Concertina fingering

Concertina fingering

Hi,

I’m trying to figure out the fingering for below middle C on the concertina, and am running out of fingers (I’ve been playing it about two years). I’ve been playing Hardiman the Fiddler in C to try to figure it out. I’m okay until I get to the A, then I get stuck. Any ideas? Here’s a bit of what I’ve been playing.

X: 1
T: Hardiman The Fiddler
M: 9/8
L: 1/8
R: slip jig
K: Cmaj
|:D2C B,G,A, B,2C|E2E DCD FDC|D2C B,G,A, B,2C|DGG GAG FDC:|

Thanks.

Re: Concertina fingering

It’s probably easier on an english……..

Re: Concertina fingering

It would help all to know what exactly you’re playing, meaning the instrument…

Re: Concertina fingering

Sorry 🙂 It’s a 30 button anglo. No English concertina, though it might be easier.

Re: Concertina fingering

It has to be an Anglo, an EC player wouldn’t ask, and 30/36/38 key instruments are the same below Mid C except for the D or A option at the bottom of the G row. It could still be a G/D or Bf/f though.

My inexperienced method is to use the fourth finger on all of the buttons at the bottom of the C and G rows, both on the bottom buttons and the next ones up, with the exception of the Push A on the accidental row, which I play with the ring finger.

The alternative is to develop a second position for the hand, similar to what violin players call "first position". That is, move the hand, reassign the fingers/buttons and look for the moment to put the hand back to the original position. I’d be interested in hearing how people do this.

I said I am inexperienced because while I have been playing for almost a decade I have very rarely had the chance to watch other players in the flesh. I avoided low tunes for a long time but now I have a concertina that is fast in the bass I am picking them up. Last night I started on "Jug of Punch".

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Re: Concertina fingering

B,G,A, B, …

B, … fourth finger C row

G, … change direction same button,

A, … ring finger accidental row A,

B, … back to the fourth finger on the fourth button…

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Re: Concertina fingering

You might find it easier to use the low A with the little finger. It is on the G row, last button on the left. If you are going that low then you need to develop a facility with both As. It isn’t hard. Play Lads of Laoise and other tunes that involve both As and you’ll see how quickly it becomes intuitive to use on or the other of the low As.

Re: Concertina fingering

ha I actually moved my low ‘A to be middle finger accidental row to match the E A relationship between the C and G rows. Am I a big cheater or what? I just really wanted to be able to hit that note effortlessly for Tuttle’s reel.

Re: Concertina fingering

i agree with cag on this one. by my reckoning, i have learned over 70 tunes note for note from noel hill over the last 7 years. this is the fingering pattern he would use in this situation, based on the same pattern occuring in many tunes.

i also agree with david that the pinky A is useful in many other situations, especially from D to low A,. david, what is your solution for the B,G,A,G, combination? the only way to use pull A, that i can see is to use push B, with the pinkie finger and then push G with the ring finger. i guess it works, but it’s an awful lot of second position, compared to just one note

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Re: Concertina fingering

Over time my experience has been that I tended first to try to line up lower notes in the same direction so as to play fast enough, but now I am thinking of phrasing and also of setting myself up for the next note rather than just coping with this one.. A little like that moment in billiards (or pool) where you realise the definition of a good shot has to include leaving the cue ball where you want it for the next shot.

All this as preamble to say, the draw A is the easy choice for me, but not the best choice.

A person used to a hand position reset method might have a different experience. Re-reading I see this is close to what Daiv is saying.

I might be more into a second position method if I could work out some standardised rule for when to get out of it. As it is I think, if I have to remember a different place to get out of a reset hand position for every tune then I may as well just remember a bunch of idiosyncratic notes…

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Re: Concertina fingering

Much depends upon the size of the hand and fingers.

Re: Concertina fingering

Due to the archaisms of my concertina’s layout, I ONLY have the accidental-row push-A - my low inside row button is a D draw, B push. What this has taught me, however, is that the accidental press A is never imposible to get to, as long as you’re flexible about your route. You can use your pinky or ring finger for it, from your regular hand position, as long as you approach from the right place, and since there are so many redundant buttons, all you need to do is think about the tune and figure it out in advance. Even sequences of low notes can be done - I can play the Gmaj scale in octaves without thinking about it now. Just took some getting used to the GABC portion.

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Re: Concertina fingering

I wouldn’t start out learning this tune in C, I suggest playing it in D since it’s much easier and I think it’s more commonly played in D. It also lends itself better regarding ornamentation. If you choose to play it in C, I say David nailed it suggesting using the low A on the G row with your pinkie.

Daiv asks: "what is your solution for the B,G,A,G, combination?"

I would go from the B, C-row, ring finger (press) > low A, pinkie, G-row (press) > G, ring finger, C-row (press) > A, third-row, middle finger (press) > A on G-row, pinkie (press) and back to C on the C-row (press).

Re: Concertina fingering

Sorry… I reread that and my map isn’t right. I’ll try again.

I would go from the C, C-row, ring finger (press) > low B, pinkie, G-row (press) > G, ring finger, C-row (press) > A, third-row, middle finger (press) > B on G-row, pinkie (press) and back to C on the C-row, ring finger (press).

Re: Concertina fingering

Hey, that works for me..!

In general I find C a hard key; until I got a faster concertina I was always defeated by the relentless in/out you are forced into around the LHS E and F. One day I am going to have a 34 key with these notes reversed, also the LHS C and the F#.

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Re: Concertina fingering

cag: Tell me more about this fast-in-the-bass concertina of yours?

Re: Concertina fingering

It is sufficiently fast that the bass notes arrive before you start playing. This is handy when you can’t think what to play, as it tells you what you would have played if you could have thought of it, and you can start with that…

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Re: Concertina fingering

It probably has little relation to this tune, but it might be worth noting that Noel Hill has an extra low A on at least a few of his concertinas, the lowest pull on the accidental row (normally sounding F).