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Accompanying Songs With An Anglo

anglo accompaniment chords

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#1 swahl

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Posted 07 February 2017 - 03:56 PM

I apologize if this topic has been covered elsewhere. I didn't find much in a cursory glance through the topic titles.

 

I have a C/G anglo on which I primarily play melody (mostly irish session music), but recently have been trying to arrange accompaniments for songs. I realize that the layout of the instrument and the required bellow direction changes are somewhat limiting. For now I have mainly stuck to holding sustained chords, which gives a nice 'drone' effect that fits some select songs. (Actually in most cases I find I prefer the sound of just playing the root note and the fifth, and occasionally tapping the third for this.)

 

I was curious if anyone had suggestions for (or examples of) more interesting things to try to give concertina accompaniment more 'texture'  (perhaps akin to strumming or picking patterns on a guitar). I have tried playing arpeggios, but in most cases find the sound rather jarring and hard to sing over. any thoughts?

 

Would looking into resources targeted at english concertinas be of use, or is the technique too different?

 

 



#2 Anglo-Irishman

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Posted 07 February 2017 - 04:55 PM

I realize that the layout of the instrument and the required bellow direction changes are somewhat limiting. For now I have mainly stuck to holding sustained chords, which gives a nice 'drone' effect that fits some select songs.

 

Hi, swahl,

Welcome to the forum!

 

I'd just like to point out one thing: when it's a matter of song accompaniment, the Anglo's bellows direction changes are anything but limiting!

 

I'm a singer, and mostly use a 5-string banjo or a guitar for accompaniment, but I use the C/G Anglo to accompany appropriate songs (e.g. forebitters and shanties). With a chording fretted instrument, you often have to move all your fingers to different frets when the chord changes - with the Anglo, chord changes can often be made by just reversing the bellows, leaving the fingers where they are.

Example? "What shall we do with the drunken sailor" in Dm: here we have a line in Dm, that's buttons 3,4 and 5 on the left side, on the draw. Then comes C, that's buttons 3,4 and 5 on the left side, on the press. Then Dm again, then C, then back to Dm. No finger movement at all, if it's just the accompanying chords you want!

 

It's not always as easy as that, of course. But very often you can leave at least one finger where it was before the chord change. You can still consider whether to play the full chord, or a partial chord, or an arpeggio. When you've got your fingers positioned for a full chord, you can still only press down one or two (partial chord), or press them down consecutively (arpeggio).

 

When I play the same accompaniments on the Crane Duet, I have a lot more finger-shifting to do - like on the banjo!

 

Just try it. You'll soon find that chordal accompaniments are what the Anglo is really made for! :D

 

Cheers,

John



#3 Tom Rhoads

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Posted 08 February 2017 - 10:01 AM

My approach to song accompaniment on Anglo is usually to first try to play the melody in the right hand, and find some consonant notes or chords that work in the left hand. I have been doing it long enough that I usually have some good possibilities under my fingers. Then I start singing along, and eventually start modifying the right hand part - usually making it simpler - to complement the vocal. (The RH of the anglo is above my vocal range.) Finally I start filling in details, little flourishes and fills.

 

While singing, I usually play oom-pah style in the left hand: root note of a chord on the down beat, and upper notes on off beats. Just imitating an accordion bass, really. It's best to have a light hand on the left and play mostly short notes. Sustained chords tend to overbalance the arrangement - you want the left hand to be as much about rhythm as anything else, especially for a lively tune.

 

You have to control the overall volume so as not to overpower the vocal. And I agree that often you are fine leaving out the third of a chord. Sometimes I will add the third in the right hand instead - "open" chord voicings like that (root-5th-10th is the classic one, for example buttons 1-3-5 of the LH C row on draw for a G chord)) are a little more transparent to the ear (they stand in the way of the melody less). I often play the lowest available bass note for the "oom" and then the same note an octave higher, along with a 3rd or 5th, for the "pah."

 

The good thing about the Anglo is that it's easy to find notes in the left hand that are consonant to notes in the right hand.

The bad thing about the Anglo, occasionally, is that sometimes you want to play a note that isn't consonant and it's not there, or only with the bellows going the other way. I personally am OK with the tradeoff most of the time.

 

TomR



#4 lachenal74693

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Posted 08 February 2017 - 10:56 AM

...first try to play the melody in the right hand, and find some consonant notes or chords that work in the

left hand...and eventually start modifying the right hand part - usually making it simpler (my emphasis)...

 

Would it be unreasonable of me to interpret that as meaning something like "less is more"*? I've recently started

trying this experimentally with one or two of the tunes I play (without vocals), and it seems at least 'acceptable', at

best a noticeable 'improvement' in the tune. Alternating a full right hand accompaniment with a simplified right hand

accompaniment also seems worth exploring - to me at least...

 

Roger

 

*I'm a bit of a believer in this technique - I've seen paintings in which the artist has very cleverly conveyed the

impression of an object in the painting by leaving it out - can't get my head around why it works, but it does.


Edited by lachenal74693, 08 February 2017 - 10:57 AM.


#5 David Barnert

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Posted 09 February 2017 - 07:48 PM

I have a C/G anglo on which I ... recently have been trying to arrange accompaniments for songs... I was curious if anyone had suggestions for (or examples of) more interesting things to try to give concertina accompaniment more 'texture'  (perhaps akin to strumming or picking patterns on a guitar).

 

Seek out videos, recordings, concerts by John Roberts. If you find a workshop at a festival or whatever that he’s leading, all the better. He’s unquestionably the dean of singing with anglo in this country. Start here:

 

https://youtu.be/aexlRtSGLkU and https://youtu.be/mlZgHAt1L2k





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