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Author Topic: "good to see their fingers coming right off between strikes" (Mr Garside.)  (Read 2434 times)

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Edward Jennings

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Not wanting to go off-topic on another thread;

I've noticed this sentiment expressed many times since starting to consult this forum, but I've no idea of just why it is deemed to be good practice, or why not lifting the fingers clear is deemed to be bad practice. Can someone elucidate, please?
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Edward
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Thrupenny Bit

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Re: "good to see their fingers coming right off between strikes" (Mr Garside.)
« Reply #1 on: February 28, 2017, 01:35:39 PM »

I was at a workshop last weekend, run by Ollie King of this parish.
He was saying it is one of his pet hates - not lifting the fingers off between playing notes.
He demonstrated by just running up the G row keeping fingers on, and you get a mushy one note merging into the next.
Repeat the exercise treating the buttons like they are hot, and taking the finger off between each note and you get a crisp sounding note every time.
Q
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Thrupenny Bit

I think I'm starting to get most of the notes in roughly the right order...... sometimes!

Edward Jennings

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Re: "good to see their fingers coming right off between strikes" (Mr Garside.)
« Reply #2 on: February 28, 2017, 01:41:26 PM »

Ah! Maybe that's why I haven't seen any advantage as yet, my boxes have to have the buttons actually pressed for the slack to take up before any sound appears! Haha.
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Edward
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boxer

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Re: "good to see their fingers coming right off between strikes" (Mr Garside.)
« Reply #3 on: February 28, 2017, 01:46:34 PM »

Leaving fingers on keys or not is a matter of choice - either way could be appropriate, dependent on how you want the notes to sound.  As with most details of technique, the trick is to be able to do something or not at will, as opposed to as the dynamics of the box dictate.
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Re: "good to see their fingers coming right off between strikes" (Mr Garside.)
« Reply #4 on: February 28, 2017, 02:24:45 PM »

Taking the fingers off the buttons between notes and treating the buttons as if they were hot is all very well and can make for clean detached playing. But in doing so, the temptation is to hammer the fingers down on the buttons from a distance. That's not good; it can cause excess rattling noise and over time the repeated shock can prematurely wear the action mechanism and linkages.

Keep the fingers a short distance off the buttons, perhaps no more than an inch, and only use sufficient force to depress the button. It's not particularly easy, especially if you have got into the habit of hammering, and takes quite a bit of self-analysis and discipline to change. Practising in front of a mirror can be helpful to see just what your fingers are doing.
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Dazbo

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Re: "good to see their fingers coming right off between strikes" (Mr Garside.)
« Reply #5 on: February 28, 2017, 04:58:24 PM »

I was at a workshop last weekend, run by Ollie King of this parish.
He was saying it is one of his pet hates - not lifting the fingers off between playing notes.
He demonstrated by just running up the G row keeping fingers on, and you get a mushy one note merging into the next.
Repeat the exercise treating the buttons like they are hot, and taking the finger off between each note and you get a crisp sounding note every time.
Q

I agree with Steve but as well I detect a pattern in younger players (is it me or do they nearly all seem to have been on the folk course at Newcastle or influenced by players who went to it) to go for this style of playing.  In some circumstances it sounds good but I find it can get an almost stacatta feeling into the music which can sound a bit wearing to my ears.

My pet hate is people saying (in effect) there are right and wrong ways to play music on the melodeon.  do what appeals to you and not what someone else tells you to do. :neigh:

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Edward Jennings

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Re: "good to see their fingers coming right off between strikes" (Mr Garside.)
« Reply #6 on: February 28, 2017, 06:31:26 PM »

"do what appeals to you and not what someone else tells you to do"

That's been my normal approach to most things, if I'm honest. However, it's a bit of a bummer when you eventually realise that they were right all along, and you have to eat a slice or two of humble pie! (Thank you, Mr freereeder!!! I haven't forgotten your wisdom.)
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Edward
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Microbot

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Re: "good to see their fingers coming right off between strikes" (Mr Garside.)
« Reply #7 on: February 28, 2017, 07:47:40 PM »

Hi Edward, Steve and all,

I'm definitely with Steve on this ... and that's not to take issue with Ollie King who is one of the great young players of the moment.

Virtuosity in playing a musical instrument is a complex business and there are many elements of technique that are at play .... also, it is possible to do the same thing (such as bounce, staccato and attack) in a variety of ways. Hand position, finger playing height, left and right hand control of bellows movement.

Technique is often about fluency and 'economy of movement' ... violinists, pipers, flute players ... sometimes their fingers hardly seem to lift off the string/pad/hole ... but they DO lift/release... they just don't necessarily have to lift far!

What I have on occasion observed is melodeon players who attempt to inject 'bounce' into their playing by slapping their fingers down from a considerable height, generating a lot of fuss and bother and action noise. To me, 'bounce' and lift comes from bellows control and pulse ... not from striking the buttons.

I wonder, with these 'percussive' styles, whether these players are 'driving through' so that their finger action is trying to impart 'woomf' through and into the bellows. But as I say above ... technique is complex and that's not the only way to do it.

If you look at players Like John K and Dermot Byrne ... amazing life and vitality in their playing ... there is abundant lift and bounce but it is imbued with fluency and is not staccato, and with the fingers doing what they need, and no more.

I'm not trying to take issue with the original George/Edward point about lifting the fingers off ... but a measure of caution is needed ... or we'll have a generation of people playing the musical typewriter.

cheers

Mike R
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playandteach

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Re: "good to see their fingers coming right off between strikes" (Mr Garside.)
« Reply #8 on: February 28, 2017, 08:18:14 PM »

There are many threads on this site about injuries. Repetitive strain injuries are no fun, and although I'm an intermediate melodeon player I have got some experience on the clarinet and piano. Lifting overly high (when Steve says an inch - I'd consider that high) does lots of things: increases the impact; delays the reaction time; makes tendons travel further in their sheath (apologies if the actual mechanics is wrong, but you know what I mean) and makes the muscles the boss of the music.
As usual it could be that we are all saying similar things but with different points to prove.
I am really keen on precision of movement (on the instruments I can play well) and on control of detail including attack and note length - but I can't see how these are helped by big movements. Control of releasing the buttons is equally important - taking your finger off loudly can achieve a lot with the sound, I find. If you are stabbing at the buttons, the release isn't a controlled decision.
Of course there are great players with unconventional techniques, but Steve Higgins wouldn't be a good technical role model for snooker players. I'm not telling people not to do the high lifting thing for themselves, but I am suggesting that we shouldn't be advocating it as best practice.
It's like a table tennis shot, a big swing doesn't translate necessarily into a fast shot.
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Edward Jennings

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Re: "good to see their fingers coming right off between strikes" (Mr Garside.)
« Reply #9 on: February 28, 2017, 08:21:15 PM »

"we'll have a generation of people playing the musical typewriter."

Someone on here's ahead of the game, already she's............

"Sideways typing on the wooden handbag (now with added electric typewriter)."
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Edward
Windy Nook.
Hohner 1600 D/G. Hohner 114's in C & G. Hohner 1140 in C. International One Row 2 voice in D. National Band (mainly) 3 stopper in G, low notes with 4th button start, 4 spoon bass, and ergonomic keyboard. 17 button 8 bass, bandoneon tuned, Squirrel with stops for both treble voices in C/F. Plus projects and parts of projects.
http://ourluxorflat.blogspot.co.uk/

Bob Ellis

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Re: "good to see their fingers coming right off between strikes" (Mr Garside.)
« Reply #10 on: February 28, 2017, 09:08:58 PM »

Surely, the important thing is not how high you lift your fingers off the keyboard, but "playing the spaces between the notes." In some tunes and styles these gaps are essential (e.g polkas), whereas in others they can detract from the lyric quality of the tune (e.g. some waltzes and mazurkas.) These spaces between the notes can be achieved by bellows control and/or fingering technique, but varying the length of the spaces within and between tunes is an important way of putting expression, feeling and life into a tune.
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Re: "good to see their fingers coming right off between strikes" (Mr Garside.)
« Reply #11 on: February 28, 2017, 10:06:07 PM »

Thank you Bob, that was another comment from the workshop at pretty much the same time - put air round each note!
No it doesn't mean hammering the buttons, but a crisp sound is good, but not all the time, every tune.
Ollie also mentioned a past master of crisp playing, a certain Bob Cann of almost my home parish who certainly did not go to Newcastle to learn to play!
Another comment from the workshop was there is no right or wrong, so no one is laying down the law, just talking melodeons .... Like you do.
Q
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Thrupenny Bit

I think I'm starting to get most of the notes in roughly the right order...... sometimes!

Tony Smith

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To be fair to Ollie (I was also at his excellent workshop in Lewes), I don't think he was suggesting that you had to lift you fingers way off the buttons.  His 'pet hate', as I understand it, was leaving the button pushed when moving between push and pull on consecutive notes and allowing notes to run into each other when you have no intention to do so - creating a mushy sound.  His line was that the keyboard was not going to go anywhere and that you did not have to keep all fingers touching the keys all the time - let it go.  His playing was certainly not 'staccato' (except when he wanted it to be).
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JimmyM

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I too was at the Ollie King workshop in Bodmin last Saturday and very good it was too. My favourite quote was 'learn the notes on your instrument' and realising that most of us there probably only knew where about half the notes were  :-[

I think in the early days of box playing there can be a tendency to slur all the notes into one another. So developing the 'press & release' technique early on can help with clarity later on especially when tunes get up to (and beyond (:) ) speed.

Anyhow HUGELY misquoting a Zen master but 'Sweethearted one, develop slurring and non slurring. Then leave both aside and just play'  ;)
Slightly digressing but Ollie came out with some very wise stuff for such a young man.
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Thrupenny Bit

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Thanks to both Tony and Jimmy for the comments and helping to clarify mine.
Yes totally agree on your points made.
..... and Jimmy, I now know who you are! Thanks for a brilliant morning, both inspiring and a lovely welcome from your gang. The thoughts from the workshop are still dropping out of the ether.
cheers
Q
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Thrupenny Bit

I think I'm starting to get most of the notes in roughly the right order...... sometimes!

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..... and Jimmy, I now know who you are! Thanks for a brilliant morning, both inspiring and a lovely welcome from your gang.
Was good to meet you too and put a face to the name. Though if we'd known you were from over the border.... ;)
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Thrupenny Bit

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'zackly  >:E
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Thrupenny Bit

I think I'm starting to get most of the notes in roughly the right order...... sometimes!

Dazbo

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His 'pet hate', as I understand it, was leaving the button pushed when moving between push and pull on consecutive notes and allowing notes to run into each other

Never understood how holding in a treble button when changing bellows directions could allow notes to run into each other.  As much as I've tried the suck reeds only sound on suck and the blow reeds only sound on blow and no waggling of the bellows changes that but perhaps I'm missing something and it is possible to get the bellows to suck in and expell air at the same time >:E

I don't think lifting the fingers off the buttons necessarily solves any problems - if you play the next note to close to the previous one it can sound mushy, doesn't matter how far your finger has had to move to sound the note.
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george garside

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since playing crisply with air (not miles of it!) between finger and button takes some time to get the hang of I suggest that it is useful to take the time and effort required so to do. playing (?legato) with ringers resting lightly on buttons is much easier and requires less learning  . the important thing is to be able to do both  as one or other may best suite a particular tune or even a particular part of a particular tune!

As to 'hammering' the buttons such a ?technique is never required and should not be used as an alternative to lightly tapping the buttons.

Even on humble pokerworks the buttons do not need to be pressed down the holes  as quite a small 'press distance'' is all that is required to lift the pallet far enough off its hole to provide enough air flow for full volume , the volume control being completely down to bellows techniqure rather than trying to make buttons vanish doen their own orifices!

And the same goes for the bass as well.

george
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His 'pet hate', as I understand it, was leaving the button pushed when moving between push and pull on consecutive notes and allowing notes to run into each other

Never understood how holding in a treble button when changing bellows directions could allow notes to run into each other.  As much as I've tried the suck reeds only sound on suck and the blow reeds only sound on blow and no waggling of the bellows changes that but perhaps I'm missing something and it is possible to get the bellows to suck in and expell air at the same time >:E

I don't think lifting the fingers off the buttons necessarily solves any problems - if you play the next note to close to the previous one it can sound mushy, doesn't matter how far your finger has had to move to sound the note.
[/quote]

Yes - surely it's all about bellows control really? People may develop different styles of playing - some very dramatic & vigorous, others much more understated - but the key  is the moment of interplay between button & bellows.

The other thing I notice is that the approach to the buttons/bellows does depend somewhat on the nature of the instrument being played - the button action & the resonance of the reeds.
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