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]   Go Down

Author Topic: Figuring out fingering?  (Read 1381 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Bobtheboat

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 556
  • 'On the cut' near Lichfield, UK
Figuring out fingering?
« on: October 05, 2011, 12:24:27 PM »

Hi all, I've just spent 3 hours on my first attempt at working out a tunes fingering on my own. I've found it 'interesting' and now need a lie down in a dark room! It's ' valse Israelienne' and in the absence of easily available dots I've painstakingly worked out the notes, then with a keyboard layout tried to work out the most sensible way to play it on my two row G/C. I think I've done ok but some of the bases sound a bit off, ok but a bit 'funky'.
What I was wondering was whether there was a 'stepwise' approach to doing this or whether it's just something that comes more easily with (lots of ) experience?
Cheers, Bob.
Logged
'Rowbotham Erika Extraordinaire' (12 bass + stop G/C/acc), Hohner Liliput Bb-Eb. Castagnari Rik G/C/acc

Strigulino

  • The Night Owl
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 933
  • @strigulino on Twitter
    • Strig on YouTube
Re: Figuring out fingering?
« Reply #1 on: October 05, 2011, 12:47:17 PM »

My own experience of working out "the dots" for other instruments is very similar to your approach.

1) Know the tune.
2) Bang about on a piano keyboard until you find a likely note.
3) Bang about in the vague area of the next note until you find it.
4) Repeat until finished.
5) Do same for chords.
6) Enjoy.

I tended to pick up musical theory as I went.  As you say, a lot of it comes with experience.  You eventually find that certain chords tend to be in families with certain other ones.  The main thing you need to work out tunes is a good ear for if notes are right or wrong.  If they're wrong, keep going until you find the right ones.

And of course, as you are finding, sometimes you play it back and you're not happy with one bit of it.  That's why it's called arrangement.  You're arranging the notes and things how you like them.  I never aim to have it sounding *exactly* like the original - it's your cover version after all.  You, and the instrument you're playing on, have your stamp on it.  In the Pop and Rock for Melodeon thread we're having a similar discussion, in fact.  Basically, if you don't like a certain bass, try a different one or don't bother playing one there at all.

So while I can't speak for anyone else, when I'm working out a new tune I do it exactly the same way you do.  I do have a keyboard at home that will very helpfully transpose things - so I can put the keyboard into the key I want to play in but then transpose it into the key of the original - so for example I could play a tune in D for a melodeon key, but what's coming out of the keyboard is in C so I can play along with the original recording to check it.  

But of course, if it's a favourite tune of yours, you're better off playing along to the version in your head because that's the one that wants to come out of your fingers.  ;)

The joy of transcription; there's a lot of satisfaction found in taking a tune out of the air and making it yours.  Like... like you've collected it.  Caught it and tamed it.
« Last Edit: October 05, 2011, 12:59:29 PM by Strigulino »
Logged
~~~~~~~~~~~
The Strig

"World-famous poker player. Give her a good poker and she'll play any tune you like." - The Goon Show
Pets:  Two cats, one husband, a D/G Hohner Morgane, a C/F Liliput, a dark and mysterious anglo concertina, a Streb, a Giordy...

Steve_freereeder

  • Grumpy old git (sometimes)
  • Content Manager
  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 6464
  • MAD is inevitable. Keep Calm and Carry On
    • Lizzie Dripping
Re: Figuring out fingering?
« Reply #2 on: October 05, 2011, 01:04:08 PM »

Hi all, I've just spent 3 hours on my first attempt at working out a tunes fingering on my own. I've found it 'interesting' and now need a lie down in a dark room! It's ' valse Israelienne' and in the absence of easily available dots I've painstakingly worked out the notes, then with a keyboard layout tried to work out the most sensible way to play it on my two row G/C. I think I've done ok but some of the bases sound a bit off, ok but a bit 'funky'.
What I was wondering was whether there was a 'stepwise' approach to doing this or whether it's just something that comes more easily with (lots of ) experience?
Cheers, Bob.
There are basically two approaches to this:

1. Start learning the tune on the RH melody side, finding fingering which is comfortable and intuitive for your style or level of learning. This might be playing more or less up and down the rows, or with some cross-rowing too. It all depends on the tune and what is easy for you. Then, introduce LH chords/basses. Almost certainly some of these will be 'incorrect' harmonically, because some basses/chords/notes are only available in one bellows direction. But they might well still sound good, because this style of playing can be rhythmically very strong and bouncy. On a one-row instrument you've no choice anyway; you have to play 'along the row'.

2. Work out the correct harmonic structure first to get the 'correct' LH basses and chords and then fit the RH melody to these. You will almost certainly end up doing some, or even a lot, of row crossing in order to fit the bellows directions to the LH bass/chords. Quite often, the resulting style can be very smooth.

Each of the two methods are neither right or wrong, just different. It depends on the type of music you are playing and your own wishes. English morris musicians tend to use method 1, and nearly all English and Welsh beginners start off this way on a D/G box, and it can be quite a shock to the system to have to use method 2 for more sophisticated music. Conversely, continental European players on their G/C and C/F boxes will tend to use method 2, and have similar difficulties when trying to unlearn that in order to play 'English' style.

One-row players just get on with it, of course.  ;)
« Last Edit: October 05, 2011, 01:08:05 PM by Steve_freereeder »
Logged
Steve
Sheffield, UK.
www.lizziedripping.org.uk

Strigulino

  • The Night Owl
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 933
  • @strigulino on Twitter
    • Strig on YouTube
Re: Figuring out fingering?
« Reply #3 on: October 05, 2011, 01:07:21 PM »

Going on from what Steve has said, whether you start from the chords/rhythm or the melody depends on what and why you're playing.  If you're soloing then the melody is probably the most important thing, but if you're accompanying a fiddle, say, then having the chords and rhythm right is more significant.
Logged
~~~~~~~~~~~
The Strig

"World-famous poker player. Give her a good poker and she'll play any tune you like." - The Goon Show
Pets:  Two cats, one husband, a D/G Hohner Morgane, a C/F Liliput, a dark and mysterious anglo concertina, a Streb, a Giordy...

Chris Brimley

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 1887
Re: Figuring out fingering?
« Reply #4 on: October 05, 2011, 01:09:28 PM »

All I can say is, keep up the good work!

I personally realised that if I wanted to play with others it's best to learn tunes around the LH chords first, ignoring the linear RH side which is designed to persuade you otherwise!  As you clearly know a thing or two about music, this gives you a headstart.
Logged

Howard Jones

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 833
Re: Figuring out fingering?
« Reply #5 on: October 05, 2011, 10:57:55 PM »

My approach is a combination of the two methods Steve outlined.

I start by playing the tune in a simple way, using the "obvious" chords, until I feel I've got the basics nailed and an idea of how to tackle any tricky phrases.  I then start looking for ways to vary the harmony by looking for alternative chords and bass runs.  These may dictate a different approach to playing the melody on the right hand, if the choice of chords demands a different bellows direction.  I also think about whether to cross-row to keep phrases smooth, or to use push-pull for more rhythm.  I might play the same phrase one way the first time it occurs and another way the second time.

The final stage involves less conscious thought.   Simply playing the tune rubs off the rough edges and I may find that fingerings I'd worked out before don't work so well in performance, while new ideas might come to the fore.

Arranging a tune is a process of evolution.  It might takes weeks, or even months, before I've settled on an arrangement I'm happy with.  Even then the tune will continue to evolve as I play it out.

Chris Ryall

  • "doc 3-row"
  • French Interpreter
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 8185
  • Wirral UK
    • Chris Ryall
Re: Figuring out fingering?
« Reply #6 on: October 06, 2011, 08:19:59 AM »

    You only need to lose sleep about this if you play an across the rows style. Otherwise .. see one-row threads for advice. A majority of notes of your G and C scales are available both ways, not true of chords. You have an F 'drone' and G both ways.  So if you can find the chords first your odds are better than trying to fit a chord (generally C) to a bit of tune you've taught yourself' wrong way'

    .. but there's more to it.

    • Most mainstream melodeon tunes are structured in chords. If you can get the left hand sequence right you'll find the tune is there in little pull or push runs on the right end (zig zagging rows, or 'straight  up' if the melody fragment is an arpegio). Virtually always works.
  • If it's not swap C for Am chord (or vice versa), or play your G or F chord the other direction, twiddle again.  This will take care of 95% of fingering decisions.
  • About half the rest you'll find you can hold a bass or bass/chord button and play one row style - the chord will change but magically stays appropriate
  • The last 2½% ... sleep on it!  ;)

Works for me
Logged
  _       _    _      _ 

Bobtheboat

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 556
  • 'On the cut' near Lichfield, UK
Re: Figuring out fingering?
« Reply #7 on: October 06, 2011, 05:35:18 PM »

Hi, thanks all for your help and suggestions they've been very interesting and useful.
I have some musical knowledge i.e. I can read music but now see I need to mug up on chord structures and harmonics ( if that's the correct terminology).
I had started by working out the melody and then trying to find the correct bass to fit. As Chris pointed out, since I'm learning to play across the rows (with the help of the M&P tutor) I will find it easier to attack the problem the other way around. Hence the need for chord study.
Right then, deep breath and off I go! Thanks again all, Bob.
Logged
'Rowbotham Erika Extraordinaire' (12 bass + stop G/C/acc), Hohner Liliput Bb-Eb. Castagnari Rik G/C/acc

Strigulino

  • The Night Owl
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 933
  • @strigulino on Twitter
    • Strig on YouTube
Re: Figuring out fingering?
« Reply #8 on: October 06, 2011, 05:45:42 PM »

Presumably all you need to boff up on is the chords you can actually play.  There's only a limited amount of chords you can play on the left hand, and adding in some of the basses you can shade them to being different ones.  I have seen a very useful melodeon chord chart for the D/G somewhere on the site for the right hand, I'm sure someone can point you to it.
Logged
~~~~~~~~~~~
The Strig

"World-famous poker player. Give her a good poker and she'll play any tune you like." - The Goon Show
Pets:  Two cats, one husband, a D/G Hohner Morgane, a C/F Liliput, a dark and mysterious anglo concertina, a Streb, a Giordy...
Pages: [1]   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