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Author Topic: Newbie with B/C box...  (Read 5115 times)

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boxer

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Re: Newbie with B/C box...
« Reply #20 on: August 07, 2012, 12:19:07 AM »

There's just one really useful piece of advice in Hanrahan's book which, as I lost my copy, I must paraphrase: "only use the first three fingers on the treble keyboard"

If I were to be asked to edit the book, I would make the following amendment: "only use the first two fingers, the third if you have to, and never the fourth"

The fact is, you don't play the B/C in the way you play D/G.  The right hand must be very mobile and (in my experience) too many fingers just get in the way.   
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Keithypete.

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Re: Newbie with B/C box...
« Reply #21 on: August 07, 2012, 12:51:54 AM »


If I were to be asked to edit the book, I would make the following amendment: "only use the first two fingers, the third if you have to, and never the fourth"


This is not sound advice. It is not helpful to beginner to be told to just use two fingers. IMHO.
I use three, & sometimes four, depending on the tunes.
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Gromit

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Re: Newbie with B/C box...
« Reply #22 on: August 07, 2012, 01:52:50 PM »

"use three, & sometimes four, depending on the tunes."

Same here - three and sometimes four.

I did a B/C workshop with Luke Daniels (a respected box player over here) where he recomended using the fourth finger in certain situations - it opens up more options and Damien Connolly uses the fourth in his tutor.
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nfldbox

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Re: Newbie with B/C box...
« Reply #23 on: August 07, 2012, 02:22:17 PM »

Oh, no. Not the number of fingers again. Many great box players never use the pinky and many do. I was talking to an excellent player who said, "It is ridiculous not to use the fingers you have. Would Heifitz not have used his pinky?" I just took a workshop from a superb player who said stick to three as "too many fingers get in the way." I use my pinky and shall continue to use it until I become absolutely amazing. I shall die before that time but that is a whole other problem.
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Re: Newbie with B/C box...
« Reply #24 on: August 07, 2012, 02:33:32 PM »

My post wasn't meant to start this debate off again. But I don't think advising a new-ish box-player to just use two fingers is good at all.  3 or 4 - whatever, but 2 seems a bit limited, and likely to make it more difficult than it needs to be. Use both thumbs if you like, I don't think it is against the rules.
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Stiamh

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Re: Newbie with B/C box...
« Reply #25 on: August 07, 2012, 02:47:39 PM »

I noticed the only duplicate notes on a B/C box are the B and E. How do most people approach this? Play the B and E on the C-row unless you really need one in the reverse bellows direction? Do you pick one key for B and E and just stick to that? or does it pretty much just vary tune to tune?

There are two reasons for using (or not using) the "magic notes" on a semitone box.

The first is phrasing & bellows direction. You can use the reversal in the outer row to save a bellows direction change, or to make the tune flow in a particular passage if that's what you want. From my limited experience of playing B/C I would say that you will use the outer row E a little more frequently for this purpose than the outer row B.

Conversely you may want to add a bellows change, or at least not avail yourself of the possibility of saving one, either because that's how you want the tune [not] to flow, or as George points out, to keep the bellows on a tight rein in certain keys. Chances are you'll be using the air button as you sound these notes on the main row.

The second reason you may choose one E or B or the other has to do with chords. As I pointed out in a recent thread in the Tunes section (Apples in Winter), on most B/Cs your E chord (Em or thirdless E) is on the push, meaning that if you want to use basses in an Em tune you'll often use  the push B on the outer row and the push E on the inner row.

A useful exercise is to take a Em tune that pivots around B and E and experiment with the phrasing effects you get by using the various alternatives. The first few bars of Drowsy Maggie should be very instructive. Having found something that sounds good and is workable, throw the chord consideration into the mix!

As for numbers of fingers, I feel boxer has somewhat overstated the case - but exaggeration can be useful in getting a point across. I have come across a number of tricky passages that have become easy using two fingers instead of three.

(Edited to correct typing errors. )
« Last Edit: August 07, 2012, 02:56:19 PM by Steve Jones »
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Re: Newbie with B/C box...
« Reply #26 on: August 07, 2012, 03:57:45 PM »

Sir Jimmy Shand used all 4 fingers and if its good enough for him its good enough for me!     What we seem to all agree on is that there are no hard & fast rules  as to how best to play semitone button boxes .  It is therefore a bit strange that some very stongly advocate using a particular number of fingers and thereby perhaps losing the flexibility that can advantageosly be had from using whatever nuber fingers work best in a particular situation (particular part of particular tune). I think in terms of 4 as the starting point but depending on where I am going on the keyboard use 3 or even2 for some passages.  Some things like playing 'in octaves' need 4 fingers  as do some right hand chords.  The converse of course being that it can sometimes be useful to play 2 buttons together using one finger.

george 

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nfldbox

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Re: Newbie with B/C box...
« Reply #27 on: August 07, 2012, 05:06:13 PM »

George's typo "nuber fingers" I first read as "rubber fingers." I immediately realized that my problem is not number of fingers but rather the inflexibility of the ones I have!
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Re: Newbie with B/C box...
« Reply #28 on: August 12, 2012, 07:09:48 PM »

to pick up on Steve Jones's thoughtful comments

The phrasing chosen for a tune should dictate the (fingering/magic note selection/anything else) used to play it.  This should be obvious, but it's not always the case.  For me, progress toward developing a playing technique that could cope with quick Irish tunes only began when that basic truth had dawned. 

Good luck, all beginners, and keep an open mind.  There's always a better way of doing it (on B/C anyway)



 
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Old Leaky

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Re: Newbie with B/C box...
« Reply #29 on: August 13, 2012, 11:35:19 PM »

I purchased the Hanrahan book and CD entitled "The Box"...

How are you getting on with the CD? Many years ago, I started with the cassette tape then bought the CD only to find it was out of concert pitch! I never worked out whether it was sharp or flat, fast or slow, but it was definitely "out"! ::)

There's just one really useful piece of advice in Hanrahan's book which, as I lost my copy, I must paraphrase: "only use the first three fingers on the treble keyboard"

The book says, and I quote: "Use three fingers..." but this has to be read in the context of the preceding text in the section ("So How Do I Play it?") in which it appears i.e. "Now try to play the notes of the scale using the diagram on previous page." I doubt it's intended to be prescriptive in terms of playing (the tunes that follow).
« Last Edit: August 14, 2012, 09:44:45 AM by Old Leaky »
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deltasalmon

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Re: Newbie with B/C box...
« Reply #30 on: August 14, 2012, 12:26:37 PM »

Quote
Many years ago, I started with the cassette tape then bought the CD only to find it was out of concert pitch!

I was disappointed with this myself. Just starting with the melodeon I learned a tune or two from the book that I was familiar with and when I tried to play along with the CD I first thought "I just purchased this accordion and it's already out of tune!?"

My digital tuner soon assured me that the CD was out of tune and not my melodeon.
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boxer

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Re: Newbie with B/C box...
« Reply #31 on: August 14, 2012, 06:49:23 PM »

tutors are only guides, not holy writ.  I was fortunate to find the needle in Hanrahan's haystack nine years ago and, whether my interpretation was correct or not, its application certainly improved my playing beyond measure (in all truth, it was pretty bad before I picked the book up).

you could apply Edward Elgar's philosophy to box playing (once again I paraphrase):  "...try everything once, except incest and morris dancing....."

 
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