Playing in Eb

Playing in Eb

Beginning to learn a tune in Eb but is notoriously difficult for the piano box! Any tips out there? Thanks M

Re: Playing in Eb

Transpose it. Otherwise you’ll have issues playing it with others, aside from making life difficult for yourself.

Posted by .

Re: Playing in Eb

Take some tunes you know in D and play them up a half step for learning purposes. Then add in your new tune when you feel better about the key.

Posted by .

Re: Playing in Eb

Are you learning it from a recording? It’s fairly common for recordings to be made with instruments tuned up to Eb, but in most situations the tunes would normally played a half step down from there, with instruments tuned to D. I don’t actually know of any Irish tunes composed in Eb and played that way normally.

There are lots of different applications that can re-tune an audio file down a half step for you.

Re: Not Intending Discomfort For Others

This is purely a challenge for me- not intending to torture people by playing it at a session.

Re: Playing in Eb

If you’re playing a piano box, just practice your Eb scales - 3 flats. That should take care of the right hand: I don’t know what goes on in the left hand with a piano box, but the 3-chord trick could possibly cover many tunes, so Eb, Ab, Bb. (and if you need any relative minors, then Cmin, Fmin, Gmin)
I play a B/C button accordion and do try to play in any key (usually when playing along with singers who put the capo on their guitars on certain frets). As I also play guitar, I can usually work out which key they are in (unless they are in DADGAD or some other open tuning!) But first fret G chords - i.e Ab, really does defeat me!
Challenges are good!

Re: Playing in Eb

Thanks Trish! In terms of bass, it’s really the same as anywhere else, just moved down the box!

Re: Playing in Eb

Eb is an awful key on most stringed instruments - experienced fiddlers of my acquaintance would complain bitterly if asked to play it, me I’d just put a capo on the 1st fret and play in D or pick up my one Eb harp. Lazy, taking the easy way out? Yes, guilty, but life’s too short for some things…………………

Re: Playing in Eb

"Eb is an awful key on most stringed instruments"

It’s great on the harp/clarsach although many Scottish players tune to Ab including The Clarsach society but that’s where levers come in handy. :-)

If you wish to play with Highland pipers, it’s a useful key too. On fretted instruments, I cheat with the capo but playing as if in "D" (and related keys) is good as I don’t need to alter my playing style too much. Fingering is the obvious thing but droning effects, ornaments come into consideration too.

I’m reluctant to tune my fiddle up a semi tone although many do quite successfully and safely. However, I can play most of the slower and easier tunes in E flat etc although I obviously need to use different fingering.

I believe you can buy fiddle capos too although I don’t know too much about these.

As for piano accordion, I’m a little out of practice as it’s been hard enough to lift the thing over the last few months but I’ll get back into it soon. In my experience, most keys are fairly manageble once you get used to them. Often the black notes are easier…
As for the basses, while this can be as complicated or advanced as you wish, the same principle applies whatever key you are in. The fingering is the same but you just need to move further up or down the keyboard.

Re: Playing in Eb

Fiddle capo….. bent matchstick trimmed down with a penknife …… enjoy

Re: Playing in Eb

Take up the tin whistle? 8)) Then you can play in virtually any key, no need to learn new fingerings!

David

Re: Playing in Eb

Eb is a doddle on fiddle.

Re: Playing in Eb

And on Bb/Eb box as well of course!

Re: Playing in Eb

‘Eb is a doddle on the fiddle’ -I know fiddlers, good fiddlers too, who wouldn’t agree - and its horrible on the mandolin, same fingering!

Re: Playing in Eb

If you learn a tune which is normally played in Eb or whatever and learn it from scratch that’s usually OK.

It’s transposing tunes already learned in other keys at short notice which can sometimes be an issue. Easier to cheat. :-)

Re: Playing in Eb

I ‘ve never had cause to learn a tune in Eb, they’re rare enough anyway - but I used to play in a band where
the singer would pitch songs in that key - ‘could you not take it down a semitone to D or up to E’ but no it had to be Eb…………

Re: Playing in Eb

"Take up the tin whistle?"

That is really not going to help Michael if his aim is to challenge himself on the accordion. ;-)

I play klezmer on piano accordion, which involves a lot of playing in flat keys (although mostly only one or two flats). In fact, it actually foxes me sometimes when I have to play in keys like D major becase I am not used to it. So that’s it, really - you just need to get used to it.

As trish santer says, practice your Eb scale (and perhaps all the arpeggios in that key - Eb, Fm, Gm etc…). Also, the advice to transpose familiar tunes (from any key) into Eb is good, since it breaks the challenge down into stages - by applying familiar note patterns to an unfamiliar key layout, you get to familiarise yourself with the different layout, using a variety of note permutations, finding as you go the fingerings that work.

I don’t know where you’re at in terms of keyboard technique, whether you have had any formal piano tuition etc. But, assuming a blank slate, the key points (no pun intended) for playing an Eb major scale are:
1. Start with 2nd (index) finger
2. Thumb on F
3. Thumb on C
4. Eb in next octave played with 3rd finger

Have fun!

Re: Playing in Eb

BTW Joe McKenna used to make and play uilleann pipes in Eb.

Re: Playing in Eb

The vogue is to play Irish reels super-fast. And that could be a drag on black keys.
Jimmy Keane has a "flat" piano accordion. Or maybe he has a piano accordion with changeable reeds. But regardless, he told us in a workshop he uses a flat PA to play in "black" keys. I guess, precisely because of the awkwardness of playing on the black keys.

Of course, switch to Chromatic Button Accordion and this entire issue vanishes, … pouf!