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David Levine

Playing Across the Rows

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David Levine is more knowledgeable than I on this subject and will pass comment in dues course I am sure, but my understanding is that Noel Hill plays the C on the right hand?
Edited by CaryK

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Don't know where I got the idea that Noel Hill's teaching preferred the C on the push??? Maybe because I have asked lots of players what they use and it always the C on the push, so maybe that is why I thought it was the most commonly used??? But obviously not !

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Larry, if it's easier to use the C press then I do. But I prefer to use the C draw when it isn't awkward. I go from E9 to C21, rather than 9 to 14, which would be an awkward jump. Come to Clare and we'll work some of this out together! It's a lovely day for a drive.

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Pete,

 

I think that the standardizing of a fingering scale is helpful when learning new songs, especially in the written form. Then, when that fingering seems awkward (physically or musically), a player can make the adjustments as needed. The G scale can be played in many ways but a player has to have a basic fingering to go from at first. I relearned my scale fingerings for every song I knew and once I had the new scale implanted firmly, I could read and play thru sheet music faster. Once I learned the basic song by reading then I would learn it by ear. That is where the exceptions to the rules come into play. Things like playing the d on the right hand ring finger (pull) on the C row instead of on the left hand G row with the index (push) or playing the "a" pull with the ring finger on the G row to hit the index push "d" same row and hand. And numerous more exceptions that would take up too much time to explain.

This fingering is one of the many that I had figured out on my own, as many others have, but narrowing the scale down to a basic first choice and altering it as needed sure makes things less complicated for me.

There are many players that use a straight row and are wonderful players. They have a unique syncopation because of the those specific push, pull combinations. With a standard fingering, the alternate options can be changed to either smooth out or make percussive the transition from one note to another depending on what is required for the tune or the player.

I am in no way a great or even moderate player. I didn't start learning how to play a concertina until I was 52. I didn't listen to or play much Irish music until the 1980's when I played a harmonica, a bamboo flute and a whistle on St. Patrick's Day. It was mostly for the American drinkers which meant the typical Bawdy and Raucous songs. As I look back in shame upon what I thought was Irish music and playing I blush with embarrassment and wish that I had exposed myself to the Reel thing. I wasted 15 to 20 years of good learning time. Now I am content to play with more expression and less speed due to the age of my fingers and the slowing down of the synapses.

 

Hope this is helpful to some new learners.

 

David's PDF on this is very informative and well worth it for all new players, with limited access to the real folk process, to read through. I must also give credit to Noel's teachings for making my life easier. It is money well spent to go to one of his workshops either here in the U.S or in Ireland.

 

Steve

 

Steve

 

Thanks for the helpful reply. Sorry I didn't reply sooner but I've been away for most of the weekend.

 

I'm beginning to realise that my concertina is probably going to keep providing me with more and more delights and puzzles as I get to know it better! I have only just started (later than you, at the age of 59) and have never previously heard almost any of the concertina music that I find on the internet, be it Irish or English or any-other-ish. Once I got beyond Three Blind Mice in my tutor, everything else has been a journey into the unknown. I'm really enjoying it and listening to all sorts of music that I've never bothered with before.

 

Pete

Edited by pete

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Thanks for the invite David.Unfortunately whilst it is yet another lovely day for a drive it is a long drive !! When I started playing I used the C draw but the first teacher I went to suggested that I used the press explaining that I would get more bounce and it would leave one open to being able to play a low C as well at times.I didn't like it at first.Preferred using the draw( don't know why) but stuck at it.Still would find the draw easier but for tunes like Green Fields Of America, Music In The Glen etc where there are runs of B,C and high E, I prefer to be able to split the notes B&C with the bellows whereas if I used the C draw those notes would all be all on the one bellows.But as has been said many times- whatever works for yea

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Yeah that push C is also great because it allows you to play a C chord sometimes pushing a low C and E on the LH. That push C is also very useful in D minor tunes where you play a lot using the C row... I like the pull C sometimes because you can cran/roll it using your two fingers on the right, and that pull C, as David was saying, will allow you to play a G or F# on the RH without chopping.

 

I think the main reason I prefer the push C is because it's using the index finger, and the index finger is my favorite so far. I feel it's stronger, and will often create some nice jumpiness. But then, maybe I'll think different in a year, who knows with a concertina??

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Can someone tell me how to do B,C#,D if you don't have a C# on (17)? ie I can't do (14), (17), (15).

 

At the moment I am doing (14), (16 push), (15) - but that's a lot of pushing all at once; it works if I'm careful and use the D on (22) from time to time.

 

Any inspiration?

 

E

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Can someone tell me how to do B,C#,D if you don't have a C# on (17)? ie I can't do (14), (17), (15).

 

At the moment I am doing (14), (16 push), (15) - but that's a lot of pushing all at once; it works if I'm careful and use the D on (22) from time to time.

 

Any inspiration?

 

E

E,

Playing B,C# and high D on 14,16 and 15 is the same as doing it 14,17 and 15- they are all on the push- you are just using a different finger for the C#.But these three notes will all be on the push either way. There is a timing issue in breaking them up so as not to allow them slur into a triplet but it is easier than breaking them up by using the high D on 22.

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This is a little disquisition on <a href="http://www.box.net/shared/ts8vzsfayf" target="_blank">Playing Across the Rows</a>. I have mentioned this before but never gave it a thread of its own. It's been downloaded over 500 times at this point, which amazes me. I would assume that some people are finding it useful. Although it's pretty dense it is a handy way of approaching the instrument. It emphasizes the use of your strongest fingers as well as the use of reeds closest to the open part of the grill-work (rather than under your hand), to get the best sound from your concertina.

 

I tried to access this article,

but being seven years tardy I suppose I'm not TOO surprised to find it gone.

All the references to it make me want to have a look-

any chance you might point me to a current link?

 

Thanks a bunch.

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This is a little disquisition on <a href="http://www.box.net/shared/ts8vzsfayf" target="_blank">Playing Across the Rows</a>. I have mentioned this before but never gave it a thread of its own. It's been downloaded over 500 times at this point, which amazes me. I would assume that some people are finding it useful. Although it's pretty dense it is a handy way of approaching the instrument. It emphasizes the use of your strongest fingers as well as the use of reeds closest to the open part of the grill-work (rather than under your hand), to get the best sound from your concertina.
I tried to access this article,

but being seven years tardy I suppose I'm not TOO surprised to find it gone.

All the references to it make me want to have a look-

any chance you might point me to a current link?

 

Thanks a bunch.

I don't think that it's available any more, but David did a good quick summary of that approach here.

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We have talked about the two approaches and discussed advantages of one to the other; I'm thinking about attending next years Noel Hill class in Oregon, but I wonder: how much unlearning am I going to have to wrap my not-so- flexible mind around?

Have any among us been deeply rooted in, say, along the rows, then swapped it for the cross-row method? How was it? Were you able to re-route the muscle memory that you'd worked so hard to install?

If I do decide go to Newburg next summer will I be facing a great task or a reasonable one?

Or, in other words, will be spending my money well?

I'd like to hear from others.

Thanks, RB

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Hi Robert,

 

I'm a long-time participant in Noel's US classes (since 1996), so I'll try to tackle your questions. First off it would be good to know how long you have been playing and your current level. The reason I ask is that the longer you have been doing something, the longer it may take to undo it. However, from personal experience and from discussions with other starting students at Noel's classes in NY and KY, the period of stumbling and frustration lasts a couple of days and then things start to make sense. But again, your length of time playing in another style can have an impact on the amount of time it takes for you to adapt.

 

But let's put this in another context to help you. Since I've been trained in Noel's methodology for 16 + years now, you could say I'm pretty well set in an "across the rows" style. Well in 2010, I went to the SE Tionol and took a concertina class with Florence Fahy. Florence taught the style she was brought up with which is from North Clare and is primarily along the rows. The tunes she taught and the way she played and taught them reflected this background. So I would be in the reverse of your situation. I'm getting a few years on the airframe (65) so I'm not the quickest study, but after about half a day, the fingerings she used were becoming more comfortable to me. This is just to illustrate that I think every dog can learn a new trick -- even me -- and I would encourage you to go ahead and sign up for Noel's class. If you do sign up, and if you ask, I think they will send you some materials shortly before class to help you start practicing some scales to familiarize you with the across the rows fingering he will be using in class. If memory serves me correctly, this was done with a couple of the newbies from this year's Midwest class.

 

Lastly, Noel is a great teacher and will do what it takes to help you learn. Plus, he gives interesting and challenging tunes to keep you moving forward. So it's a Win-Win opportunity for you. And if you are interested in the West Coast class, you need to act very quickly cause that class fills faster than any of the others. Of course, we have a great group at the Midwest class and I know the NY bunch will welcome you just as warmly too, so you should be able to find a slot somewhere for 2012. And yes, your money is well spent whichever class you join.

 

Ross Schlabach

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Thanks for the quick reply, Ross. Your comments help the decision making a lot.

I am entirely self taught except for information gleaned here, and have been at it since about 1998 or so. Playing in isolation is a peculiar joy, but not real conducive to quick and expansive learning. I have learned a lot of tunes, a pretty eclectic mix but the Irish style is a genre that I don't do well, possibly since I don't seem to have absorbed the time signatures very well. I'm hoping that the N.Hill camp will help me to learn the idiom better.

Thanks, too, for the heads-up on joining soon-I'll act on the tip.

Cheers, RB

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