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English concertina 2,3 or 4 fingers

Guran 05 Nov 09 - 12:40 PM
WalkaboutsVerse 05 Nov 09 - 12:54 PM
The Sandman 05 Nov 09 - 01:04 PM
Guran 05 Nov 09 - 03:11 PM
McGrath of Harlow 05 Nov 09 - 06:03 PM
EBarnacle 06 Nov 09 - 12:12 AM
SteveMansfield 06 Nov 09 - 08:24 AM
The Sandman 06 Nov 09 - 09:46 AM
Guran 06 Nov 09 - 10:30 AM
SteveMansfield 06 Nov 09 - 02:08 PM
Bernard 06 Nov 09 - 02:24 PM
Bernard 06 Nov 09 - 02:50 PM
The Sandman 06 Nov 09 - 03:07 PM
Bernard 06 Nov 09 - 04:27 PM
Aeola 06 Nov 09 - 05:33 PM
Artful Codger 06 Nov 09 - 07:05 PM
Guran 07 Nov 09 - 04:36 AM
Guran 07 Nov 09 - 05:52 AM
Guran 07 Nov 09 - 06:08 AM
Alan Day 07 Nov 09 - 09:15 AM
The Sandman 07 Nov 09 - 10:11 AM
Guran 07 Nov 09 - 11:08 AM
Guran 07 Nov 09 - 11:41 AM
Bernard 07 Nov 09 - 12:06 PM
Guran 07 Nov 09 - 01:37 PM
Alan Day 07 Nov 09 - 06:16 PM
TheSnail 07 Nov 09 - 08:34 PM
Guran 08 Nov 09 - 02:08 AM
Guran 08 Nov 09 - 02:59 AM
Alan Day 08 Nov 09 - 04:33 AM
GUEST,Ralphie 08 Nov 09 - 04:56 AM
The Sandman 08 Nov 09 - 05:37 AM
SteveMansfield 08 Nov 09 - 07:00 AM
Guran 08 Nov 09 - 07:17 AM
GUEST,Ralphie 08 Nov 09 - 07:24 AM
MGM·Lion 08 Nov 09 - 07:35 AM
Guran 08 Nov 09 - 08:21 AM
SteveMansfield 08 Nov 09 - 10:14 AM
The Sandman 08 Nov 09 - 11:53 AM
Guran 08 Nov 09 - 12:27 PM
The Sandman 08 Nov 09 - 12:52 PM
Guran 08 Nov 09 - 02:02 PM
MGM·Lion 09 Nov 09 - 01:50 PM
The Sandman 09 Nov 09 - 02:06 PM
MGM·Lion 09 Nov 09 - 02:21 PM
Tootler 09 Nov 09 - 04:58 PM
MGM·Lion 09 Nov 09 - 10:30 PM
Alan Day 10 Nov 09 - 04:29 AM
MGM·Lion 10 Nov 09 - 05:09 AM
Guran 10 Nov 09 - 07:28 AM
The Sandman 10 Nov 09 - 07:47 AM
MGM·Lion 10 Nov 09 - 08:40 AM
The Sandman 10 Nov 09 - 10:02 AM
The Sandman 11 Nov 09 - 09:47 AM
Bernard 11 Nov 09 - 11:23 AM
Guran 11 Nov 09 - 11:52 AM
Brian Peters 11 Nov 09 - 11:56 AM
MGM·Lion 11 Nov 09 - 01:06 PM
Brian Peters 11 Nov 09 - 01:26 PM
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Bernard 11 Nov 09 - 08:00 PM
Guran 12 Nov 09 - 02:06 AM
Guran 12 Nov 09 - 02:22 AM
TheSnail 12 Nov 09 - 06:31 AM
Alan Day 12 Nov 09 - 07:13 AM
Guran 12 Nov 09 - 09:10 AM
Guran 12 Nov 09 - 09:48 AM
treewind 12 Nov 09 - 09:57 AM
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Subject: BS: English concertina 2,3 or 4 fingers
From: Guran
Date: 05 Nov 09 - 12:40 PM

The question comes up now and then in various forums of discussion if (two),three or four fingers should be used for playing the English concertina. Since players of the Anglo and Duet systems obviously get along fine using four fingers and this inevitably offers wider range and more relaxed "fingering" it ought to be selfevident that this may be preferrable when playing the English as well!

So why does the question come up at all? My guess is that people mix three entirely different activities ( fingering, bellowsing and holding the instrument) and their related needs, which unfortunately ARE interferring with each other quite often but also may be successfully separated if one just takes some time and effort to analyse the *musical* and *other* demands.

Other related matters are the conservative traditional construction and design and the associated primitive handle arrangements. It is particularly noteworthy that Charles Wheatstone's intention was that the instrument should be played by 1st and 2nd fingers - "but occasionally, for the purpose of facilitating the fingering of particular passages, the third finger is also employed".
This is possible to practise only in keys with very few signatures and
basically for single note music.Did C Wheatstone ever try playing the instrument himself?


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Subject: RE: BS: English concertina 2,3 or 4 fingers
From: WalkaboutsVerse
Date: 05 Nov 09 - 12:54 PM

I love the homely sounds of the English concertina but, having only just managed to memorise my repertoire on less-expensive keyboards, worry it would be too difficult to learn, as well, whole new sets of fingering; but, as I say, I'm glad others have bothered.


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Subject: RE: BS: English concertina 2,3 or 4 fingers
From: The Sandman
Date: 05 Nov 09 - 01:04 PM

Hello Guran,hope you are keeping well, I use three fingers ,very occasionally four.preferably when I have not got a finger in my ear.


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Subject: RE: BS: English concertina 2,3 or 4 fingers
From: Guran
Date: 05 Nov 09 - 03:11 PM

Yep Schweik, that is an important use of the 4th fingers I forgot but ear-plugs combined with a nightcap can make much music bearable too, particularly while exposing others to it.


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Subject: RE: BS: English concertina 2,3 or 4 fingers
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 05 Nov 09 - 06:03 PM

Surely not BS within Mudcat tradition!


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Subject: RE: BS: English concertina 2,3 or 4 fingers
From: EBarnacle
Date: 06 Nov 09 - 12:12 AM

I use index and middle fingers but also sometimes use one finger for fifths, thirds and triads.


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Subject: RE: BS: English concertina 2,3 or 4 fingers
From: SteveMansfield
Date: 06 Nov 09 - 08:24 AM

So why does the question come up at all?

No great conspiracy I don't think, it's just because

(a) the design of the instrument includes rests for the 4th fingers, therefore suggesting that the little finger is to be primarily employed in bearing some of the weight of the instrument
(b) the fact that most beginners' tutorials teach people to play with three fingers

Of course many proficient EC players use their little fingers all the time, in the same way that they don't stick to using the same fingers on the same rows.

I think it's just one of those rules that is great for beginners but limiting for adepts, and is there to be broken. The parallel that springs to my mind is that beginner guitar players are usually discouraged from wrapping their thumb round the neck to fret the bass strings, whilst Richard Thompson does it all the time ...


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Subject: RE: BS: English concertina 2,3 or 4 fingers
From: The Sandman
Date: 06 Nov 09 - 09:46 AM

its not terribly important,how you attack with your fingers is more important,plus bellows attack.
Louis Killen,only uses two fingers,on a lot of his song accompaniments,but he sounds good to me,
personally I find three more flexible than two,and I find the disadvantage with four comes when trying to play standing up,and trying to use the doppler effect.
but then various people have come up with adaptations which they say helps to facilitate easier playing with 4 fingers and other things.


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Subject: RE: BS: English concertina 2,3 or 4 fingers
From: Guran
Date: 06 Nov 09 - 10:30 AM

sfmans,
"(a) the design of the instrument includes rests for the 4th fingers"

RE:The rests were intended for 4th AND 3rd fingers and this is obvious from their design and location. Anyone trying to use them for 4th finger only must find that the location is faulty and the comfort miserable

.."suggesting that the little finger is to be primarily employed in bearing some of the weight of the instrument"

RE: One may think so! but the rest is so obviously dysfunctional for that purpose that it is astonishing it has survived for 150 years

"(b) the fact that most beginners' tutorials teach people to play with three fingers"

RE: This misfortunate advice certainly is important along with the fact that so many players of the English have started on their own and no established and systematic pedagogy has ever been available

"one of those rules that is great for beginners but limiting for adepts"

RE: Here is the clue I think - but mostly on the contrary as I see it!
Whatever skill one is learning it is important learning the most efficient, comfortable and developable methods from the start.It does happen that a "beginners way" may be a shortcut but often turns to the opposite and in THIS case there are very good grounds meaning that: 1) the finger rest itself is contraindicated 2) liberating all four fingers for keyboard work is preferrable - and starting off in a way that better be rejected later is wasted effort

So - why not take the consequences once and for ever? Four fingers and NO finger rests ! C Wheatstone no doubt was a great innovator but here an unfortunate mistake was made that has misguided generations of concertina players.It may be difficult for 'us' to change our bad habits but consider the poor posterity...:-)


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Subject: RE: English concertina 2,3 or 4 fingers
From: SteveMansfield
Date: 06 Nov 09 - 02:08 PM

Well I fail to see what the problem is to be honest ...


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Subject: RE: English concertina 2,3 or 4 fingers
From: Bernard
Date: 06 Nov 09 - 02:24 PM

Let's not stop at the finger rests... let's change the stupid key layout and the daft way that notes alternate from left to right... whilst we're at it, we could operate the bellows with our feet, give the thing a piano-style keyboard and... ooops! I've just designed the Harmonium!

Respect the designer's design or choose a different instrument! Simple!


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Subject: RE: English concertina 2,3 or 4 fingers
From: Bernard
Date: 06 Nov 09 - 02:50 PM

In response to the opening post, concertinas were primarily intended to play 'voice' parts in concertina bands, hence such names as treble, tenor, baritone, bass and contrabass for different models. Many people still use them as single note melody instruments - as do a lot of Anglo players.

Don't forget that Wheatstone originally intended people to be readily able to play from written music, with the 'line' notes on the left and the 'space' notes on the right.

Music for the masses!

They were also intended to be played whilst seated, supported by one knee - the Salvation Army were famed for making inventive adaptations to facilitate playing whilst marching.


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Subject: RE: English concertina 2,3 or 4 fingers
From: The Sandman
Date: 06 Nov 09 - 03:07 PM

why not throw the whole thing in the bin,and take up the f###### Anglo,and then we can all copy Noel Hill,and play all his little twiddles in great detail,and condemn everyone else who doesnt play in exactly the proscribed manner.
you will have your fingers chopped off because you didnt copy Comhaltas instructions,you will be sentenced to the Stocks and made to play wall to wall reels at 130 miles per hour,with every note a replica of Noel Hill,until you go blind.


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Subject: RE: English concertina 2,3 or 4 fingers
From: Bernard
Date: 06 Nov 09 - 04:27 PM

Indubitably!!


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Subject: RE: English concertina 2,3 or 4 fingers
From: Aeola
Date: 06 Nov 09 - 05:33 PM

whatever you find most comfortable, so long as the music sounds ok,, bit like golf really, don't change your swing if you already hit a good straight shot!!


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Subject: RE: English concertina 2,3 or 4 fingers
From: Artful Codger
Date: 06 Nov 09 - 07:05 PM

The finger rests on my concertina are hardly unnecessary, dysfunctional, mislocated or obviously designed for both the third and fourth fingers. While I can sometimes liberate the fourth finger, if I leave it free most of the time, I encounter stability and support problems, even when one end rests on my knee. In fact, it's my thumbs and pinkies that get sore when I play, not the other fingers. So I use a three-finger playing style of necessity, and play with the fourth finger only rarely (for chords that can't be covered by just three fingers).

I use the third finger to cover the pinkie-side outside row, to chord, and to facilitate legato sequences. I don't see how the way people are initially taught to play in tutorial books is at odds with the "best" way to play the instrument, unless folks get the idea they should never use the third finger or should only use certain fingers on certain rows; the books I learned from (ages ago!) never advocated such things, and I can't think of anything I had to unlearn in order to play more musically or in more complex keys. There may be some art to fingering, but it sure ain't rocket science.


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Subject: RE: English concertina 2,3 or 4 fingers
From: Guran
Date: 07 Nov 09 - 04:36 AM

Hello Guys!
Seems like I got you going after all - mostly in the same direction - and opposite to mine - so I am always curious to find out if we ever meet..
It is easy to see that you primarily set up various types of defense against a perceived attack on what you are doing yourselves. That is not motivated. YOU are NOT attacked at all! I did say that *we* have been mislead by tradition, including myself of course. Defending the past is the essence of conservatism. That of course may be a wise attitude in many cases but it also hampers any kind of progress. Do you use sheep-shears instead of scissors cutting paper? Ride a bike or a horse without a saddle? Use a hammer without a shaft? Why use a concertina without a proper handle leaving all fingers free?

sfmans:"Well I fail to see what the problem is to be honest ..."

The causes that people don't see problems when *problems* objectively exist may be quite a few. Most of us are lazy - if obstacles come up we avoid them or adapt our activities to what is easy to achieve. IF that is enough and satisfactory then everything is alright of course. For ever.The "problem" comes up when something else/more/better is expected to be achieved, or not seldom when the body protests from
anomalities,overuse,illness,ageing etc. Then the 'defects' of the tool suddenly may become apparent and usually everyone will benfit from any improvement of the situation, as with scissors, bikes etc.

Not so with concertinas? Why be restricted to using 2 or 3 fingers if 4 can do more? Why must the English be played in a more restricted and crampful way than the Anglo?


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Subject: RE: English concertina 2,3 or 4 fingers
From: Guran
Date: 07 Nov 09 - 05:52 AM

Bernard,
"Respect the designer's design or choose a different instrument.Simple!"

RE: Do you seriously mean that veneration for C Wheatstone should stop possible improvents for all future? He suggested several "improvements" himself...and so did his brother William...

"Many people still use them as single note melody instruments - as do a lot of Anglo players".

RE: In what way does that regulate the use of 2,3 or 4 fingers?

"Don't forget that Wheatstone originally intended people to be readily able to play from written music, with the 'line' notes on the left and the 'space' notes on the right".

RE: Where have you got this from? The "English" keyboard originated from the Symphonium" presented in the 1829 patent papers saying nothing of the kind. Contrary it says that "it may be tuned in any other key" (than C) and that of course eliminates being "intended" for a button layout related to the written note representation.That was a later pedagogic gimmick.

"Music for the masses!"

RE: Definitely not in these early years!The German concertina however was marketed for the musically illiterate "masses" using figures at the keys along with same figures in printed "music" instead of the common note stave

"They were also intended to be played whilst seated, supported by one knee..."

RE:I have not found any such intention documented either. Where?


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Subject: RE: English concertina 2,3 or 4 fingers
From: Guran
Date: 07 Nov 09 - 06:08 AM

Artful Codger,

"The finger rests on my concertina are hardly unnecessary, dysfunctional, mislocated or obviously designed for both the third and fourth fingers".

RE: Partly subjective statements of course but C Wheatstone himself did mean " designed for both the third and fourth fingers" (1844)

"So I use a three-finger playing style of necessity, and play with the fourth finger only rarely (for chords that can't be covered by just three fingers)".

RE: I see that, and the "necessity" in this case comes from the insufficient arrangement with the thumbstrap only. Again - how come that Anglo and Duet players are satisfied with *their* ways?

"I don't see how the way people are initially taught to play in tutorial books is at odds with the "best" way to play the instrument"

RE : If the instrument is insufficiently designed the tutorial habits of course will be adapted to that and also naturally victimized from the defects. If the tool is 'wrong' the ways using it will be guided by desperation but the end result will be 'wrong' too - or at least not ideal. Time for a change...?


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Subject: RE: English concertina 2,3 or 4 fingers
From: Alan Day
Date: 07 Nov 09 - 09:15 AM

Interesting topic because the design of the English System concertina provides you with a little strap to put your thumb into and a rest for your little finger.So it is quite understandable that most beginners and players for that matter use the layout as it seems to be intended.It is only when you see certain players only using the thumb strap and playing with four fingers that you wonder why they provided a little finger rest at all.
Like the Woman who found out from me that she had been playing her concertina upside down for two years and wondered what the air button was for and why she could not reach it.
Certainly those players who play full chords mainly seem to ignore the little finger rest and can do a wonderful job without it.
In my opinion the English System is the hardest to master of the three systems and I applaud those who can play it superbly and get beyond the one note at a time style that seems to dominate this system.
Al


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Subject: RE: English concertina 2,3 or 4 fingers
From: The Sandman
Date: 07 Nov 09 - 10:11 AM

Al,I use the three finger sytem,and have no problem with full chords.
I have in the past recorded[With full chordal accompaniment without double tracking] such things as WashingtonPost,Yesterday/All my loving,DillPickle rag,PrimrosePolka,WoodlandFlowers,while keeping my finger on the finger rest,so its possible and I didnot find it uncomfortable.here is Primrose Polka
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=boqwtu3xPzU.
when the player starts playing in e flat and a flat it gets easier because you have both those notes duplicated in different places,its fairly easy in F C G D A B FLAT,Playing full chords with three fingers.
the secret is to play the chord notes off the beat,apart from on long notes,bit like a flat picking guitarist[or 5 string banjo] playing a melody note then brushing a chord


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Subject: RE: English concertina 2,3 or 4 fingers
From: Guran
Date: 07 Nov 09 - 11:08 AM

Alan,
Since concertinas are so unusual in my country hardly anyone has seen how to hold them so I used to try a little test with all people I met, passing them an Anglo and an English just to let them have a *feel* of the instruments. Almost everyone said that the English seemed "impossible" to hold ( some even said "stupid") while the Anglo seemed quite "handy" or "balanced" or something alike. Holding a violin may seem impossible too but the spontaneous reaction from the comparison does tell us something I believe.


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Subject: RE: English concertina 2,3 or 4 fingers
From: Guran
Date: 07 Nov 09 - 11:41 AM

Private Schweik,
The fact that You ( or other experienced and proficient users of the instrument )may get along just prooves what *can* be done with talent or lots of practise, it does not say much about the suitability of the instrument itself. For the unfortunate beginner it is likely of considerable interest if the performance demonstrated by the master might be equaled at best in 10 years of strenous practise or within 10 months of jolly playing along.

I agree concerning the choice of keys. With the English you have a choice between playing mainly in keys with as few signatures as possible ( like C,G,F and staying in the two middle rows and there you may get along pretty well with 3 fingers, or even 2) or using the outer two rows as efficiently as possible like you mention.Doing so the very best key in my opinion is Eb. Its scale notes offer good "flow" = running up and down as on a ladder in a regular pattern.The enharmonic doublings D#/Eb and G#/Ab can be used a lot.The awkward same side scale steps C-C#,F-F#,Bb-B are not frequent and most common chord patterns are comfortable.
BUT - now comes the natural conclusion from this:

To be able to exploit the options using the outer rows as efficiently as possible the 1st finger has to be employed firstly on the 1st row and the potential additional capacity of the 4th finger preferrably be used on the 4th row. This means a "four-finger-system" of playing and the 4th finger may never be touching neither the finger rest nor the endplate to hold, carry or stabilize the instrument...


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Subject: RE: English concertina 2,3 or 4 fingers
From: Bernard
Date: 07 Nov 09 - 12:06 PM

That argument could be applied to most instruments... the violin is hardly a friendly instrument for a beginner! So should we put frets on it? Oh, sorry, I've reinvented the Viol!

The charm of an instrument is often rooted in its idiosyncrasies, otherwise why would people persevere with a melodeon when a piano accordion is far simpler?

Once you change its basic design it becomes something else... which is how the Duet was born.


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Subject: RE: English concertina 2,3 or 4 fingers
From: Guran
Date: 07 Nov 09 - 01:37 PM

Bernard,
I am not against the use of a historic instrument for its own sake, for historic reasons or for musicmaking within its boundaries and I can accept that in the light of 'modern' experience it may have more or less primitive idiosyncrasies. There are people riding historic bikes, driving steam engine locomotives and playing melodeons.Talking about the later all the contemporary stars of melodeon I know play 'modern' instruments, often with shoulder straps and using a "flying hand" instead of antique instruments with a thumbstrap.They have understood the limitations of the antiquity - why can not users of the English concertina do the same? Are they more conservative?

"Once you change its basic design it becomes something else... which is how the Duet was born"

RE:I don't see what you mean."Basic design" - what does that include? When do you mean the Duet "was born"? What "Duet"?

What is your own *basic* position? nothing must ever be changed in the original design because of "respect for the (original)designer" ?
- the same designer who came up with the Duet??


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Subject: RE: English concertina 2,3 or 4 fingers
From: Alan Day
Date: 07 Nov 09 - 06:16 PM

As a non player of the English system,is it difficult to play in the upper octave and at the same time play base chords? (For non players of the instrument , the base notes are at the bottom of the vertical row of four buttons the high notes are at the top). This is not difficult at all on an Anglo or Duet because of their layout, but is there enough finger span to play at the top and bottom of the instrument at the same time?
Al


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Subject: RE: English concertina 2,3 or 4 fingers
From: TheSnail
Date: 07 Nov 09 - 08:34 PM

I think Alan has hit the point. It is the layout of the buttons not the use or otherwise of finger rests that makes the English concertina different from other systems in two significant ways.

First, the line through the fingertips is at right angles to the line from bass to treble unlike the anglo, melodeon or anything with a piano keyboard where the lines are parallel.

Second, rather than being split bass on the left and treble on the right, the range is distributed between both sides.

In answer to Alan's "is it difficult to play in the upper octave and at the same time play base chords?" is, depends. It mainly depends on how far apart you want your melody and bass to be. If it's only an octave, easy, the melody will be on one side and the harmony on the other; if it's two octaves apart then the lower notes are on the same side as the melody and you have to twist your hand round to reach.

A further complication is that, because of the second difference, you may find that you play a melody note on the left with a chord on the right immediately followed by a melody note on the right with a chord on the left and back again.

Alistair Anderson seems to manage pretty well playing single note stuff but extracting the most out of each note. Others do highly chordal arrangements.

Each does what they can.


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Subject: RE: English concertina 2,3 or 4 fingers
From: Guran
Date: 08 Nov 09 - 02:08 AM

Alan,
Yes! This is a very important difference between the English vs the Anglo/Duet concepts - a) because the later are bass/left hand and treble/right hand oriented b) because, as I use to say, the English keyboard is "longitudinally" and the Anglo "transversally" oriented.
Meaning the same as what "The Snail" says.Duets may be looked upon as
mixtures in this respect.The Crane basically "longitudinal", Hayden mostly "transversal", MacCann something in between but with all of them the end effect depends on the range.As soon as one comes to more than 4 transversal rows (Anglos having 2-4) major problems to reach distant buttons arise.
With the English the span between top and bottom notes definitely is a major obstacle which dictates the musical potential of the instrument. Fundamentally the English IS a monophonic type of instrument ( like the violin-family) suited for melody playing and NOT for combined melody and *independent* accompaniment.
One may come around it by carefully picking the pieces of music - playing waltzes with the melody notes consequently on first beat for instance (Donauwellen..)or marches on first and third(Old Comrades..) or being a lazybone like myself,just adding some harmony to the melody here and there when some empty space accidentally comes up...


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Subject: RE: English concertina 2,3 or 4 fingers
From: Guran
Date: 08 Nov 09 - 02:59 AM

"The Snail",
My comment above to Alan expresses that I support your view but I just want to add this:

You say:" It is the layout of the buttons not the use or otherwise of finger rests that makes the English concertina different from other systems in two significant ways".

That is simplifying the situation since as I said in my initial message we have three entirely different activities interacting with each other that cause problems with ALL concertinas and when people try comparing the conditions for the different "system" concertinas it is essential always to separate these factors very carefully otherwise the analysis will be confusing. It mostly will be confusing anyway since the needs for these three activities can NEVER be satisfied simultaneously for all of them !!

SO - as You do say ".. the layout of the buttons .. makes the English concertina different from other systems in two significant ways".

Agreeable !

BUT -as You also say: "..not the use or otherwise of finger rests that makes the English concertina different from other systems.."

Definitely not agreeable!

You have mixed the activities a) "fingering" and b)"bellowsing" and c)"holding" or maybe rather, temporarily looked away from b) and c)
and your statement becomes a bit confusing.

The "handle" concepts - Thumb strap and finger rest for the English and Handbar and handstrap for the Anglo/Duet - VERY definitely set the limits for ALL activities with the respective systems ! Including the "fingering" matters which we are firstly dealing with here !

I better make a break, trying to separate and organize myself as well...but just a short comment:

"Each does what they can".

RE: Certainly so, but my obstinate idea is trying to inspire "each" and everyone not to stop there. CAN more be done? By "each" ?


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Subject: RE: English concertina 2,3 or 4 fingers
From: Alan Day
Date: 08 Nov 09 - 04:33 AM

My observations by listening to English System playing and experimenting on my Anglo is that the coordination between left and right hand alternate playing can be extremely fast. It is not so much the speed of the fingers on the keyboard, but the coordination between right and left hand. This is why I would suspect that an English System player can play so fast in a fairly short space of time whereas an Anglo
player struggles to obtain the speed of fingers to bellows direction.
Al


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Subject: RE: English concertina 2,3 or 4 fingers
From: GUEST,Ralphie
Date: 08 Nov 09 - 04:56 AM

Always slightly loathe to put my head above the parapet in such matters, but, here's my 2 Pennorth.
On the MacCann, I use all 8 fingers...(4 on each side) and my right hand thumb deals with the air button....!
So, 9 out of 10 digits is almost a full house!!
As for playing fast, Have just listened to an old recording of me and Nigel Chippindale playing the Belfast Hornpipe. Me on Duet, Him on Piccolo Anglo.....Sounds pretty fast to me!!
Not sure if I could do it now though!!!


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Subject: RE: English concertina 2,3 or 4 fingers
From: The Sandman
Date: 08 Nov 09 - 05:37 AM

all valid points,if I could add this,one of the problems with melody and chords together is:
the melody can be drowned out by chords,by Playing chords on off beats after the melody on The English an effective accompaniment that does not drown the melody can be produced.[example if melody note is crotchet add the chords halway through]
often two note chords are all that is necessary,and then a fuller chord on a longer note
I used to play the duet,I found it necessary to learn to attack less on the left than the right so that the right hand or melody dominated,of course on the duet there is a crossover duplication of about an octave[on some instruments],so melody can be played on left and lighter chords played on the right.
Ralph would be able to explain better than me the subtleties of duet playing.


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Subject: RE: English concertina 2,3 or 4 fingers
From: SteveMansfield
Date: 08 Nov 09 - 07:00 AM

Fundamentally the English IS a monophonic type of instrument ( like the violin-family) suited for melody playing and NOT for combined melody and *independent* accompaniment.

Two different things.

Monophonic means only one note sounds at a time, like a flute[*]. The EC is a polyphonic instrument, because each reed has an independent action and many notes can be sounded simultaneously. The keyboard arrangement of the EC makes sounding certain combination of notes more complex than others, but that is a very different matter, and good players find numerous inventive ways to produce fine music out of the EC. Yes the EC is suited to melody-playing - well spotted. It is also well suited to 'independent' accompaniment, within the limitations of (a) the keyboard system and (b) the skill of the performer - and that is true, to a greater or lesser extent, of every polyphonic musical instrument from the uilleann pipes to the piano.

Another minor point is that if you think the violin is monophonic you needs to get to hear a few more violinists, from Seth Lakeman to Itzhak Perlman.

I still don't see the problem, by which I mean that I still remain utterly unconvinced that there is a problem to be 'solved' here (and there's several words I won't use on Mudcat to describe your clever-clever argument that we're failing to imagine a world outside the walls of the prison we're in).

As the saying goes, IAFWAFIAWMWQ.



[*] and yes I do know about harmonic overtones, whistle tones, Roland Kirk, etc etc ....


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Subject: RE: English concertina 2,3 or 4 fingers
From: Guran
Date: 08 Nov 09 - 07:17 AM

The topic is drifting a little when going Anglo and Duet but never mind - concertinas cause a mess anyway, so here we go, I think it may be very productive comparing the conditions for the different systems and having just a little practical experience from more than one of them certainly widens the outlook.

Alan, The English no doubt principally offers means for greater speed than any of the other systems. The cause is simple - two hands (2x4 fingers) can be employed doing the same job as one ( 4 fingers) for example when playing scales and runs and generally speaking for doing any melody work. The obstacle is the range and that the fingers are not positioned accurately. (the button spacing is too narrow for instance). For playing *chromatic* scales/runs however the Wheatstone "Double" system would be even better.(like button accordion)Restricting to the middle 3 rows the Crane is equally fast for diatonic scale runs(in C only)

Schweik, I agree completely. By picking suitable music and using a great deal of skill it is obviously possible to perform splendidly melody and harmonies with the English but it really takes a great deal of planning to make something out of it.Keeping rhythm up is one of the real challenges. That almost is selfgenerating with the Anglo not least by more push and pull but also the natural distribution of easy accessible common chords (T,S,D) on both sides to match melody notes.
With the Duets it may be very tempting to play from piano music trying to do a complete independent accompaniment with 3-4 note chords
in afterbeats and that is nearly always a complete failure. Chords get overpowered, noisy and indistinct and melody is drowned as you say.
Sparse, spread and staccatto chords seems to be one solution. Alexander Prince certainly is a good example.
One might criticize the Duet construction itself on these grounds and evidently makers have tried (but with poor success) to reduce the power of the left side. What technically is needed however is to augment the power of the right side, practising the same principle as with the symphony orchestra, i e multiplying the soundsources (also practised with 2-4 reed-set accordions)


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Subject: RE: English concertina 2,3 or 4 fingers
From: GUEST,Ralphie
Date: 08 Nov 09 - 07:24 AM

Yes Good Soldier....!
On a Duet, Lightness on the left hand is all....So easy to play whole fistuls of notes, with the reaction "How does the tune go?"
I got around this by judiciously inserting a shaped piece of Chamois leather above the action (just under the top).
Took a while to find the right thickness, but it's one cure...
Have taken it out now..!


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Subject: RE: English concertina 2,3 or 4 fingers
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 08 Nov 09 - 07:35 AM

'That almost is selfgenerating with the Anglo not least by more push and pull but also the natural distribution of easy accessible common chords (T,S,D) on both sides to match melody notes.' Guran

Apropos: I have had people express surprise at my tending to play the relative minor rather than the major of the subdominant on the Anglo [eg Dmin rather than F when accompanying a song in C], which makes for an smooth in-out action, and generally provides a satisfactory accompaniment; rather than the hassle & gasp of constant use of the air-button. Is this an idea entirely of my own or is it common practice? Some people's reactions, as I say, seem to suggest it is a bit eccentric; but, again, it seems to work OK.

[Apologies for my cheek in intruding on to this thread belonging to you EC players when I don't begin to know anything about that instrument — but it does seem to have drifted to include the Anglo...]


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Subject: RE: English concertina 2,3 or 4 fingers
From: Guran
Date: 08 Nov 09 - 08:21 AM

sfmans,
A linguistic conflict to a part maybe? With "fundamentally" I meant that it IS so constructed that - despite its polyphonic technical, organologic, status - "it is *suited* for melody playing and NOT..."

(Being strict in your own objection do you not contradict yourself when counting uilleann pipes to the "polyphonic" category??)

"Yes the EC is suited to melody-playing - well spotted. It is also well suited to 'independent' accompaniment, within the limitations.."

RE: Hmm..I can not agree.It can not be ideal ( = "well") for both and its limitations for independent accompaniment are so overwhelming that it becomes a cripple in that respect as I see it. As I said - by smart picking of tunes and clever arrangement it is by exception possible to do good music that yet might be a lot better performed on an Anglo or a Duet.

"Another minor point is that if you think the violin is monophonic you needs to get to hear a few more violinists, from Seth Lakeman to Itzhak Perlman".

RE:You are right of course, strictly speaking, but have you heard them play a march, waltz or a foxtrot with *independent* accompaniment?

"I still don't see the problem, by which I mean that I still remain utterly unconvinced that there is a problem to be 'solved' here..."

RE: OK, let me try to explain - if we just stick to the a)"fingering" issue now and leave b)"bellowsing" and c)"holding" aside for the moment we got this problem ( there are a few more !) :

Ideally for working on a keyboard the hand has to be entirely free, as with the typewriter/computer, piano, calculator, telephone etc
Only the 1st finger can (by anatomical causes) work independently of the other fingers.2nd finger is fairly independent too.The 4th nearly as capable as the 1st disregarding its handicap from shortness.The 3rd finger is the least independent of them all.

This has some consequences:
- 1st and 2nd can do a pretty good job together (just as C Wheatstone seemingly intended)on 1st and 2nd row only
- If 4th is tied up at the finger rest or touching the end plate all action by the 3rd is obstructed
- If the 4th is occupied holding the instrument some way the crampful effort will obstruct the action of all fingers
- Even if the 4th is not active hitting buttons it better be "in the air" , following the other fingers passively
- If all fingers are in the air we better decide whether the 1st is working firstly on 1st row or on 2nd row ( this is depending a lot on the key, number of sharps and flats)

Summing up so far: Using the finger rest or not IS a major problem to tackle with the English concertina and I would say NOT - Get rid of it !


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Subject: RE: English concertina 2,3 or 4 fingers
From: SteveMansfield
Date: 08 Nov 09 - 10:14 AM

Being strict in your own objection do you not contradict yourself when counting uilleann pipes to the "polyphonic" category??

No, because you can play simple chords on the keyed regulators.


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Subject: RE: English concertina 2,3 or 4 fingers
From: The Sandman
Date: 08 Nov 09 - 11:53 AM

Guran,let those who wish to get rid of the finger rest do so,and perhaps those of us who like it can be allowed to keep ours.


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Subject: RE: English concertina 2,3 or 4 fingers
From: Guran
Date: 08 Nov 09 - 12:27 PM

Private Schweik !
Attention ! You may keep your finger rest on the condition that it be used for defence or when sounding the retreat. During attack you use the regulated pipes.
At ease !


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Subject: RE: English concertina 2,3 or 4 fingers
From: The Sandman
Date: 08 Nov 09 - 12:52 PM

thankyou, I might need to repel C netters.


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Subject: RE: English concertina 2,3 or 4 fingers
From: Guran
Date: 08 Nov 09 - 02:02 PM

sfmans,
We are drifting again I'm afraid but just trying to sort out the terminology(caco)phonies. I did use the term "monophonic" a bit careless myself saying "monophonic type of instrument" meaning to point out that it is "suited for melody playing" in spite of its technical status as a "polyphonic" instrument.
We seem to agree upon that so far.
I don't know if these terms are established at all for categorizing musical instruments. When they commonly ARE used speaking of music (not the instruments) "polyphonic" means that the music has got *independent* part- or voice- lines, different from "homophonic, having voice lines bound together (for example in a chordal form as for hymn arrangements), and different from "monophonic,having just one voice line, like a single note "melody".

If using the terms in analogy for instruments, pianos and organs can be used for "polyphonic" music, the uilleann pipes can not, the optional chords by the regulators or the drones do not qualify them in that sense even though more than one note is sounding at the same time.

The English concertina can be used for some "polyphonic" music for sure but my point was that it is "NOT (suited) for combined melody and *independent* accompaniment". Compare the accordion which is designed for such purpose.


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Subject: RE: English concertina 2,3 or 4 fingers
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 09 Nov 09 - 01:50 PM

Refresh, in hopes someone may yet answer my enquiry re subdominant chord in relative minor on anglo concertina, 8 Nov, 07.35 a.m.


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Subject: RE: English concertina 2,3 or 4 fingers
From: The Sandman
Date: 09 Nov 09 - 02:06 PM

MGM.your D MNOR CHORD is more likely to work,when the melody notes are f and a,d minor shares those notes in common with f major
f major is f a c,d minor is d f a,but they are pretty closely related chords, d minor is a sadder sounding chord,of coures there is a chord called d minor7,which is d f a c.


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Subject: RE: English concertina 2,3 or 4 fingers
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 09 Nov 09 - 02:21 PM

Thanks, Dick. I realise, of course, that 2 of 3 notes are shared between a major & its relative minor — that indeed is why they are relatives; & so that fact also almost always provides a satisfactory harmony, as I say, without too much messing with the air button but using a smooth in-out action.

But what I also wonder, as I said, is whether this is common practice or an idea of my own — as I said, a lot of other anglo players have said they hadn't thought of that; or that they thought it was a bit eccentric. But I can't believe no-one else has thought of it to simplify. Obviously what I am talking of is using the anglo, as many do, as accompaniment for singing, often with the melody going with one hand and the harmony on the other - or even, sometimes, just using the chords in both hands: that is when this technique I am describing comes into its own. I have, obviouisly, asked other anglo players if they do it, often tho meeting the sort of blank looks I describe above.

Any other anglo·accompanists·to·singing out there who do it as well?


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Subject: RE: English concertina 2,3 or 4 fingers
From: Tootler
Date: 09 Nov 09 - 04:58 PM

I accompany myself singing with an Anglo (after a fashion), but I don't particularly use the melody on right hand, chords on the left approach. Rather I treat my anglo as if it were two harmonicas with extra notes (on the accidental row) and distribute the accompaniment across the left and right hand. I don't always use full chords but mostly use two part harmony. That said, I quite often use the Dm chord in the way MtheGM describes, though often without the F ie play just D & A which, of course, leaves the chord ambiguous as the 3rd is missing.


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Subject: RE: English concertina 2,3 or 4 fingers
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 09 Nov 09 - 10:30 PM

Thanks, Tootler. Why leave out the F, tho, as that is the subdominant note itself, rather [if you are going to leave out any] than the D, which isn't part of the subdom of C [tho I appreciate it is the keynote of the chord]? Not meaning to be critical - just curious? The answer, of course, is almost certainly that that's the way it works for you, which I can certainly relate to...

Another peculiarity of my own [I am as will be gathered self-taught on this instrument as far as it goes, which isn't very] is that I tend when not playing melody in octaves to play melody left-hand, harmony right, while most players do the opposite, as Tootler observes above; so my effect tends to be more bass-oriented than the usual more treble. Anyone else do that?


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Subject: RE: English concertina 2,3 or 4 fingers
From: Alan Day
Date: 10 Nov 09 - 04:29 AM

MtheGM you will find that Brian Peters plays a lot of chords on the right hand and in general it is not a common practice ,most Anglo players including myself play the tune right hand and the chords in general left. The style you play is similar to that which I play now ,more like a Duet than the push pull of the usual Anglo style of playing. You have to make full use of the accidentals and alternative note directions to solve the air problems and even out the smoothness of playing, trying to avoid the gasp of air of the Air button.
I remember investigating some of the old tutors and the style of chord playing is right hand and left. No set pattern at all,but Oh so complicated. I learnt off by heart one of the pieces from a tutor book and played it perfectly at a Folk Club, the statement I got when the compare got back on stage was "That is how to make a simple piece of music really difficult", I never played it again.
Lots of practice at scales all push, or all pull help to perfect the Duet style of Anglo playing. At all costs avoid the trap that you can easily fall into of slurring one note into the next,a common complaint I have with English System players.Clear note definition is the first step and slurring as an additional tool if you require it. Not the other way round.
The problems of breathing with the bellows direction can also be easily ironed out by smoother playing,this helps when singing with the Anglo. The breathing problem I had was solved without playing the instrument at all,but evenly breathing whilst imagining my playing.
MtheGM we have now completely taken this subject off at a tangent and a severe reprimand could well be the result.
Al


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Subject: RE: English concertina 2,3 or 4 fingers
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 10 Nov 09 - 05:09 AM

Many thanks, Al — & I did apologise in my first post on my anglo queries above for intruding on this thread & nobody has sent the heavies round yet — so we might be OK: touch·wood [which I can easily do while playing as my instruments are Lachenals which are wooden-ended!].

Best in Anglo-dom - MICHAEL


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Subject: RE: English concertina 2,3 or 4 fingers
From: Guran
Date: 10 Nov 09 - 07:28 AM

So long MICHAEL ! Being a multi-instrument dilettante myself I am not isolated in "English-dom" but if you return to this thread again you may need a password and pay toll...

You other guys are excused, what else could you do than politely give some answers, but what about the 'real' topic ? sfmans - no problem found yet? want some more suggestions? Bernard - you never answered some questions?
Looking forward to hear from you !


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Subject: RE: English concertina 2,3 or 4 fingers
From: The Sandman
Date: 10 Nov 09 - 07:47 AM

I agree 100 percent Al[re the English],Clear note definition is really important for tunes,players [imo]should try and leave little gaps between the notes.[even occasionally in airs]
song accompaniment however can be different,I would use both techniques,slurred and seperate.


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Subject: RE: English concertina 2,3 or 4 fingers
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 10 Nov 09 - 08:40 AM

My password shall be =bellows-a-bellyful=. & I shall be happy to pay the toll - invoice me & I shall add a codicil to my will in favour of the EECC {Exclusivest·English·Concertina·Club}.

Tootle-oo = MICHAEL


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Subject: RE: English concertina 2,3 or 4 fingers
From: The Sandman
Date: 10 Nov 09 - 10:02 AM

on the subject of phrasing,anglo players are always restricted somewhat,because even with crossrowing when it comes to playing tunes there are certain notes that they are always forced to play in one direction.
I would advise English concertina players who wish to play irish music,to purchase a book such as Matt Crannitch IRISH FIDDLE BOOK,which I believe comes with a CD now.[mine has a vinyl record]
what I have found is a very useful exercise is to take the polka section,and follow the fiddle bowing[a lot of it is paired bowing] reversing the bellows,with the fiddle slurs[this will be much more difficult for anglo players]that gives you a good idea of phrasing,
The same can be done to a lesser extent with jigs and reels,if the player wishes to do this.PersonallyIfind it works best with polkas and slides
it is always going to be difficult for anglo players to follow fiddle bowing and phrasing exactly owing to the limitation of the instrument as regards direction,although with cross rowing much can be smoothed ou [if thats what the player wants]


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Subject: RE: English concertina 2,3 or 4 fingers
From: The Sandman
Date: 11 Nov 09 - 09:47 AM

refresh.


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Subject: RE: English concertina 2,3 or 4 fingers
From: Bernard
Date: 11 Nov 09 - 11:23 AM

My 48 key Edeophone has air keys next to the thumbstraps (not ideally placed!) which I'm told were called 'bowing keys'...


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Subject: RE: English concertina 2,3 or 4 fingers
From: Guran
Date: 11 Nov 09 - 11:52 AM

Bernard,
Interesting ! Have you never explored the origin and intended use of your air keys? They are in fact examples of an invention attached to James Alsepti according to a patent application 8th July 1885 No8290 in which two "relief valves" are described. In the tutor "The modern English Concertina method by Signor Alsepti" they are named "Bowing valves" in order to be used so that the bellows may be operated more analagous to "bowing" of the violin.
It is noteworthy in this context that Alsepti very strongly spoke against using the finger rests! :... "the pupil should never use the metal plates as a rest for that (fourth) finger". He also meant that each finger 1-4 should operate their corresponding rows 1-4 - which
is dubious in strict meaning since everyone can find that the hand (unless a child's) is wider than the 4 rows of the English keyboard.

So Bernard, why not use your fortune having such an instrument and become a complete master of the Alsepti school of playing?


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Subject: RE: English concertina 2,3 or 4 fingers
From: Brian Peters
Date: 11 Nov 09 - 11:56 AM

Well, since my name has been taken in vain here, I think I'll continue the pro-anglo thread drift.

Yes, I do play right hand chords, but [i]in addition to[/i] chords on the left hand, either when accompanying a song or - in a tune -when chucking in an extra note or two alongside the melody note on the RH. I don't do that thing MtheGM does of playing LH melody against RH chords, though (very confusing!).

In response to Michael's original enquiry:
"I have had people express surprise at my tending to play the relative minor rather than the major of the subdominant on the Anglo [eg Dmin rather than F when accompanying a song in C], which makes for an smooth in-out action, and generally provides a satisfactory accompaniment; rather than the hassle & gasp of constant use of the air-button."

First, according to classical theory, A minor is the relative minor of C major, not D. However, D Dorian shares with C maj the key signature of no accidentals, and can be played on the buttons of the C row of an anglo, so many people get confused. As to substituting it for the F (subdominant) chord, that's something I do a lot, and suggest it to students as well, mainly as a means of providing a slightly different musical colour. Though since both F maj and D min are pull chords on a C/G anglo. I'm not sure why this affects the bellows or the air button.

The other thing worth mentioning is that a lot of Anglo players who haven't sorted out properly what their LH fingers are actually doing, end up playing involuntary D min chords all the time, since this is the easiest pull chord to play on the C row (adjacent buttons 3,4 & 5).

And as to why Tootler leaves out the F in a D minor chord, it's because the 1 + 5 chord has a starker, stronger sound than the mawkishly melancholy minor triad. Not for nothing do rock musicians use the 1 + 5 as their standard 'power chord'. The third has its uses, but my default chords generally avoid it.


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Subject: RE: English concertina 2,3 or 4 fingers
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 11 Nov 09 - 01:06 PM

'A minor is the relative minor of C major, not D'
- of course it is, Bryan; but Dm is the relative minor of F, which is the SUBDOM in the key of C, as you go on to say — & it's subdominants we are talking of here.

'F maj and D min are pull chords on a C/G anglo.'
Actually, no - or anyhow, the F not so easily as the Dm; the F & A are pull notes, but the C is a pusher, in the C row; so to play F as a pull one must drop fingers to the G row to get a pull C, which will be the note just adjacent to the F & so cause finger-congestion.

Why, out of interest, do you find LH melody & RH chords 'confusing'? As I remarked before, you are not alone in this; but I can never work out just why? I just find it gives a pitch more suitable to my voice.


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Subject: RE: English concertina 2,3 or 4 fingers
From: Brian Peters
Date: 11 Nov 09 - 01:26 PM

>> 'F maj and D min are pull chords on a C/G anglo.'
Actually, no - or anyhow, the F not so easily as the Dm; the F & A are pull notes, but the C is a pusher... <<

My default F chord has always been F,F,A - using button 1 on top row and 4 & 5 middle row. True, it disobeys my preference for 1 + 5 chords, but needs must. Though the C on the G row can be added without too much discomfort when you're used to it.

>> Why, out of interest, do you find LH melody & RH chords 'confusing'? <<

Many years of playing the other way - it just feels really weird.

We really must be annoying the English system players now!


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Subject: RE: English concertina 2,3 or 4 fingers
From: Alan Day
Date: 11 Nov 09 - 06:01 PM

I agree Brian I cannot imagine playing chords right and tune left I can appreciate someone having a go at it, but I doubt if I shall ever try it.Your name was not taken in vain by the way you do a lot of right hand chords which are a pleasure to listen to. (and learn from)and I could think of nobody better to quote for that way of playing.
The South African (Boer Music)does use a lot of this style however.

So getting back to the English System subject, there have been a number of experiments with horizontal button layouts ,Henrik Muller has just made his own concertina and opted for a more horizontal approach. With the popularity of the Anglo and Duet layouts I wonder why Wheatstone persisted with the vertical button layout, locked the thumb in a strap and provided a little finger rest that some find a useless attachment.
Al


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Subject: RE: English concertina 2,3 or 4 fingers
From: Bernard
Date: 11 Nov 09 - 08:00 PM

If you have a C/G with a C drone key, a 'full' F chord is a doddle...

Because I'm used to playing melodies in the bass of my 120 bass accordion with chords in the right hand (Blaze Away, Entry of the Gladiators etc), I don't find 'swapping over' on the Anglo to be a problem either... you can do some pretty neat low bass melodies on the C and wonky rows even on a 30 key Anglo!

On the English I prefer to use 'spread' chords, because they sound cleaner - C G C E, G D G B and so on. You also find you can 'hinge' chords around each other quite readily that way - C G C E 'hinges' to C A C F with good effect... and it makes dropping the tune on top a lot easier, too.

A lot of people seem to stick with the lower notes for melody lines instead of venturing up to the dusty keys... when I get time, I'll put the Badby 'Second Morris' tune up somewhere, as it demonstrates what I mean reasonably well.


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Subject: RE: English concertina 2,3 or 4 fingers
From: Guran
Date: 12 Nov 09 - 02:06 AM

Alan:"So getting back to the English System subject, there have been a number of experiments with horizontal button layouts ,Henrik Muller has just made his own concertina and opted for a more horizontal approach".
RE: Both yes and no. What Henrik has done is a)reducing the range to get fewer buttons (4 "horizontal" rows, I use to say "transversal" myself vs "longitudinal")which is about what you can reach with a fixed hand, and b)widening the spacing c) skipping the thumbstrap.
The result is a small Anglo-English, specially meant only for his own needs: playing "Irish" and having a physcial problem with his thumbs.
I may open up another "Thread" on "English design" if that subject attracts some debate - which it ought to - since there are several ways to improve the traditional set-up.

The only "experiments" with horizontal/transversal *english* orientation I know about is Simon Thoumire's playing style rotating the instrument 90 degrees.(He says himself that it initially was by mistake not knowing how the instrument "should" be held) and Harry Dunn (excellent soloist represented on "English International" CD )who also used a similar rotated playing position, and some more. Most of them use "four finger methods" of course.

Alan:" With the popularity of the Anglo and Duet layouts I wonder why Wheatstone persisted with the vertical button layout, locked the thumb in a strap and provided a little finger rest that some find a useless attachment".
RE: The "English" keyboard came from the "Symphonium" when supplying that concept with a bellows and then some parts in the process went wrong.The English concept no question is superior for speed, particularly scales and runs, and in principle for all single line ornated "melody" music.The thumbstrap itself however IS an excellent idea which better should be practised on Anglos and Duets as well!( I can develop that at length...)The finger rest definitely was an unfortunate mistake ( except possibly if being used as intended - for both 3rd AND 4th fingers! and fingering only with 1st adn 2nd)


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Subject: RE: English concertina 2,3 or 4 fingers
From: Guran
Date: 12 Nov 09 - 02:22 AM

Bernard,
I agree regarding the *musical* advantage spreading chord notes but with the English that can be terribly awkward and really challenges the skill and patience of the player. The problem is reaching both low notes and higher ones.It definitely gets easier by using all fingers and particularly choosing keys like Eb with options to use the outer rows a lot.Personally I am too lazy for that and use close-up chords instead, sometimes pressing 2-4 buttons with one finger andthe result no question is muddled or messy - not tonally attractive - but it comes more naturally with the keyboard layout and I interprete that as a drawback from the "system".

Do you play piano accordion or button accordion? In the later case you will know how enormously much easier it is spreading chords with reasonably comfortable fingering than with the English.


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Subject: RE: English concertina 2,3 or 4 fingers
From: TheSnail
Date: 12 Nov 09 - 06:31 AM

Looking at Henrik Muller's website, I can't find anything about the change from "transversal" to "longitudinal" (or was it the other way?). Could somebody point me to the right place? I've been thinking about a similar idea for years.


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Subject: RE: English concertina 2,3 or 4 fingers
From: Alan Day
Date: 12 Nov 09 - 07:13 AM

What I do like about the English System is the ability of holding a note, or chord and be moving the bellows in and out create a vibrato effect, it is of course possible on the Duet, but as yet I have never heard a player use it. The wonderful Tommy Elliott was a master of this style of playing switching from single note to high speed vibrato.He also used this method to perfection playing the miniature. This is not to be confused with "Bellows Shake" that can be done on the Anglo.
I have a video of Tommy playing I must see if he uses the little finger rest.
Al


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Subject: RE: English concertina 2,3 or 4 fingers
From: Guran
Date: 12 Nov 09 - 09:10 AM

The Snail:"Looking at Henrik Muller's website, I can't find anything about the change from "transversal" to "longitudinal" (or was it the other way?). Could somebody point me to the right place?"

RE:I was unlcear.Henrik says nothing about it, I did, and personally I prefer (from anatomy)using the term "transversal" for the orientation of the 3 rows of Anglo and "longitudinal" for the 4 rows of the English."Horizontal" and "vertical" are more topographical to me but certainly understandable too.

Henrik has not done anything about the orientation of the button layout in that respect. He has "shortened" the longitudinal range by cutting off at the top and widened the spacing a bit between the buttons - sideways="transversally"- more anglo-like in a way since the spacing is wider on Anglos than Englishes.


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Subject: RE: English concertina 2,3 or 4 fingers
From: Guran
Date: 12 Nov 09 - 09:48 AM

Alan:"What I do like about the English System is the ability of holding a note, or chord and be moving the bellows in and out create a vibrato effect"
RE: Me too. Some minor objection though:I prefer talking about "tremolo" ( from other musical fields in principle = change of amplitude) rather than "vibrato" (= change of pitch)since in our case it physically IS a change of amplitude. With the violin we can produce true "vibrato".By swinging the concertina around there is another effect which likely consists of a pitch change or reflexion interferrence, I am not quite sure.

Alan:" it is of course possible on the Duet, but as yet I have never heard a player use it".
RE: From memory I think Alexander Prince did some times, have to check.

Alan:"Tommy Elliott .. used this method to perfection playing the miniature"
RE: I do that also but neither wonderful, nor perfect :-)It is easy doing it two ways with the miniature, either fairly slow to simulate "vibrato" or by a real fast trembling "tremolo" - which Tommy Elliott used to practise.

Alan:" This is not to be confused with "Bellows Shake" that can be done on the Anglo".
RE:Hmm, I would not actually make any principle difference between the two, rather see it as different speed of bellows 'trembling' but accordion people sometimes argue about the technique when doing "bellows shake". The tremolo/shake you can do with the Anglo looks like this <<< or >>> which of course can be done with the Duet or English as well, but they can also do <><><> with the same note and that is what you said you were missing in the first sentence.

Alan:"I have a video of Tommy playing I must see if he uses the little finger rest".
RE: I guess he does with a treble.It can be tricky otherwise unless using my cheating handle tricks...I also guess his miniature has got no straps or rests at all but I am curious to know. Lazy as I am I have provided mine with both thumbstraps and finger rests...willingly speaking against my common argument in THAT case since 4th finger can never be used anyway.


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Subject: RE: English concertina 2,3 or 4 fingers
From: treewind
Date: 12 Nov 09 - 09:57 AM

"the F & A are pull notes, but the C is a pusher, in the C row; so to play F as a pull one must drop fingers to the G row to get a pull C"

Well, that's all part of the fun of playing an Anglo concertina, isn't it! Actually not just Anglos - on English concertina and lots of other instruments you have to contort your hands a bit to get the chords you want. It's called suffering for your art, or something...

Anyway, my C/G Anglo has a bottom F (standard on any layout of 30 or more keys, I think) which makes a much nicer F chord. Also a LH thumb button which gives a low C, enabling a really juicy F chord (F-C-A from bottom) that's even better.

And as for the D minor vs. F question - I use whichever seems to suit the music best. Why restrict yourself to just one or the other - the instrument has enough limitations as it is!

Anahata
(Jeffries 39 key)


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Subject: RE: English concertina 2,3 or 4 fingers
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 13 Nov 09 - 03:56 AM

Thanks Anahata. But I have promised Guran that my lips are sealed as to any further remarks re the Anglo!


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Subject: RE: English concertina 2,3 or 4 fingers
From: Tootler
Date: 13 Nov 09 - 07:15 PM

The thumbstrap itself however IS an excellent idea which better should be practised on Anglos and Duets

Rubbish. I never came across anything as uncomfortable as the method of holding the English Concertina. It is one of the reasons why I never persisted with it, the other being that I did not find the left right arrangement of a scale particularly intuitive, though that is something that I could get used to, but the use of the thumb to hold it was horrible.

I prefer talking about "tremolo" ( from other musical fields in principle = change of amplitude) rather than "vibrato" (= change of pitch)

For clarification the Oxford concise dictionary of music has this to say about the difference between tremolo and vibrato:

"...tremolo is the rapid reiteration or alteration of notes whereas vibrato is fluctuation of pitch

(The emphasis is the dictionary's, not mine)


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Subject: RE: English concertina 2,3 or 4 fingers
From: Guran
Date: 14 Nov 09 - 03:27 AM

Me before:"The thumbstrap itself however IS an excellent idea which better should be practised on Anglos and Duets"

Tootler:"Rubbish. I never came across anything as uncomfortable as the method of holding the English Concertina".
RE: I partly agree, I have criticized the finger rest before. The thumb strap itself is something different.
I open up a new thread: "Concertina handles - why different". You are welcome there, "MtheGM" too, and users of any concertina system.

T: "..one of the reasons... the other being that I did not find the left right arrangement of a scale particularly intuitive.."
RE:This argument often comes up, and from 'both sides'. They are of course just as "intuitive".If you wish to separate a diatonic scale   for a symmetrical squeezebox it can be done by alternating the notes on push/pull (Anglo concept)or left/right (English concept)

Me before:"I prefer talking about "tremolo" ( from other musical fields in principle = change of amplitude) rather than "vibrato" (= change of pitch)"

Tootler: "For clarification the Oxford concise dictionary of music has this to say about the difference between tremolo and vibrato:
"...tremolo is the rapid reiteration or alteration of notes whereas vibrato is fluctuation of pitch"
RE:Not clarified at all I am afraid.You find much faultiness in dictionaries, particulary in compact ones of course.You will find contradictions even in larger encyclopedias on this particular matter and surely the terms "tremolo" and "vibrato" have been used differently in history too but my 'definitions' are valid in most cases today. The use of "note" and "tone" often is inconsequent as well but if "tone" means a "musical sound determined by pitch and amplitude" a "note" usually is the same but also added "by a certain duration" and "being described by notation" (in written or printed "music"). Thus better saying "tone" than "note" in this case.
"Tremolo" as being performed by violin or (English) concertina can be this: 1)>>> or <<< and 2) ><><>< .In 2) there IS a break, even if short, between the "iterations" of the tone, in 1)it may be a just a fluctuation of amplitude.In BOTH cases a "change of amplitude".
"Alteration of notes" is sometimes called a "tremolo" or "fingered tremolo" but technically and principally it rather is a fast "trill".

Concerning squeezebox-related errors in dictionaries and encyclopedias one of my prime hobby-horse is the saying: "Charles Wheatstone invented and patented the concertina" ( sometimes 1829, sometimes 1844)- something which strictly speaking is poor nonsense.


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Subject: RE: English concertina 2,3 or 4 fingers
From: Alan Day
Date: 14 Nov 09 - 04:52 AM

This wording for rapid shake of the bellows or rapid push and pull movement of the bellows comes up every time it is mentioned. Whatever I put down to describe one method or the other someone corrects my wording.(not usually you Guran).
I tried to imagine me playing the anglo with a thumb strap and I have seen you play Tootler I am certain after five minutes of rapid playing the skin would be gone from part of my thumbs and after twenty or so years of playing my thumb would look similar to one of Popey's with or without a can of spinach.
Al


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Subject: RE: English concertina 2,3 or 4 fingers
From: Guran
Date: 14 Nov 09 - 05:26 AM

Alan:" Whatever I put down to describe one method or the other someone corrects my wording.(not usually you Guran)".
RE: I don't enjoy nitpicking on terminology matters myself but for an actual question it sometimes may contribute to full understanding and not speaking beside each other and since so different people 'meet' in these fora these little controverses do repeat themselves...
I we all had the same, hopefully reliable, "dictionary" that might help..

Alan:"I tried to imagine me playing the anglo with a thumb strap...and after five minutes of rapid playing the skin would be gone from part of my thumbs and after twenty or so years of playing my thumb would look similar to one of Popey's "...
RE: Have a bet if you dare?...
Do let us continue ventilating this challenging issue at "Concertina handles - why different?" ...!


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