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Author Topic: C#/D playing tips and hints  (Read 2219 times)

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vsku

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C#/D playing tips and hints
« on: October 11, 2013, 08:51:56 PM »

Hi everyone!

Im a C#/D box player and recently relalized that despite ive played it for about 5 months im more beginner than I was when I started playing it. My playing sounds pretty sloppy and monotonous in my opinion. I can play approximately 50-80 tunes with it but I had a thought that I should start learning the instrument from the beginnings again. I have played music for a long time and G/C and D/G boxes for few years but C#/D is really what i like to do.

There must be some c#/d players here in melnet so im really needing some help out there.
-What is your tip to develop a fluent playing style?
-Do you use different fingers when you tap the same button? One irish B/C player answered "always!"
-How do you emphasize your playing? Tapping the box with left hand fingers? or with just from arm movement
-I read the discussion about dermot byrne. Do you practise your tunes in many keys?
-Bellow control is vital for push/draw playing so how do you keep practising it?

Im from Finland so there's no teachers living nearby. And I have that peter browne DVD which is great and useful for ornamentation but that's just not what i need right now. My goal is to play tunes fluently and with emphasized notes (backbeat in reels :D) without ornamentation. Time for ornamentation is after the fluent basic playing. I can play tunes with ornamentation at the moment but crap with ornamentation is still crap...

Thanks for any help.

Vsku
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Dan

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Re: C#/D playing tips and hints
« Reply #1 on: October 11, 2013, 10:14:15 PM »

http://www.youtube.com/user/ZiziAllaire?ob=0&feature=results_main

is my recommendation.

(Much appreciated by me, anyway)
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Stiamh

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Re: C#/D playing tips and hints
« Reply #2 on: October 13, 2013, 12:54:38 AM »

Here are my recommendations:

-What is your tip to develop a fluent playing style?
Use your magic notes (outer row F# and C#). Use your magic notes. And use your magic notes.
Take a vow not to use your r/h little finger for the next two years. (By the end of that time you'll have realized that in 98% of cases where you are tempted to use it, it's better not to.) Your right hand has to move. A lot. Don't attempt to keep it in the same place. If a passage is very challenging using 3 fingers, try using only 2.

-Do you use different fingers when you tap the same button? One irish B/C player answered "always!"
Not always. But often.

-How do you emphasize your playing? Tapping the box with left hand fingers? or with just from arm movement
Left-hand fingers are for playing basses. Forget about them for a year or two. Left hand and arm for pulse and dynamics.

-I read the discussion about dermot byrne. Do you practise your tunes in many keys?
Do this if you feel like it. It can only help.

-Bellow control is vital for push/draw playing so how do you keep practising it?
Once you get a few basics down, you won't need to practise bellows control. It'll just get better with time.
The basics: keep them on a tight rein, don't let them waggle, use pressure of the left hand to keep the r/h side steady, learn to use the air button little and often.

-Time for ornamentation is after the fluent basic playing
I think you'll need some things that would probably be termed ornamentation to make your playing fluent. Build these in from the start - things like cuts, and repeated quavers/8th notes in place of (dotted or plain) crotchets/quarter notes.

Good luck!
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Chris Ryall

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Re: C#/D playing tips and hints
« Reply #3 on: October 13, 2013, 09:08:50 AM »

If a passage is very challenging using 3 fingers, try using only 2.

Gosh, what a tour de force! I feel even I could tackle a C#D after that (:)  The small excerpt above gets a nomination for quote of the year, a masterpiece of contrarianism :|glug

Welcome to the forum vscu, look forward to hearing how you get on, and some more about Finnish traditions
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pikey

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Re: C#/D playing tips and hints
« Reply #4 on: October 13, 2013, 09:12:21 AM »

Here are my recommendations:

-What is your tip to develop a fluent playing style?
Use your magic notes (outer row F# and C#). Use your magic notes. And use your magic notes.
Take a vow not to use your r/h little finger for the next two years. (By the end of that time you'll have realized that in 98% of cases where you are tempted to use it, it's better not to.) Your right hand has to move. A lot. Don't attempt to keep it in the same place. If a passage is very challenging using 3 fingers, try using only 2.

-Do you use different fingers when you tap the same button? One irish B/C player answered "always!"
Not always. But often.

-How do you emphasize your playing? Tapping the box with left hand fingers? or with just from arm movement
Left-hand fingers are for playing basses. Forget about them for a year or two. Left hand and arm for pulse and dynamics.

-I read the discussion about dermot byrne. Do you practise your tunes in many keys?
Do this if you feel like it. It can only help.

-Bellow control is vital for push/draw playing so how do you keep practising it?
Once you get a few basics down, you won't need to practise bellows control. It'll just get better with time.
The basics: keep them on a tight rein, don't let them waggle, use pressure of the left hand to keep the r/h side steady, learn to use the air button little and often.

-Time for ornamentation is after the fluent basic playing
I think you'll need some things that would probably be termed ornamentation to make your playing fluent. Build these in from the start - things like cuts, and repeated quavers/8th notes in place of (dotted or plain) crotchets/quarter notes.

Good luck!

Superb advice, now I want a c# d !
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vsku

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Re: C#/D playing tips and hints
« Reply #5 on: October 13, 2013, 09:44:54 AM »

Thank you very much Steve! Superb advices! That's exactly what I wanted to know. I've seen your videos and used your recommendations for the fingering postitions and that has been helpful. I think I have lots of other questions about playing C#/D but can't get any of the out now :D

I think someone should do a complete accordion tutor for C#/D because there's none and there's lots of players without teachers and other material...

Vsku
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Barlow

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Re: C#/D playing tips and hints
« Reply #6 on: November 24, 2018, 12:36:55 PM »

-Do you use different fingers when you tap the same button? One irish B/C player answered "always!"
Not always. But often.

I am B/C.

Having weened myself off 4 fingers and discovered indeed that '3 fingers good four fingers bad (-ish)', I wish I had gone with 3 fingers from the very start rather than discover the benefits so late on. I realise 3 or 4 fingers is a moot point and this is another subject.

However, I have recently tried using a different finger when I tap the same button (whether the same note or, same button but change of direction). This has led to me using mainly only the first two fingers. It sounds ok and there is a slightly different rhythm/emphasis, also I find I can play quicker and easily add a few more 'twiddly bits' and even throw in some semi-quavers which I could not have done previously using just one finger on a button. Using this method, I found the third finger is used only occasionally. (4th finger? Forget it, but I know it is there)

Being a beginner (something more than a couple of years) I am not sure whether to go firm on this method of playing. I realise melodeon playing is very individual and this may be a simple case of "what ever works best for you, mate" but I adopted that approach with the 3-4 finger thing and it wasn't really right.

Any thoughts?


ps - sorry to resurrect an old thread but I found it relevant and it did link from a recent thread.


« Last Edit: November 24, 2018, 12:44:24 PM by Barlow »
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richard.fleming

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Re: C#/D playing tips and hints
« Reply #7 on: November 24, 2018, 12:52:14 PM »

Keep the bottom of the grille part of the box (below your right hand) wedged against the outside of your left thigh. That's the only bit of 'bellows control' technique you need. It holds the bellows firmly, and in particular stops any 'slapping' of the bellows. If you do it right you hardly need to press your thumb against the edge of the keyboard, because it's held rigid anyway. The rest just comes with practice. As for three fingers, I think it's just nuts to use three fingers if you've got four. Why on earth would you want to deliberately handicap yourself?
As for ornamentation, the term itself is a bit misleading in my view, in ITM anyway. In many tunes you have to use  rolls or a triplets or some such devices in order to play what are absolutely fundamental parts of the tune. It's the only way to play the tune. There may be other places in tunes where 'ornamentation' is less essential, more of an exuberant add-on, but often a tune cannot be played right without some use of rolls, triplets etc. And sometimes to do a triplet may end up being the easiest way to play a difficult phrase, so the sooner you start the better.
And don't give up, and whatever you do don't go back to DG. You can do so much more with a semi-tone box.
« Last Edit: November 24, 2018, 01:02:17 PM by richard.fleming »
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Stiamh

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Re: C#/D playing tips and hints
« Reply #8 on: November 24, 2018, 04:02:45 PM »

I am not sure whether to go firm on this method of playing.

What took you so long?

Seriously, I would strongly recommend that you develop this method and, once you're very comfortable with it, you can decide when and where to use it. I've pretty well based my entire playing style on this principle (it was the other piece of advice I got from that life-changing 5-minute lesson from a good player in which I was enjoined to junk the 4th finger).

(Of course this is for Irish-style playing on a semitone box - D/Gers please note before expressing incredulity.)
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george garside

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Re: C#/D playing tips and hints
« Reply #9 on: November 24, 2018, 04:15:45 PM »

what others have said plus:

 Forget your 50 to 80 tunes  and  use no more than about half a dozen   for quite some time while you get the hang of playing the instrument!  Use your half dozen or so tunes to practice playing i diffeerent keys i. play them all in D, G, A.   '


As to how many fingers to use I agree that in the main 3 work well but using the little finger should not be entirely ignored as at times it comes in very handy.  On the other hand fast runs  eg as in harvest home works best , for me, using 2 fingers to 'walk' down the keyboard.  NO hard and fast rules but keep in mind that  using 2 or 4 fingers as well as mostly 3 can be useful depending on the tune

george

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richard.fleming

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Re: C#/D playing tips and hints
« Reply #10 on: November 24, 2018, 06:34:13 PM »

Since this post made me more self conscious, I now realise I mostly play with 3 fingers at a time - I use the top 3 when I'm at the top end of the keyboard, and the other three when I'm at the other end, so either the index or the little finger is ready to go when I move up or down. I guess there aren't necessarily any hard and fast rules?
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boxer

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Re: C#/D playing tips and hints
« Reply #11 on: November 25, 2018, 03:53:37 PM »

after years of trying, the best solution to fluent playing on a semitone box (my own are all B/C but what the Hell?) that I've found so far is as follows:

I group keystrokes in a way that helps puts stress on the notes I want to emphasise.  For myself, I find that the first note of a group will be easiest to stress, indeed it almost stresses itself.  Whether it's because of the more distinct attack, as the finger hits the key after the short jump that happens when the right hand changes position slightly to start the group of keystrokes, or whether that right hand movement triggers a firmer, synchronised push or pull on the bellows, I'm not sure.  Either way, it punctuates the flow of notes at a useful place.

If I break keystrokes down into small (usually half-bar) groups that match the rhythm in this way, I then have the choice of applying as much or as little stress to the notes that are most important, and can more easily make the tune flow as I wish, rather than as the box would prefer and if I only changed right hand position when absolutely physically necessary.

As with all rules, there are inevitably points in some tunes at which they can't be applied, and I have to make the best of that situation when it arises, but for most of the time in most of my tunes it works quite well for me.
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Mike Hirst

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Re: C#/D playing tips and hints
« Reply #12 on: November 27, 2018, 09:24:56 AM »

This has been a useful and informative thread. I would concur with previous postings empahsising the usefulness of limiting play to just two fingers. I have used this not just in the context of semitone instruments, but also on the one row. It is common for Abruzzi organetto/du botte players to use only the first two fingers.

A useful exercise I have used when teaching is to run scales up and down the row using different combinations of fingers. i.e index + middle; middle + ring; and ring + little finger. Whilst I would not advocate this as a method for performance, it is a great way to strengthen fingers and to break the association between hand position and notes.

I would also support playing tunes in different key positions. This is great for developing technique, but also develops a more fluid understanding of melody.
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