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Author Topic: "good to see their fingers coming right off between strikes" (Mr Garside.)  (Read 1306 times)

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Thrupenny Bit

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I don't think the fingers off the buttons necessarily relates to bellows control.
Try pushing a G then B then D, the first 3 notes/buttons in the G scale on push.
You can either push the button without lifting a finer off so getting the notes running into one another or press one button at a time then lift a finger off and this sounds each note individually.
Q
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Thrupenny Bit

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

george garside

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too me, how to 'finger' and how to 'bellow' are two separate skills to learn that together make for greater musicality in playing.

Another point about getting fingers off buttons is that  it is a skill that greatly facilitates the 'playing  the gaps'.  Simply by lifting the finger a bit higher to  kill a   bit of time the gap between notes can be increased or decreased  by amounts that it is not possible to show on written music.  i.e. finger off a tiny bit = just about staccato or crisp , finger ,say, half inch off  very staccato and finger staying on buttons moving towards legato or smooth.

Varying the lift is a technique well worth practising and experimenting with on different bits of  different tunes

george 
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playandteach

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As a clarinet player - and I find some cross over here - the highest quality playing comes from separating the concept of the attack from the concept of the release. At the top end they are really discrete techniques. In fact the end of one note has more to do with the preparation of the next note than it does to the initiation of the note it belongs to.
Therefore any descriptor that says tapping etc. may need rediscovering later on. I'm not against any advice to create awareness (I am seriously aware of my shortcomings as a melodeon owner) but I can't help but highlight the very things that define the timbral characteristics of any instrument - the attack and release of a note.
Sorry if this sounds pedantic - I actually think it is exciting.
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george garside

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 There is a fundamental difference between how piano keys should be used and how  piano accordion keys should be used aand this may also apply to some melodeon players coming from a piano background.  On a piano it is how the keys are pressed that is important i.e to flick a hammer against a piece of wire to creats the sound  whilst on any type of ''aaccordion' ( including melodeon and concertina) it is how the buttons/keys are released that is important as that   regulates the length of a note and not the volume as on a piano, the volume being entirely controlled by bellows pressure

george.
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Andrew Wigglesworth

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Some of the comments and reported recommendations on this thread rather mystify me.

The idea that when you lift your fingers off the buttons or playing notes on bellows reversals has nothing to do with bellows control I find very strange.

In relation to that, I disagree with the comment that you must *always* (note the emphasis) lift fingers from a button before reversing the bellows for another note.

Now, I'm not advocating mushy playing, or not having clear notes or clearly articulated notes and phrases, but, frankly, I doubt that any player actually does this for *every* (note emphasis again) bellows reversal.

Sometimes the string of notes is too quick to release the button and note articulation is done by other means. That means, the attack on the note (bellows control), separating notes or groups of notes with bellows control, and using ornamentation with other buttons to articulate the separation of notes and/or phrases. Very often this bellows control and ornamentation is also done deliberately with a finger left on the button.

I can't help but think about how whistle players articulate notes both with tonguing, but also using ornamentation whilst playing legato.

Another situation is again with bellows technique, and that is pulsing with a momentary reversal of the bellows whilst playing a phrase or a note. It's not entirely separate from what I try to describe above, and sometimes you will release all the buttons on the momentary bellows reversal, but very often a finger or two will be left down with others lifted or ornamenting. Lifting or not lifting gives different effects.

Next is the use of a quick set of bellows reversals as a deliberate effect in a tune. It might be described as a "bellows shake". For instance, I do it in "Billy Harrison's Fathers Polka" in the As. A "bellows shake" whilst doing a fast two fingered arpeggio into a trill. It's not "mushy" (I hope), but it certainly means playing several consecutive notes whilst not lifting the finger and that is part of the looked for effect.

I'm *not* advocating not articulating notes properly, but that stating that one must *always* lift fingers before any bellows reversal (and that these fingering techniques are not fundamentally related to bellows control) is tosh.

AirTime

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Some of the comments and reported recommendations on this thread rather mystify me.

The idea that when you lift your fingers off the buttons or playing notes on bellows reversals has nothing to do with bellows control I find very strange.

In relation to that, I disagree with the comment that you must *always* (note the emphasis) lift fingers from a button before reversing the bellows for another note.

Now, I'm not advocating mushy playing, or not having clear notes or clearly articulated notes and phrases, but, frankly, I doubt that any player actually does this for *every* (note emphasis again) bellows reversal.

Sometimes the string of notes is too quick to release the button and note articulation is done by other means. That means, the attack on the note (bellows control), separating notes or groups of notes with bellows control, and using ornamentation with other buttons to articulate the separation of notes and/or phrases. Very often this bellows control and ornamentation is also done deliberately with a finger left on the button.

I can't help but think about how whistle players articulate notes both with tonguing, but also using ornamentation whilst playing legato.

Another situation is again with bellows technique, and that is pulsing with a momentary reversal of the bellows whilst playing a phrase or a note. It's not entirely separate from what I try to describe above, and sometimes you will release all the buttons on the momentary bellows reversal, but very often a finger or two will be left down with others lifted or ornamenting. Lifting or not lifting gives different effects.

Next is the use of a quick set of bellows reversals as a deliberate effect in a tune. It might be described as a "bellows shake". For instance, I do it in "Billy Harrison's Fathers Polka" in the As. A "bellows shake" whilst doing a fast two fingered arpeggio into a trill. It's not "mushy" (I hope), but it certainly means playing several consecutive notes whilst not lifting the finger and that is part of the looked for effect.

I'm *not* advocating not articulating notes properly, but that stating that one must *always* lift fingers before any bellows reversal (and that these fingering techniques are not fundamentally related to bellows control) is tosh.

Thank you!  ;)

Surely the point is that without moving the bellows the note doesn't sound, regardless of how high or low the fingers are. It's the instant of pushing the button together with the bellows action that determines the character of the note produced. Different (very accomplished) players may have very different styles of finger action, but may still be able to produce a similar range of effects.  In regard to this, I thought of the variety of approaches to piano technique, googled it ... & then quickly realized what a hornet's nest the subject is & why the relative obscurity of melodeons & melodeon playing appealed to me in the first place!

To me, more significant than the right hand is the left hand, as I somewhat lazily started playing using only 2 fingers, which definitely effects the ease & versatility of the bass end. However, there are some very skilled players using two fingers on the bass end - our own DTN for instance & Marc Serafini:

http://www.mondiato.com/D263%20video.htm

And then there's always Django, who seemed to manage OK.  8)
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Andrius

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too me, how to 'finger' and how to 'bellow' are two separate skills to learn that together make for greater musicality in playing...
Both together forms art of playing melodeon.
Legato, non-legato, staccato, marcato and other strokes - all are useful, and every stroke must to find place in your music. Good musicians are using combinations of these strokes, not only one per tune (or per his own style).
All sound production methods must be only a means to the ultimate goal - to reach nice sound of the tune. Your individual playing style must be recipe of all techniques. The best is if it seems right for you, not for me  (:)
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Andrew Wigglesworth

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too me, how to 'finger' and how to 'bellow' are two separate skills to learn that together make for greater musicality in playing...
Both together forms art of playing melodeon.
Legato, non-legato, staccato, marcato and other strokes - all are useful, and every stroke must to find place in your music. Good musicians are using combinations of these strokes, not only one per tune (or per his own style).
All sound production methods must be only a means to the ultimate goal - to reach nice sound of the tune. Your individual playing style must be recipe of all techniques. The best is if it seems right for you, not for me  (:)

True enough.

I was reading the other day some thoughts by a flute player about the changing styles of Irish flute playing and techniques. To summarise, he saw a difference between what he called "emulation" and "copying". His argument was that in the past people tended to learn themselves to emulate the sounds of other players and that this lead to a wide variety of styles and techniques, and that these days there was more of a pattern of copying a set of fixed techniques that leads to much less variety and individuality.

Gary

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I just had a vision of a first aid tent at a festival with a line of box players nursing missing digits......
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george garside

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way back in this thread I was strongly advocating  getting the fingers off the buttons as an essential skill to have in the tool box so to speak and was emphasising it as unfortunately  a significant number of melodeonists  don't seem to have it!

As others have said , and with which I totally agree fingers off is  but one of the battery of techniqes used by good musicians  aand the more techniques in the tool box the better  - provided they are used sensitively according to the needs of a tune or part thereof.

Whether to change notes by bellows or button is another of the many cans of worms in melodeonism and it is a choice that is unique to diatonic boxes.  There are some very strong aadvocated of pressing a button for each note rather than just changing bellows direction but I think they are probably in a   minority but the skills needed to give a choice can be quite handy as the effect is different. 

bellows pulsing,  shaking or whatever also has its place and a technique on those lines that I use quite a bit is what I think of as 'a quick back flick'  This is different to a constant pulsing in that a very short and deliberate 'back flick' of the bellwos can be used to provide a grace note bwtween tune notes ,the time for it being pinched from the main note. for exqmple  the string of G's in Blaydon races can be 'seperated' be little D's just by back flicking the bellwos. similarly the F#s in cock of the north (in D) can be separated by back flicking little G's etc etc. Its much easier to do than to try to describe!

george

george
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fc diato

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Just a footnote :  I've just discovered Millaret & Pignol's 'L'air et le geste' DVD (discussed elsewhere on the forum).  This is wonderfully covered there: attack of note, end of note, lifting not lifting, stopping note with lifted finger vs bellows, different ways to get vibrato, bending notes ...). I seem to remember some were hesitating dishing out money for it ...  I wish I had gotten it right when it came out!  I, t's as good as they say.  (and for those who might be - like me - a bit too undisciplined or short on practice time to systematically go through their method books, doubly useful).
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Ebor_fiddler

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(Aside) @Andrew Wigglesworth. Andrew - you mention Billy Harrison's Father's Polka. I am a bit of a Billy Harrison fan, especially as he lived not far away from me. Do you have a source of his tunes please?

Thanks,

Chris B.
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Rees

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Jim Eldon recorded Billy Harrison. There was a cassette tape issued by Musical Traditions.

Jim would be the man to talk to about Billy.
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Ebor_fiddler

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I've just had a proper thought. Pikey was fairly close to Billy as well. I'll speak to him as soon as he gets back from Nottoway. Thanks Rees.
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My other melodeon's a fiddle, but one of my Hohners has six strings! I also play a very red Hawkins Bazaar in C and a generic Klingenthaler spoon bass in F.!! My other pets (played) are gobirons - Hohner Marine Band in C, Hohner Tremolo in D and a Chinese Thingy Tremolo in G.

Thrupenny Bit

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We've just had a post on last month's Theme of the Month from Martin Ellison here.....
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0viMwaWsnPc
to my mind a masterclass of when to keep fingers on and when to treat them like hot buttons.
Q
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Thrupenny Bit

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

Microbot

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We've just had a post on last month's Theme of the Month from Martin Ellison here.....
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0viMwaWsnPc
to my mind a masterclass of when to keep fingers on and when to treat them like hot buttons.
Q

Hi Q,

I thoroughly agree ... cut and attack interspersed with passages of fabulous fluency.

After exactly 1 minute, the basses/chords come in, and he does the same there ... a mix of punch and soft-touches... what a stunning piece of playing!

Mike R
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Thrupenny Bit

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I've just looked again..... and frankly don't know where to start!
Yes, just brilliant, and it is a particularly odd tune to try and sort.
Q
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Thrupenny Bit

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

squeezy

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Oh dear!

Just like the "row crossing is always superior to playing up and down the rows" mentality that seems to eminate from one single respected source and has spread like wildfire in to the playing community which I got in to quite hot water on here trying to rebuke a year or so ago, this is simply someone "mouthing off" about a preferred technique which can ultimately have a damaging effect on the diversity of styles which exist while playing our brilliant instrument.

Never say never when telling someone how to play a musical instrument.  It's tempting, we all have our egos,  but it can only ever result in a reduction in the diversity of playing styles and a poorer scene for it, reducing creativity.

Firstly there is no possibility in any mushiness between notes on a single button played in two different directions while keeping the finger on the button.  That is pure physics.  If the valve is working properly, as soon as the airflow goes from positive to negative, the valve will stop the sounding reed and the opposite one will start as quickly as it can.  In fact it is impossible to create a cleaner note change more accurately than by changing direction on a single button.

Secondly, the technique of taking your finger off the button between notes has a very different sound and effect to bouncing directly back off the bellows within the tune.  There are SOME kinds of music for which using the finger to start and stop the notes is essential to get the correct sound, but it is definitely not the case for traditional English music which I play.  The few bits of video footage of trad players and interpreting the source recordings shows that keeping the fingers on the buttons is by far the preferred technique.  If you want to recreate the tradition based on Jimmy Shand, Basque or Quebecois technique then I won't try to stop you, but don't try to pretend that it is a correct technique!

Think carefully before you tell people what is right and wrong from a position of authority.  Evaluate your own prejudices before you colour someone elses playing for a lifetime.  There are people out there who currently know nothing, including which style they wish to end up playing.  They want to learn our instrument that is capable of fantastically diverse styles.  I'm disappointed if George Garside or Ollie King have been telling people that their one preferred technique is the RIGHT way ... because it is simply one of many right ways.  Saying otherwise would show lack of experience and would be lazy teaching.
« Last Edit: March 05, 2017, 12:16:31 AM by squeezy »
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Squeezy

Sometimes wrong, sometimes right ... but always certain!

Daddy Long Les

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Oh dear!

Just like the "row crossing is always superior to playing up and down the rows" mentality that seems to eminate from one single respected source and has spread like wildfire in to the playing community which I got in to quite hot water on here trying to rebuke a year or so ago, this is simply someone "mouthing off" about a preferred technique which can ultimately have a damaging effect on the diversity of styles which exist while playing our brilliant instrument.

Never say never when telling someone how to play a musical instrument.  It's tempting, we all have our egos,  but it can only ever result in a reduction in the diversity of playing styles and a poorer scene for it, reducing creativity.

Firstly there is no possibility in any mushiness between notes on a single button played in two different directions while keeping the finger on the button.  That is pure physics.  If the valve is working properly, as soon as the airflow goes from positive to negative, the valve will stop the sounding reed and the opposite one will start as quickly as it can.  In fact it is impossible to create a cleaner note change more accurately than by changing direction on a single button.

Secondly, the technique of taking your finger off the button between notes has a very different sound and effect to bouncing directly back off the bellows within the tune.  There are SOME kinds of music for which using the finger to start and stop the notes is essential to get the correct sound, but it is definitely not the case for traditional English music which I play.  The few bits of video footage of trad players and interpreting the source recordings shows that keeping the fingers on the buttons is by far the preferred technique.  If you want to recreate the tradition based on Jimmy Shand, Basque or Quebecois technique then I won't try to stop you, but don't try to pretend that it is a correct technique!

Think carefully before you tell people what is right and wrong from a position of authority.  Evaluate your own prejudices before you colour someone elses playing for a lifetime.  There are people out there who currently know nothing, including which style they wish to end up playing.  They want to learn our instrument that is capable of fantastically diverse styles.  I'm disappointed if George Garside or Ollie King have been telling people that their one preferred technique is the RIGHT way ... because it is simply one of many right ways.  Saying otherwise would show lack of experience and would be lazy teaching.

At last!  Well said!  I actually enjoy the sound and the feeling of a run of quavers played push/pull push/pull push with only three actual button presses as in The Earl Of Mansfield and would hate to think that this is bad technique. I always say that this is a matter of personal preference and if a player wants to play this same run using individual button presses that, of course, is their choice and is to be respected.
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squeezy

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The more I think about it, the more I get the impression that George, Ollie, and any other teacher implied are being misquoted and misinterpreted here.  Teaching this as a technique is perfectly valid but I think people have a dangerous habit of hearing "you can do this" as "you must never do anything else" in a formal teaching context.  It doesn't take many Chinese whispers before it becomes "accepted practice"!
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Squeezy

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