Concertina newbie: patience, practice, practice patience

Concertina newbie: patience, practice, practice patience

This post is a little about thinking out loud. I’ve been a fiddler of Irish music for many years…have learned most of my tunes by ear. Just started playing the concertina a couple of weeks ago. I can play My Darling Asleep and Rolling in the Ryegrass. I’ve memorized where the notes are. It’s easy for me to play tunes when I read the music…and makes it easier for me to know when to substitute duplicate notes. I want to play by ear, but it is difficult to do it. I think I’ll probably keep fooling around with the layout without music….and practice some with paper…and keep memorizing tunes… Any suggestions out there?

Re: Concertina newbie: patience, practice, practice patience

Make sure you find someone to show you the fingering system so you won’t have to waste time un-learning bad habits.

Re: Concertina newbie: patience, practice, practice patience

there are several different acceptable fingering systems for the anglo.[see the Bramitch tutor]
ChrisDroney,sometimes plays up his G row when in G.
Is it an Anglo?ITM can be played effectively on the other two systems.
In my opinion and from my own experience,simple familiar tunes[not necessarily [itm],are good for developing the ear.
When The Saints,WinsterGallop[english tune] Happy Birthday,Christmas carols,even Nursery rhymes.

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Re: Concertina newbie: patience, practice, practice patience

Its a C/G Anglo concertina. And I am wondering about fingering ‘systems’ I’ve been using index, middle and ring finger and little fingers for the highest and lowest notes. I’ve been using alternate notes to help even out the pull and the push. Is it possible for someone to describe fingering here or is it too complex? I’ve been to concertina.net and other sites and have seen very little on fingering…and only brief mention of the secret Hill method.

Re: Concertina newbie: patience, practice, practice patience

Your home buttons

Left hand side:

Ring finger, C-row, C/D button (first note of D major scale D = pull)

Middle finger, C-row, E/F button (second note of D scale ‘E’ = press)

Wee finger, G-row, D/F# button (third note of D scale ‘F#’ = pull)

Index finger, C-row, G/A button (forth note of D scale ‘G’ = press)

Index finger (same finger) C-row, G/A button (fifth note of D scale ‘A’ = pull)

Right hand side:

Index finger, C-row, C/B button (sixth note of D scale B = pull)

Index finger (same finger) accidental-row (top row) C# button (seventh note of D scale C# = press) Note: some concertinas have this note in both directions

Middle finger, C-row, D/E button (eighth note of D scale D = pull)

When your fingers are resting they should be on these buttons (except for the C#) You move your fingers up or down between rows for alternate notes.

An alternate fingering for the D scale would have your left-hand middle finger moving to the G-row for the B (sixth scale note = push) and then after the same C# as before, you use your left-hand index finger on the G-row for the D (eighth scale note = push)

This is just the beginning.

Re: Concertina newbie: patience, practice, practice patience

Bunratty, I have e mailed you

Re: Concertina newbie: patience, practice, practice patience

Simply, put your first three fingers on the first three buttons on each side for both C and G rows. Use your little finger on the fourth and fifth buttons.

Should several notes in a row need to be played on the 4th and 5th buttons shift your hand a little that way so your 3rd finger can help out.

Initially try to limit the number of buttons you play. Try to stick to the first three buttons on the C row LHS, the first Four G row LHS, first three C row RHS, first two G row RHS, plus C#.

In the end you need to be able to play a scale using all alternate notes. If you can avoid thinking of one row as a home row it will help in the long run. But counter to this, the more you can use the same fingering the less you will have to consciously think while playing a tune you know well but have not played on the concertina before, or not for some time.

The enigma of the anglo is the number of different note paths available, and coping with being forced to use particular paths to play specific phrases. The most pressing of these is the issue of playing C# while avoiding using the same finger for the note before or after, ie. in the phrase Bc#d. The other common issues that force certain paths are the notes on the C row under the overlap ( C/D, E/F), and the single direction F#s. If you were designing an Anglo specifically for Irish music you would extend the overlap to include these notes.

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Re: Concertina newbie: patience, practice, practice patience

most of the key notes in the conventional itm keys are clustered together near the inside of the concertina—-where your index & middle fingers rest. in this ergonomically handy little golden triangle, all these notes recur in each direction—-it’s not an exact mirror image on each side, but they recur. so try to learn them and use that area to figure out ways to play two or more notes in your melody in the same direction before you need to switch, rather than switching every note or so the way one often needs to do playing like a harmonica "along the rows." it will take you longer to get going in the short run, but burning these alternatives into your neural pathways, will pay off bigtime in the long run.

Re: Concertina newbie: patience, practice, practice patience

later, if you want you can get really crazy and start using notes which recur at farther-flung areas of the concertina to really give yourself one-directional flow choices, but for now, it’s worth it to get really well-acquainted with the golden area near those index & middle digits!

Don’t chop

I’ve been playing for about twenty years. It is deceptively tricky.
Learn any fingering system you want to. I use Noel Hill’s system, which makes the most sense. But after years of playing you’ll figure out everything.
Here is one thing to look out for and to avoid - it’s called "chopping." Don’t go from one row to the next with the same finger- don’t go from, say, a G on the middle row to the D on the bottom row, using the same finger. Use the alternate D on the left hand, or use the G on the bottom row.
Email me if you don’t know what I mean.

Re: Concertina newbie: patience, practice, practice patience

Any chance of a quick description of "Noel Hill’s system"?

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Re: Concertina newbie: patience, practice, practice patience

cocus writes: "It is deceptively tricky."

~~~

Indeed… it’s the Rubik’s Cube of musical instruments.

Re: Concertina newbie: patience, practice, practice patience

Does deceptively tricky mean actually simple, because deceptively simple would mean tricky, if you know what I mean. (not trying to split hairs, it’s a real question) Anyway, any description of Noel Hill’s technique would be deleted from this site, in all likelihood, in view of the fact that Noel Hill makes a living from his teaching and he expects his students to keep his fingering system to themselves. Makes sense to me.

Re: Concertina newbie: patience, practice, practice patience

If Noel Hill’s system could be explained in this thread he wouldn’t have a successful on-going school. You can’t describe his system here even if you tried. You have to go learn from Noel himself if you want to learn his system. His system is based on Paddy Murphy’s system. Other people have also learned from Paddy Murphy and his innovations are being passed down through many excellent players. Besides, this really isn’t the proper medium to convey any concertina playing system — you have to seek out people to show you be it Noel Hill or any of the other fine players out there.