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Author Topic: A question for B/C players  (Read 4804 times)

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meltzer

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A question for B/C players
« on: August 31, 2008, 05:19:51 PM »

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TomB-R

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Re: A question for B/C players
« Reply #1 on: August 31, 2008, 05:47:10 PM »

To my mind getting a grip on B/C and the like without brain-pain is all about fingering shapes, so for a Dmaj scale on the B/C you can have D on the draw, then a cross row triangle on the push which gives you E F# G, then one button leading into another triangle, all on the draw, which gives A B c# d.

With all the half-step layouts you have two "magic notes" which you have in both directions, B and E on the B/C, so you have options for those.

The layout charts on this site show it all nicely.
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george garside

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Re: A question for B/C players
« Reply #2 on: August 31, 2008, 07:13:44 PM »


just learn the keyboard layout thoroughly. Then think of the C row as being like the white notes on a piano keyboard & the B row as the black notes. Scales (& of course tunes) can then be played mainly on C row crossing to B row for F'# if in G, F# & C# for D and F# C# & G# for A., as already mentioned there are two each of the note E & B, occuring in opposite bellows direction. To begin with ignore these particularly if playing in CGD. i.e. use the E & B on the C row.  If playing in A it is useful to use the push B on the B row asthe alternative of choice so as to keep bellows fairly 'tight'.    As experience is developed the alternative B & E can be used  in whatever way you prefer. The important thing is to know where each note is & the bellows direction in which it is obtained rather than thinking in terms of triangles ,rectangles or any other angles.

george
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meltzer

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Re: A question for B/C players
« Reply #3 on: August 31, 2008, 07:26:00 PM »

Thanks for that, both. The piano keyboard analogy makes a lot of sense. Mind you, so does the "shapes" thing  ;). I've looked at B/C fingering charts, with a mixture of  :o and  ???. I suppose I've looked at them thinking "OK, so how would I play a simple tune on that?" (I mean a really simple tune -- summat like Blaydon races
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george garside

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Re: A question for B/C players
« Reply #4 on: August 31, 2008, 09:09:21 PM »

Thanks for that, both. The piano keyboard analogy makes a lot of sense. Mind you, so does the "shapes" thing  ;). I've looked at B/C fingering charts, with a mixture of  :o and  ???. I suppose I've looked at them thinking "OK, so how would I play a simple tune on that?" (I mean a really simple tune -- summat like Blaydon races

playing blaydon races in A on a DG box  (D row)is more or less the same as playing in G on a BC exept that its actualy easier to do G on a BC because the F# on the BC is in the right place as far as fingering goes  whereas the G# on aa Dg box is usually first button at chin end, best reached with thumb when playing in A. -  But it will give you a bit of the 'feel' of playing a semitone box. Similarly cock of the north in  A on Dg box is exactly the same as in G on a BC  box because it is G#less! & therefore is played on the C or D rows respectively with no notes being required from elsewhere - again it will give you the 'feel' of a semitone box.

george
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TomB-R

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Re: A question for B/C players
« Reply #5 on: August 31, 2008, 10:40:58 PM »

The important thing is to know where each note is & the bellows direction in which it is obtained.

george

Does this method work with a non-music-reading, "wholly by ear" approach to the box? It sounds quite formalised.
Tom
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george garside

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Re: A question for B/C players
« Reply #6 on: August 31, 2008, 11:25:41 PM »

The important thing is to know where each note is & the bellows direction in which it is obtained.

george

Does this method work with a non-music-reading, "wholly by ear" approach to the box? It sounds quite formalised.
Tom

yes!  it helps to navigate a route up & down the keyboard  in different keys . i.e. C  (or for that matter B) is a staight road up (or down) the row whilst all other keys consist of   part of the same road  with one or more deviations (onto the other row).  It helps if non readers ( & most do) know the names of the notes of the scales they wish to play e.g. scaale of G is GABCDEF#G.   so starting on G its plod up the C row deviating onto the B row for F#  - and if you know exactly what note is where on the keyboard deviating for F# (or any other sharp) is dead easy.  My advice for what its worth is to forget 'patterns of fingering'  and learn to naavigate. Incidentaly I find it much easier to read the dots onto a BC (or BCC#) keyboard than  DG because on the semitone box  the notes are always in the same direction  irrespective of key  so its much easier to learn their location. Or something like that !

george
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meltzer

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Re: A question for B/C players
« Reply #7 on: September 01, 2008, 12:41:37 AM »

Thanks again, George -- particularly for the "worked example" of Blaydon races. What I'm wondering now (having had a good old look at the fingering charts again) is how come the B/C box has a reputation for being easier to play "fast"? Like for instance, there's no D on the push (unlike on my trusty old Corona II A/D/G box  ;)), which would seem a bit of a drawback for all those tunes in G that start on a D note.  Sorry for harping on, but I do have an unhealthy interest in other systems -- I spend an inordinate amount of time poring over fingering charts for the various Duet systems on the concertina forums too.  :-[
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george garside

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Re: A question for B/C players
« Reply #8 on: September 01, 2008, 09:57:29 AM »

Thanks again, George -- particularly for the "worked example" of Blaydon races. What I'm wondering now (having had a good old look at the fingering charts again) is how come the B/C box has a reputation for being easier to play "fast"? Like for instance, there's no D on the push (unlike on my trusty old Corona II A/D/G box  ;)), which would seem a bit of a drawback for all those tunes in G that start on a D note.  Sorry for harping on, but I do have an unhealthy interest in other systems -- I spend an inordinate amount of time poring over fingering charts for the various Duet systems on the concertina forums too.  :-[

this does not creat any problem as the  semitone box is played quite differently to eg the ADG. On the ADG it is common to do most of the tune on the diatonic row of the appropriate key  borrowing notes here & there in a fairly illogical fashion off other rows  to perhaps make fingering easier or to 'smooth ' the proceedings ( which can be done anyway on the row with good bellows control.)  As  the BC is chromatic and intedded as such whereas the DG & ADG only have  limited ability to play in a few other than the home diatonic keys  the thinking behind playing is different.  On the dg etc it is a question of which row do I play on & what if any scope or desire is there for 'cross rowing' and developing playing from that starting point.  On the semitone boxes its  much more piano like in that the C row is the main route up & down the keybord & all other keys are based on variations of the key of C. (there are only 2 notes available in either direction.)  The BCC# is similar & should be learned using only the bc rows until fairly competant on these - the inside row can then be brought into play in much the same way as the 4th row on a 4 row continental chromatic i.e. to ease tricky bits of fingering . It is also used to prevent the bellows going out far but most bcc# players do most of the business on the 2 outside rows.   The BC~ rows can then be used to give the flat keys using exactly the same fingering as used for the sharp keys on the bc rows e.g. A played on the bc rows becomes Bflat on the CC# rows. G becomes Aflat etce etc.

The Dg is however, in my opinion, much more use than a virtually bassless BC when lots of rhythmic bounce is required eg for both morris & ceilidh band work .  Thats why I play and enjoy both systems

george
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Re: A question for B/C players
« Reply #9 on: September 01, 2008, 02:15:48 PM »

how come the B/C box has a reputation for being easier to play "fast"?

Probably because in the keys favoured by Irish music quite a few tunes can be played predominantly "on the draw," with fewer bellows changes than you would use on a one-row D box or a C#/D. I play a C#/D but often try B/C fingerings (i.e. transposing tunes up a whole tone) as an exercise and to see how the other half lives...

I used to wonder why the late Paddy O'Brien (who was responsible for launching the B/C craze in Ireland) composed so many tunes in A minor - until I tried them in B minor on my C#/D box. They really do flow, with great long passages all on the pull. The same applies to many tunes in D major. The entire middle section of the range of most tunes (from A above middle C to the e above) can be played entirely on the pull, giving tunes a great fluidity.

But there's no such thing as a free lunch. You lose this pull advantage (over the C#/D) when you wander into other keys, and indeed in certain passages in common keys (arpeggios in D for example). And the trade-off for fewer bellows movements is that your right hand has to jump around a good bit more. (As for the fluidity, well you have to like it.  :-*)

I'd venture to say that whatever advantage the B/C might seem to present for playing fast in the early stages will dwindle to practically nothing by the time a player gets really good on his or her instrument.
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TomB-R

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Re: A question for B/C players
« Reply #10 on: September 01, 2008, 04:45:26 PM »

The other big thing for the B/C in Irish music is that the available rolls are so good. For the notes of the D & G scales you've got decent roll possibilities for pretty much all notes, that is three notes in the same bellows direction with the "dip" note being the note below in the scale and the upper note one or two notes above.
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Re: A question for B/C players
« Reply #11 on: September 01, 2008, 05:21:37 PM »

The other big thing for the B/C in Irish music is that the available rolls are so good.

B/C players keep on saying this, but in fact the possibilities are no better than on a C#/D, and indeed arguably worse, since an F# roll is difficult on B/C.
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TomB-R

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Re: A question for B/C players
« Reply #12 on: September 01, 2008, 06:35:18 PM »

The other big thing for the B/C in Irish music is that the available rolls are so good.

B/C players keep on saying this, but in fact the possibilities are no better than on a C#/D, and indeed arguably worse, since an F# roll is difficult on B/C.

In a spirit in genuine enquiry, not argumentativeness, I'll ask what "dip" notes are used for rolling on F#, E, B, or A on a C#/D?

But I'll disclose my prejudices in advance by saying that to my ear a lower note that is not in the key of the tune, or is a third or so below, just sounds wrong! I'd sooner do an "open string roll" where all the notes are above the main note, as you have to do on fiddle on D, A and E. 

On B/C you've got the "right" lower note for all rolls available whilst in the keys of D and G (except A.)

Tom
« Last Edit: September 01, 2008, 09:56:18 PM by TomBR »
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Re: A question for B/C players
« Reply #13 on: September 02, 2008, 02:49:34 AM »

On B/C you've got the "right" lower note for all rolls available whilst in the keys of D and G (except A.)

Tom,

I share your distaste for those out of key "dip" notes. I assumed you were talking about the classic 5-note roll over two rows, where this dip note is played on the outer row and is thus always a semitone below the main note. Now I'm not so sure... For example a roll on E will involve using a D# as the dip note - unless you are playing your E on the outer row and using D on the inner row as your final grace? Please explain.

Steve
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meltzer

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Re: A question for B/C players
« Reply #14 on: September 02, 2008, 12:03:04 PM »

I'm guessing a "roll" is some kind of ornamentation, right?  :-[  ;D

I must say, I'm glad I started this thread -- I'm learning loads. B/C box players beware -- next time you're at a session, you might get interrogated by a bald bloke.  ;) I'm almost tempted to invest in a tutor book, even though I don't have a B/C box, just to see how it works. (Is this how the madness starts? Is it?  :()
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TomB-R

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Re: A question for B/C players
« Reply #15 on: September 02, 2008, 01:18:47 PM »

Hi Meltzer, yes the roll is one of the key Irish ornaments.
Five notes, very quickly ! Main note, one above, main note, one below, main note.


There's a useful page at
http://www.xs4all.nl/~hspeek/irishbox/ornamnts.html
(though I'm a bit doubtful about what he calls a short roll.)

Steve, I didn't know that was the rolling convention on C#/D. Yes, those rolls around a note on the inner row with the graces on the outer row are certainly the nice ones for fingering.
Yes, fair enough, for the E you really either have to use D# as the dip or just do a Speek "short roll" twiddle to the F#. Strike E off the list!

I'll try pretending I'm playing C#/D and see how the rolls actually feel and sound.  Perhaps the received wisdom is wrong!
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Re: A question for B/C players
« Reply #16 on: September 02, 2008, 02:16:50 PM »

Tom,

I've been avoiding 5-note rolls pretty much since I started playing - they evoke too many echoes of the kind of 1960s-style B/C playing that I really dislike. I have been allowing myself to play them on D and G, precisely because they are usually the only notes where you don't have to resort to an out of key dip note in a roll on C#/D.

But then I noticed Jackie Daly doing a nice roll on C-natural (which lies on the outer row), cutting with E and dipping with B, both on the inner row. Which is why I thought you might have been doing similar things on, for example, E, in order to claim that all your dip notes were in key.

The alternatives I prefer are four-note "rolls" on the one row (no dip note, main note played twice after the cut) or just playing the main note once, or three times barely articulated, and with a bit of extra welly towards the end to simulate the rhythmic effect of a roll without all those extra notes forcing themselves on your consciousness. People like Tony MacMahon and Andrew MacNamara are particularly clever at this.

Cheers
S
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meltzer

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Re: A question for B/C players
« Reply #17 on: September 02, 2008, 04:08:13 PM »

Interesting link, Tom -- cheers.  8)

I didn't realise all this stuff had specific names (other than the generic "twiddles"  ;D), although I've seen a lot of discussion about "rolls" on the concertina forums.
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Re: A question for B/C players
« Reply #18 on: September 02, 2008, 06:20:07 PM »

Meltzer - Han Speek's twiddlies page hardly scratches the surface of what people are doing out there. And as for specific names, you'll find that people use all kinds of names for the same thing, and the same names to mean different things, with many other things remaining nameless.  :) About the only exception to all this is "roll" which pretty universally means the device that Tom described for you above.
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meltzer

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Re: A question for B/C players
« Reply #19 on: September 02, 2008, 06:48:10 PM »

The twiddles with no name.  :D

Mind you, last time I visited my parents, I found the "dots" for some tunes I learned 20-odd years ago, and have been playing on & off since then. Comparing the dots with what I play now was something of an eye-opener about how various ornaments have crept in over the years. Would be interesting to get some of that swanky software that turns audio into notation, just to see what exactly it is I'm playing.  ???

All my twiddles are called "oh that sounds alright, I'll do that again next time." Although others might disagree.  ;)
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