I asked, and Mike answered:
>>If you had a D/A concertina identical in all other respects to the C/G you
>>now play, how much would you use it?
>Not at all for Irish music. Anglo fingering *is* the technique. Noel Hill,
>when playing is other instruments still plays with the exact same fingering
>he would use if using the C/G, the result is the same, switching from a C
>whistle to a D whistle to a Eb whistle. The fingerings are all the same,
>but you come out with a different key.
But Mike, if I can play a whistle tune in D, then transposing it to G or A
isn't hard, playing the same whistle with different fingering. How else
can I find where the tune sits most comfortably on whistle?
Isn't Noel Hill doing the same thing for his tunes on concertina? I
assume that, despite the usual practice of playing all tunes in their
correct keys on a C/G instrument, he finds he can play many tunes more
eloquently in the "wrong key". After all, every beginner finds that D and
Em tunes sit nicely on the C row in the keys of C and Dm. So isn't Noel
playing an instrument with an Eb row simply because it works well for both
him and Tony Linnane to consider the Eb to be a sharp D?
After all, if Noel wanted to play a D tune in Eb, using the same fingering
that he uses on his C/G instrument, then he would have to play a C#/G#
instrument. Please tell me isn't!
>To play the G/D or D/A concertina and be playing in the common keys would
>require relearning how to play not only the tunes, but the instruments as
Is this really true? Isn't transposing as useful skill on the concertina
as it is on whistle? (This reminds me that I can only *read* music in one
key on whistle, or on fiddle or banjo. Sometimes I wish I could transpose
and play written music on sight, when I'm faced with, say, a tune notated
in Bb. And when my mother-in-law accompanies Christmas carols on piano,
she fills me with admiration when she changes the key on sight, to
accomodate the singers. I suppose that if I wanted to be a hotshot sight
reader I would take the trouble to learn to do this. But for Irish music,
where playing by ear is paramount, it hardly seems worth the effort.)
All the best--
--Rick Gagne, struggling to understand in Bath, New Hampshire, USA