Melodeon.net Forums

Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
Advanced search  

News:

Welcome to the new melodeon.net forum

Pages: [1] 2 3   Go Down

Author Topic: Tangled fingers  (Read 5425 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Chris Brimley

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 1912
Tangled fingers
« on: April 30, 2015, 12:38:25 PM »

I've been thinking a lot recently about the learning process and how best to fit this with the diato design.  (I'm talking in D/G/Acc-speak.)

I like to learn to play a tune from stave music, starting from the chords, and it has long been a goal of mine to find a way of learning to play so that you can do this relatively easily from sight, while keeping a steady LH rhythm going.  The snag of course is that with diatos there are so many different ways of playing a given pattern of notes, and therefore when you're reading, it's an added difficulty that you have to remember which pattern works best.  If you don't, it's very easy to find yourself with tangled fingers.  Therefore I adopted a system of mnemonics on the stave, to tell me which pattern to use, and I posted about this some time ago.  (What I'd realised was that sometimes it helped to show push or pull marks, v and ^, and sometimes to show the row number to use (ie 1 for the D row, 2 for the G row, and 3 for the Acc row.))

To illustrate, suppose I'm playing part of a jig with the quavers F#, G, E, against a D LH chord.  I could play this in lots of ways, and I need to select which one to use quickly. The first options I would consider could be ^2, v2, ^2, or perhaps ^2, ^1, ^1, or maybe v1, v2, v3. (NB I have a D/E reversal on my third row).  All three of these allow a Dmaj LH bass and chord  against the first and third notes of the run, thus keeping the rhythm going. 

I would annotate the score ^v^,  ^ - -,  or v - - , or perhaps 2 - -, 211, or 123, depending on what seemed to guide me best while playing.   I only do this annotation occasionally, and only when it's not something that is obvious.

So the considerations in choosing which fingering pattern to use are:

1) Do I want to extend or close the bellows at this point in the music?
2) Do I want a bouncy or a legato sound (maybe emphasising the LH chord over all three notes)
3) How easy is the fingering?
4) How easily does the fingering fit with the notes before and after?

The point I'm leading up to is this - as I've got more experience of this, I've found that actually, I've learned to recognise more and more of the runs by heart, and don't need the mnemonics to spot them so much. (l'd still use the system for this run, because there are so many different ways to play it.)  So therefore, I've recently realised that the thing that messes you about most is being in the wrong position.  The more important mnemonic for me to use has therefore changed with experience - I need to show which finger to use so that I remember to change position at the right time.  So for example, if I needed to annotate the last of those ways of playing the above 3-note run. I would now probably just put down (3) above the F# note, which is my notation for indicating I should use the third finger.  I wouldn't need to show (2) and (1) above the next notes, because that's the natural way to play it.

This is all about giving yourself the right nudge at the right point in time as you're playing.  An advantage I've found with this is that if you use it sparingly, you can remind yourself of the patterns just before you actually play them, by previewing the score.

I expect I've lost most people with the explanation, but it's something I thought was worth sharing - I know others use annotations of one sort or another, so does this ring any bells with anyone?
Logged

Matthew B

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 747
Re: Tangled fingers
« Reply #1 on: April 30, 2015, 04:38:07 PM »

I don't use written mnemonics in quite the same way as you do, but I often think in terms of a "magic finger".  Many tunes have a fingering somewhere in them that helps every thing else along.  If the correct finger is on the button in the right part of the music then the rest follows.  If I get it right there are enough fingers left over in the direction I need to go to match the bellows direction the basses and the chords, and everything goes well.  The temptation I struggle with is to rely on the longer and stronger fingers to do the heavy work, and not to press the weaker fingers or even the thumb into service to extend the possibilities of the tune.   
Logged

emcintosh

  • Member
  • *
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 13
Re: Tangled fingers
« Reply #2 on: April 30, 2015, 04:39:30 PM »

My box is a BC, so most of my annotations are reminders rather than decisions (only B and E are available in both directions). But I have found that marking on bellows directions makes playing MUCH easier.

Because most notes only appear once, I haven't had to mark which row to use - even for E and B the bellows direction tells you. I mostly pick which direction the Es and Bs should go by whether the rest of the section is mostly on the push or pull. If it's not too extreme either way, I then consider which direction the bass I want is in (it's generally possible to play something vaguely appropriate for most common keys, but e.g. for CM on the pull I would play the G, for Em on the pull I would have to substitute GM), how to make triplets easiest and bounciness vs. smoothness. And then I look through to see whether I need to strike a different compromise to make it playable / musical.

Most of my annotations will not be the best way of playing on my big BCC# box, where I have all the chords and most of the notes in both directions, and I can attempt John Kirkpatrick's target of changing direction as frequently as possible : p.

I use BarFly to read ABCs, and have abused fiddle bowing marks u and v for the bellows directions.

I don't tend to mark fingerings very often - it usually seems obvious once I've tried the possibilities.
Logged

Stiamh

  • Old grey C#/D pest
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 3096
    • Packie Manus Byrne
Re: Tangled fingers
« Reply #3 on: April 30, 2015, 04:43:33 PM »

Hi Chris. I can't comment very specifically on your thoughts because a) as a 2-row semitone box player I have far fewer choices of r/h buttons (to suit either chords or phrasing) and b) when I do use written music I never annotate it.

Chords do dictate some r-h button choices but these are so few that the memory circuits are not overtaxed - in my case they only involve chords with F# or C# in them (mainly Amaj, F#m, Bm, occasionally Dmaj and rarely Bmaj and F#maj).

However this morning as it happens I was messing about with an unusual tune that involves many more choices than normal. This is because it's in Bm but with a gapped scale - the note D does not occur at all - and the chords are basically Bm, F#m and the occasional Amaj.

Working around the chords in this tune means fingering a few r-h passages in ways are not the easiest option. In the process I find myself making lots of annotations - but not on paper. "Little mental post-its" seems the best way to describe them. My aim is to get the tune sufficiently burned into the neural circuits that any other kind of memory aid is unnecessary. But as I said, I don't have all the possibilities that you do, and chords are not usually my starting point.  :|glug

[x-posted with emcintosh who as a B/C player says some of the same things]
Logged
Pronounced Stee-uv aka Steeve
Senior member at meoldone.net
www.rogermillington.com

boxer

  • Respected Sage
  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 380
  • B/C Pokerwork - ultimate ceili box
Re: Tangled fingers
« Reply #4 on: April 30, 2015, 07:22:33 PM »

When I last had students I messed around for a while with bellows/keys notation but it was cumbersome and not much use on B/C.  For people already struggling to read stave, it raised the bar higher.

More useful would have been a fast-to-read (and easy to amend) notation for fingering groups, because the grouping of keystrokes seems to have a big influence on the ease and fluency of phrasing on semitone boxes.  I suppose some form of numbering above or below the stave might be enough.
Logged
Nuage, Tommy, Cairdin, 
Double Ray DLX 21x12, Black Dot,
Pre-Erica, Pokerwork
plus various stringed things

Chris Brimley

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 1912
Re: Tangled fingers
« Reply #5 on: May 01, 2015, 09:49:25 AM »

I'm interested to see that most of the comments on this have been from semitone box players, because I must admit I'd thought of this as primarily a quint box issue, because of the larger number of repeated notes, and the increased use of LH chords in quint box playing.  I've never played a semitone box, but I always imagined that one of the advantages of it was the very fact that repeat notes are limited, and therefore it was ultimately easier to learn to play one 'automatically', as it were.  It seems from your posts that mnemonics may nevertheless still come in handy.

I've recently experimented a bit with the Atzarin layout, and one of the things it has given me is a different take on the DGAcc design philosophy.  I now have a hunch that the availability of lots of alternative fingerings on the DGAcc, which previously I've thought of as making learning more difficult rather than less so, is actually a hidden advantage that shows itself as a real plus after many years of experience, provided you can get these mnemonics right.   And those advantages I think have to do with the 4 'fingering considerations' I discussed in my OP - these are what create the immediately recognisable quint diato sound, feel and dynamics.
Logged

Chris Ryall

  • "doc 3-row"
  • French Interpreter
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 8242
  • Wirral UK
    • Chris Ryall
Re: Tangled fingers
« Reply #6 on: May 01, 2015, 12:34:23 PM »

I'm actually deeply immersed in such matters just now Chris. Just finished about half of Milleret/Pignol's 2 hour DVD "Aire et Geste"  and it's absolutely stuffed with tips on the physical side of play. So far it's been holding the box, steadying right end, bellows angle, straps, posture, breathing, air button, pressure change, avoidance of button noise, different ways to play notes, how to keep loudness steady, attack, nuance and ending notes, playing with air button haf open, whether to use it on bass or chord and how to let that not affect right end, how to play swing, cross -ow v on-row (both get tips) even ideas on design.

They refer forward to fingering issues (for both ends) and rhythm generation (+/- air valve) and quite a lot more (an hour to go for me). I am fairly confident it'll get to the issues you raise, albeit on a GC system - but all you have to do is transpose it …

I can promise excellent  ::) english sub titles - others are doing german and italian. They do talk Grenoble argot on occasion, and Norbert can be … very fast, but we're getting there. Think it is an idea whose time has come and have learned a lot myself already. 

Please consider this a recommendation rather than an 'ad' - I'm doing my bit de bono, though I might pull in a favour later in the year ;)
« Last Edit: May 01, 2015, 12:36:02 PM by Chris Ryall »
Logged
  _       _    _      _ 

stevejay

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 691
Re: Tangled fingers
« Reply #7 on: May 01, 2015, 04:07:21 PM »

I found all I really need to know is what row I want to be on, especially if the tune is in your ear.

If you know the tune, the push/pull decision is not hard since you have a "target" note.


So I just look at a phrase and think, this is mostly  on the G row, just  2 C row notes to concern with.
If a tune is mostly on one row, I'll mark my notes to cross over as a reminder.
Push/pull is usually implied by the chord.

Anyway.
Logged

Bob Ellis

  • Hero?....Where's my medal, then?
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 2678
  • Ain't I cute?
Re: Tangled fingers
« Reply #8 on: May 01, 2015, 04:50:40 PM »

Both my main boxes are D/G/acc. with reversals for all the notes in the keys of D and G, so I always have two choices of button for each note and in some cases there are three choices. I have gone through much the same thought processes as Chris B and decided that I needed a system that reminded me (and my students) of which option seems best in each situation, so I opted for a line of notation above the stave that tells me the row on which to play the note and the finger to use.

Like Chris B, I also wanted to incorporate something that would alert me about where to change my hand position or fingering so that I don't end up with tangled fingers. Consequently, I use a range of arrows from Microsoft's Wingdings 3 palette to indicate such things as when to 'stretch' higher up or lower down the keyboard, when to 'close up' my fingering (e.g. by playing a note with my first finger followed by a note on the adjacent button using my third finger, rather than my second finger), when to swap fingers when playing two consecutive notes on the same button and when to slide a finger from one row to another. I have found this system works well for me and have received positive comments about it from several students and friends who have found that it helps them to see clearly my suggestions about how to play a particular tune.

Many of you will have seen examples of this notation attached to my earlier posts in other threads, but, for those who haven't, I have attached an example here. The example I have used is Andy Cutting's Flatworld because it uses a range of different arrow symbols. Feel free to PM me if you want further explanation of this system.
Logged
Bob in beautiful Wensleydale, Les Panards Dansants, Crook Morris and the Loose Knit Band.
Clément Guais 3-row D/G/acc.; Karntnerland Steirische 3-row G/C/F; Ellis Pariselle 2.6-row D/G/acc.; Gabbanelli Compact 2-row D/G with lots of bling, Acadian one-row in D; Junior Martin one-row in C.

Chris Brimley

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 1912
Re: Tangled fingers
« Reply #9 on: May 01, 2015, 06:11:50 PM »

Well that worked for me, Bob!  I managed to play the whole tune with chords from that, not having played it before - and I like your directional arrows too.  The only thing I wouldn't do myself is have every note annotated - just the ones that aren't obvious from the context.  However with students, it would probably help to have them all done?
Logged

Bob Ellis

  • Hero?....Where's my medal, then?
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 2678
  • Ain't I cute?
Re: Tangled fingers
« Reply #10 on: May 01, 2015, 06:27:38 PM »

I agree, Chris. If I were annotating the tunes just for myself, I wouldn't annotate every note, nor would be I be so prescriptive about the basses, but it helps students avoid misunderstandings.
Logged
Bob in beautiful Wensleydale, Les Panards Dansants, Crook Morris and the Loose Knit Band.
Clément Guais 3-row D/G/acc.; Karntnerland Steirische 3-row G/C/F; Ellis Pariselle 2.6-row D/G/acc.; Gabbanelli Compact 2-row D/G with lots of bling, Acadian one-row in D; Junior Martin one-row in C.

Andymcmill37

  • Member
  • *
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 22
Re: Tangled fingers
« Reply #11 on: May 01, 2015, 07:53:37 PM »

I've got to say, as one of Bob's students I've really benefitted from this system from starting off as a total newbie to 10mths later getting some pleasant'ish noises coming from my box. Albeit Bob's teaching style and patience also has a lot to do with it too. Cheers Andy
Logged

Chris Ryall

  • "doc 3-row"
  • French Interpreter
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 8242
  • Wirral UK
    • Chris Ryall
Re: Tangled fingers
« Reply #12 on: May 01, 2015, 10:48:46 PM »

Flatworld is an interesting and maybe instructive example. I've played it for about 20 year and for me it is virtually all laid out in right hand chords. They correspond to to the left end chords on the whole, and it AFAIR the first tune I learned totally "form left to right" meaning work out chords first.

The actual tune then consists of - quite a lot of arpeggio, and twiddles on and off the RH chords. I find myself push pulling hardly at all. Yes there are choices eg D on a DG can be played either direction; but one works a dream, the other leads to hard work. And that isn't to me what the tune is about.

"What row is it on" works well in G or Em, very useful in D, but (singing) I am often keyed in C or Bm on my DGaccs, and the RH chords are the basis of that. And, along with A these are cross-row chords.

But that's not to play off written music. I'm not good at that and basically reach" the melody into my head, then use dots really only as an aide memoire.
« Last Edit: May 01, 2015, 10:52:03 PM by Chris Ryall »
Logged
  _       _    _      _ 

Bob Ellis

  • Hero?....Where's my medal, then?
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 2678
  • Ain't I cute?
Re: Tangled fingers
« Reply #13 on: May 01, 2015, 11:53:14 PM »

Thanks, Andy.  :|bl
Logged
Bob in beautiful Wensleydale, Les Panards Dansants, Crook Morris and the Loose Knit Band.
Clément Guais 3-row D/G/acc.; Karntnerland Steirische 3-row G/C/F; Ellis Pariselle 2.6-row D/G/acc.; Gabbanelli Compact 2-row D/G with lots of bling, Acadian one-row in D; Junior Martin one-row in C.

Bob Ellis

  • Hero?....Where's my medal, then?
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 2678
  • Ain't I cute?
Re: Tangled fingers
« Reply #14 on: May 02, 2015, 12:00:30 AM »

I agree, Chris that the aim is to learn the tune and then use the sheet music as nothing more than an aide mémoire for the occasions when I have forgotten how I decided to play the tune (usually after not having played it for a while.)

I am not sure that your comments about Flatworld are all that relevant in this context because I included it merely to illustrate how I annotate tunes. However, I may have missed the point you were trying to make.
Logged
Bob in beautiful Wensleydale, Les Panards Dansants, Crook Morris and the Loose Knit Band.
Clément Guais 3-row D/G/acc.; Karntnerland Steirische 3-row G/C/F; Ellis Pariselle 2.6-row D/G/acc.; Gabbanelli Compact 2-row D/G with lots of bling, Acadian one-row in D; Junior Martin one-row in C.

Chris Brimley

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 1912
Re: Tangled fingers
« Reply #15 on: May 02, 2015, 10:11:24 AM »

I agree with you stevejay about some tunes - the issues don't really arise.  I originally started by adopting your point about annotating which row to use, because (except for very occasional boxes), the same note doesn't occur twice.  I went away from that as my only method when I realised that sometimes a more compact mnemonic was to indicate bellows direction, eg ^ - - - for all pull, and rely on your knowledge of the notes to get your fingers to translate that into action.  (The idea being to give one signal to the brain that defines a run of notes, rather than several signals, one for each note.)

Here's a tune I've learned to play recently using mnemonics, as an example perhaps of a trickier one with lots of alternative fingerings.  I've always liked it, and so I tried to learn it some years ago, before giving up as I found it was just too difficult to remember how to play it to be able to perform it reliably.  Here it is straight, with no mnemonics (and with the chords I've decided I want to play - bass notes in brackets following the chord name, where applicable).  I'm interested to know how others would play and annotate this, before submitting my mnemonics version.  (No fudges! - you've to play the LH as 'boom, - ,chink, boom, - ,chink'  all the way through, ie bass note on quavers 1 and 4, and the (correct) chord on quavers 3 and 6, of each bar.)

Apologies for the poor resolution, btw, I can't seem to find an easy way to attach decent scanned files within the 256KB limit.
 
Logged

Chris Brimley

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 1912
Re: Tangled fingers
« Reply #16 on: May 02, 2015, 10:18:58 AM »

Quote
I find myself push pulling hardly at all.

Just a thought on your comment on Flatworld, Chris - for me the subtle dynamics caused by the occasional push/pulling add hugely to the feel of Andy's great tune.  It's almost an object lesson on how choice of fingering can achieve a wonderful overall feel.
Logged

Bob Ellis

  • Hero?....Where's my medal, then?
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 2678
  • Ain't I cute?
Re: Tangled fingers
« Reply #17 on: May 02, 2015, 01:26:06 PM »

By a happy coincidence, I have just worked out the fingering I intend to use for Morgan Rattler. Having heard Hugh Taylor play it a couple of times recently in sessions, I have been inspired to have a go at learning the tune.

I have attached my notation of how I intend to play it. I should perhaps have mentioned in an earlier post that in my notation I underline the notes and chords that are played on the pull, so by implication those not underlined are played on the push. In the bass line, I use lower case letters for fundamentals and upper case letters for chords. Lower and upper case letters together indicate block chords, although I haven't used any block chords in Morgan Rattler.
Logged
Bob in beautiful Wensleydale, Les Panards Dansants, Crook Morris and the Loose Knit Band.
Clément Guais 3-row D/G/acc.; Karntnerland Steirische 3-row G/C/F; Ellis Pariselle 2.6-row D/G/acc.; Gabbanelli Compact 2-row D/G with lots of bling, Acadian one-row in D; Junior Martin one-row in C.

Chris Brimley

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 1912
Re: Tangled fingers
« Reply #18 on: May 02, 2015, 06:32:09 PM »

Ah, that's quite a lot different, in terms of both notes and chords, isn't it?  Difficult to compare our playing styles, perhaps, because of this?

Anyway, here's my version with annotations.

My nomenclature involves v for push, ^ for pull, finger numbers have brackets, row numbers don't.

I suppose I should also explain that I'm taking certain things as read - as a general rule, I hear this as a bouncy sort of tune, so I'll automatically try to use 'airspring bounce' rather than legato.  This means in general I will be playing a run of three notes as either v ^ v, or ^ V ^, and I would only annotate if not, and if not otherwise fairly obvious.  I only put a few finger positions in, because those were the places where I found I kept going wrong when trying to learn to play it - the rest seemed to come naturally, so I assumed I would automatically remember them.  I do find that if you only put a few in, it helps in emphasising the critical points.
Logged

Bob Ellis

  • Hero?....Where's my medal, then?
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 2678
  • Ain't I cute?
Re: Tangled fingers
« Reply #19 on: May 03, 2015, 12:26:02 AM »

Yes, there are significant differences. I can't remember where I found my version, but yours sounds closer to what I hear in sessions, so I shall have a fresh look at Morgan Rattler tomorrow and probably amend my version in the light of yours.
Logged
Bob in beautiful Wensleydale, Les Panards Dansants, Crook Morris and the Loose Knit Band.
Clément Guais 3-row D/G/acc.; Karntnerland Steirische 3-row G/C/F; Ellis Pariselle 2.6-row D/G/acc.; Gabbanelli Compact 2-row D/G with lots of bling, Acadian one-row in D; Junior Martin one-row in C.
Pages: [1] 2 3   Go Up
 


Melodeon.net - (c) Theo Gibb; Clive Williams 2010. The access and use of this website and forum featuring these terms and conditions constitutes your acceptance of these terms and conditions.
SimplePortal 2.3.5 © 2008-2012, SimplePortal