that 3-note run I use the fingers index, middle, and little, on rows C, accidental, and G.

..3) The final G in 2) could be done in either the C or G row, or even both, but if you use the index finger on the G in the C row, you could use your ring finger on the octave-lower G at the same time. (In the B part, you could put 2 left-hand G's under the final right-hand G, for a really solid finish.)

..4) When you get to the e-d-d g-d-d sequence in the A part, try the e-d-d all on the pull (I use two fingers -- middle followed by index -- on that repeat d) and the g-d-d on the push (with the right index finger on the d, it's easiest to use the g in the C row, with either the middle or ring finger).


So, having suggested in 1) that you try centering on the G row -- which at least some folks would consider the natural thing to do for a tune in G, -- I immediately suggest some cross-row departures. Intellectually, these may seem more complex, but I find that if I don't try to think about matching notes to buttons, they are more comfortable. I.e., they don't make learning the tune easier, but I feel that once learned, they make playing easier.


I wonder how they feel to you or others.

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Of course mind you I could be going hideously wrong in how I am approaching these tunes



I've always been a believer that when it comes to music (particularly folk/jazz stuff) there is no 'wrong' way. Of course its good to listen to other people's playing and ideas, and benefit from others experience, but at the end of the day you should feel free to ignore these (including this posting, I hasten to add) and go your own way, as long as it works for you (and your audience). After all its not as if we're trying to pass examinations where we're expected to play in a particular way to get the marks.



If we all read the same tutors and took them as gospel then we'd all end up sounding the same!




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No harm at all in playing some of the A on the C row and some of the B on the G row.

Just working it out on "air concertina" (postings passim), I might cheat and instead of BGB dBd in the B, I might play BAB dBd, wihich you may find easier on the C row.

Noel Hill summed up this row-swapping lark by teaching scales on 4 buttons i.e

C row top GA BC G row top de fg . Also adding that the BC and ef are handy ornaments as they are in the same direction.

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