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Harmonizing On An English Concertina


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#1 RWL

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Posted 09 December 2017 - 11:19 AM

Since one button down would be a fifth and that's part of an arpeggio, which should blend with the note of the button above it, would it work to harmonize with a tune by playing the tune one button below where you'd normally play?  Having tried playing a few tunes this way, some of the sharps and flats have to change, but that's still workable.  The few tunes in the key of C that I tried didn't have to change at all.  In G some notes did have to change.  



#2 Wolf Molkentin

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Posted 09 December 2017 - 12:21 PM

The upside of this approach is that you'd be sticking to notes in the diatonic scale ("white" buttons in the key of Cmaj, Amin and their parallels), which is the material the basic harmony is built of (3 major and 3 minor chords, no "false" tone included).

This is in fact only valid because the button "below" one other button (F) is not a fifth but an augmented forth, AKA tritonus (three whole steps, half an octave), away (B), which is then part of a dominant seventh chord (Gmaj7), perfectly "leading" back to the tonic.

The downside would be that if the melody would end on the root note (C in the key of Cmaj), the interval formed would be (the fifth) FC. This will be heard as Fmaj, subdominant, which would of course occur within the tune but make for an open, not so comfortable and posivite ending, as such applicable here and there, but not as a regular conclusion.

Best wishes - Wolf

Edited by Wolf Molkentin, 09 December 2017 - 03:16 PM.


#3 David Barnert

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Posted 09 December 2017 - 06:37 PM

You know what they say: If it sounds good, it IS good. Try it. How does it sound? Does it remind you of what well-respected musicians sound like?

I suspect that if you’re like most serious western musicians in the last 600 years, you’ll think it sounds dreadful. What you’re proposing is harmonizing a tune with the same tune a fifth higher or lower. Parallel fifths haven’t been in fashion since the Middle Ages. You’d be better off using the adjacent button for harmony in 3rds, but just as a starting point. You may find some nice runs, but will need to get more creative if you want to make real music.

#4 RWL

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Posted 09 December 2017 - 09:02 PM

Darn.  I was hoping this would be easy.  I'm used to playing the melody, but the group already has two fiddles, so they need someone to play backup.  Not being a guitar player with any familiarity of chords, my task has been 'educational'.



#5 David Barnert

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Posted 09 December 2017 - 09:08 PM

It’s not all that difficult, but it’s not trivial. Get yourself a decent book on music theory. It will be immensely satisfying. You can do it.



#6 Wolf Molkentin

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Posted 10 December 2017 - 03:30 AM

To start with, you could go for "ABC" files, which often have chords with them (not that I agree about every single choice but that's more a matter of individual taste and thus not the point here). Then try "chords" from the chart included below (albeit you might soon wish to further differentiate this very basic, and not too well sounding either, approach). A first measure would be to omit the thirds. You could in fact very much rely on "your" open fifths, but based on chords/harmony and not melody (which you wouldn't have to double anyway). Fifths are easily playable together, as you might already have spotted yourself.

Paul Hardy's Tunebooks

chord charts and some further advice

Good luck, and feel free to ask.
Best wishes - Wolf

Edited by Wolf Molkentin, 10 December 2017 - 03:56 AM.





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