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Can You Play Concertina Like Accordian

accordian duet chords accompaniment

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#1 accordian

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Posted 17 February 2018 - 06:49 PM

what i'm asking is it possible to play 2 parts rather than just one eg. a waltz but not within 1 chord

eg. C CM CM

 

I like the look of the Anglo however with what i've seen so far on the layout trying to play

a polka is a nightmare. or at least say a polka using say a Bb chord and I know

about transposing however that being said is it only possible to play chords in 1 range

eg. c cm g cm c cm g cm or can you also a other chords and it's limitation being

skill.

 

I ask because I don't one but would like to however I like to play two pieces of the song

eg. the waltz part or the polka etc.

 

I understand that there is the English concertina however I also understand that

it's all quite high pitched and so it wouldn't sound as good that being said

I don't own any type of concertina and would like to ask for a suggestion

I get that there are the duet systems however they cost alot considering I

don't even own a cheap one yet



#2 John Wild

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Posted 17 February 2018 - 07:37 PM

I understand that there is the English concertina however I also understand that

it's all quite high pitched and so it wouldn't sound as good that being said

I don't own any type of concertina and would like to ask for a suggestion

I get that there are the duet systems however they cost alot considering I

don't even own a cheap one yet

 

 

The English concertina (treble version) has a range of 3 1/2 octaves with the lowest note the G below middle C.

I think it is probably true to say that most EC players do not use the very high notes, which encroach into the piccolo range.

 

There are extended range versions, eg the tenor-treble which gives you an extra 1/2 octave below the treble range.

There  are also baritone instruments which are a full octave below the treble range, with the same fingering.



#3 accordian

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Posted 18 February 2018 - 05:10 AM

would it be possible to have a custom instrument created

if I was to reach out to someone?



#4 hjcjones

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Posted 18 February 2018 - 06:18 AM

The difference between concertinas and accordions is that with any system of concertina you have to build up chords from individual notes, rather than having them ready-made as on an accordion. On the anglo there is the additional limitation that all those notes must use the same bellows direction. This can sometimes limit what chords are available, and it might also be necessary to change how the melody is played to get those notes on the same direction of the bellows as the chords.  Nevertheless a wide range of chords and keys are possible for a skilled player.  There should be no problem playing a Bb chord on a C/G anglo.

 

The usual way to play in this style on an anglo is to play the melody with the right hand and chords with the left - not unlike an accordion. The disadvantage is that the melody is then quite high in pitch. This differs from the melody-only style favoured for Irish music, which is mostly played in the middle range of the instrument.

 

I'm not sure why you think particular rhythms such as polkas should be more difficult.  The difficulty is mainly to do with the key - with the anglo difficulty generally increases as you move away from the home keys of the instrument because the fingering becomes more complex and less intuitive.  Most anglos are C/G, but other keys are available and G/D is becoming popular among English musicians to more easily play in the popular session keys.

 

It should be possible to get a maker to build a custom instrument, but I would suggest you try to learn a standard instrument first so that you fully understand where the issues lie and how you would want a custom design to address them.  You may actually find that these problems are largely imagined. A custom instrument won't be cheap, and may turn out to be unsellable as it won't be standard.  


Edited by hjcjones, 18 February 2018 - 06:18 AM.


#5 Geoff Wooff

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Posted 18 February 2018 - 08:19 AM

There  is no  reason or fact that a Duet  concertina is any more expensive  than the  English or Anglo types.  In the cheap 'starter'  instruments  from Concertina Connection  the  prices of each type is roughly  similar.

 

No doubt  the easiest  concertina to  play  like an  accordion  will be  a Duet  and  the Hayden Duet  keyboard  is very logical...  makes for  relatively simple  Omm Pa pa  chording on either hand,  and two  voices  , or more, is  fairly straightforward.


Edited by Geoff Wooff, 18 February 2018 - 08:21 AM.


#6 accordian

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Posted 18 February 2018 - 11:08 AM

sry i dont know too much as i'm mainly an accordion player

in terms of what I know ive looked into the different notes on

30 key anglo and seen that some chords work in one direction

but not in the other however what I dont understand is which 

button is in which octave eg. on the left there might be 2 c's 

(only as example) and I wont know which ones higher.

 

just noticed 40 anglo's exist. is it more possible to do this sort

of thing on 40 button ones.



#7 ceemonster

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Posted 18 February 2018 - 04:12 PM

Is the OP question about playing "two parts" focused on, one part being melody, and the other the bass accompaniment?  I think that's the question, and I see the other  responses here are taking that as the question, but I'm hair-splitting bc I'm not 100% sure what the OP is asking.

 

But if that IS what you are asking, Anglo is not the optimal concertina system for that type of playing.  You CAN do some amazing stuff on Anglo in this vein, with creative arranging, and there are regulars on this very site who do that kind of magic.  But the number of keys you can do it in, is limited.  On a 30-button, you do not have all notes on the left-hand bass side, and you don't have all notes in both directions on either side.    On a 38/40 button, there are ergonomic issues that interfere with having full free rein for this kind of arranging.

 

In Irish trad, the Anglo players don't care about these limitations, because ITM is largely melody music. There are bass effects, but it's constrained.   There is a contemporary trend of playing more bass chords than they used to, but they do it in the keys that work for that on their Anglo, and don't do it, or just do a double stop or such, for the rest.

 

RE English system.  It is ironic that the so-called "treble" system is known as the typical session EC, because as the OP points out, it wastes much of the layout with ridiculous high notes no one uses, and wastes the ergonomically most comfortable part of the concertina end where your fingers fall naturally, on those very ridiculous and useless high notes.   

 

The stupidity is further compounded by the fact that the Tenor EC, like the treble a 48-button layout, but minus the super-high notes and plus some really useful lower notes, is stereotyped as being for backup to singers and super-hard to find unless you have one built new.    In fact it may be the most brilliant concertina for dance-derived instrumental world folk music, particularly if you need to play fast, and like a melody=prominent sound.  You can play melody or chords in any key in either direction, and the whole range is comfortable to your hands.  

 

The caveat being, if you want a literal rhythmic bass constantly under your melody, like, bass-chord-chord waltz oompah . . . it "can" be done on an EC.  But it's pretty tough.  Not too bad for the hands.  For the brain.  Because of the bilateral layout.  Your chords will be split between sides, and your melody notes are switching sides as well.  But you can get great effects by doing that for a couple of measures here and there at the same time as your melody note, plus, doing it in the "spaces" where the melody pauses.  Where "pickup" or filler phrases go that connect the A and B parts, etc.  It gives the impression to the listener, that a bass line is going the whole time, when it really is not.   A wonderful example of Tenor EC arranging on instrumental folk is the CD "Black Boxes," by the UK musician Sarah Graves, who plays two ebony-ended Tenor 48s on the recording, an Edeophone Tenor 48, and a Wheatstone Aeola Tenor 48.

 

However, if you want literal, perpetual rhythmic bass under your melody for the complete, entire duration of the piece, the fact is, that is optimally done on a duet.  Is there some reason you don't want to go duet? 


Edited by ceemonster, 18 February 2018 - 04:23 PM.


#8 Mikefule

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Posted 18 February 2018 - 04:17 PM

An anglo is not an accordion, and is not designed to do all the same things.  Have no doubt that you will have a far more limited range of keys and of chords on any Anglo.  Anglo is an easy instrument to play by ear, but a difficult instrument to play well with a full bass/chord/arpeggio accompaniment.

 

At the moment, you are saying "I have a motorbike.  If I buy a bicycle, will I be able to do all the same stuff on it?"  The answer is no, it will be slower, have no pillion seat and won't be allowed on the motorway.  But there will be some new things you can do on it, and you will have a lot of fun trying.

 

Think of one row of an Anglo as a standard harmonica.  Assume it's in C.

 

On the push (blow) starting from the lowest note on your left hand and working all the way to the highest note on the right, the notes are ,C,G C E G | c e g c' e'

 

On the same instrument, the other row will be in G, and the notes will be in the same pattern (except the very lowest note may vary).  Button 1 on the right hand is the same g as button 3 on the right the other row.

 

That is, the two main rows are a 5th apart, with the higher of the two rows nearer to your hands. 

 

Most Anglos have 3 rows.  The extra row (farthest from your hand) is a mixture of useful accidentals, arranged for convenience rather than to a definite pattern.

 

The English concertina was scientifically designed to provide a full chromatic range and be playable in any key according to a logical plan.  The Anglo concertina was not scientifically designed, it developed in stages according to what is needed for the sorts of music that it favours.

 

If you want to play complex chordal accompaniments, you will need at least a 30 button, and would do better with a 38.

 

If for example you buy a C/G and play it with full chordal accompaniment, you will find it strongly favours the keys of C and G but will extend into D and further up and down the cycle of 5ths if you make the effort.  It will also play in the various modes and minors closely associated with C major and G major.

 

Seriously, it's not something to analyse, but to try.  You may love it or hate it.  Before I found Anglo, I played harmonica reasonably well, and failed at piano, made limited progress on trumpet, and virtually no progress on guitar.  I then did a lot of research and decided that English concertina was for me.  I borrowed one for a month and practised every day and got nowhere, then picked up an Anglo and thought "Wow!".  10 or 15 years later (I lose track) I own 3 Anglos and play as near as possible every day and love it.



#9 ceemonster

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Posted 18 February 2018 - 04:30 PM

The OP inquired about a custom concertina.  Yes, you could try that, but it's tricky to be sure you know exactly what custsom arrangement will do it for you, and it's a huge investment if you guess wrong.   And it would be a long wait.  There is a wonderful Hayden Duet player on this site who goes by "Tona," who had a custom Dipper built that I shakily think, is Hayden duet on the melody side, and some kind of custom bass-chord setup on the other side.   Don't hold me to that, all I know is, it's a custom unisonoric system (not Anglo/bisonoric), and his playing of French musette and other instrumental music involving bass chords on it, is beautiful.


Edited by ceemonster, 18 February 2018 - 04:34 PM.


#10 ceemonster

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Posted 18 February 2018 - 04:50 PM

There are some nifty youtubes of a cnet member named Marien Lina playing instrumental folk on a Crane duet, with melody and rhythmic/chordal bass.  My computers will not copy links to cnet, but go on youtube and keyword his name, or keyword Crane concertina, and you'll get some cool stuff including a Polish tango, a klezmer tune, the "Monkey Island" theme, some French Auvergne tunes, etc.  You can do this on any duet system, Maccann, Hayden, Crane.    If you click on his name on youtube, you'll get his member page, and there click "Videos," you should find all the concertina stuff he has posted. 

 

Note that this gent has posted two videos of "Monkey Island"---one on duet, one on Anglo.  It's a good illustration of how there indeed are chordal arranging opps on Anglo.  It's just going to be limited by key and sometimes by available note. 


Edited by ceemonster, 18 February 2018 - 04:57 PM.


#11 accordian

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Posted 18 February 2018 - 05:44 PM

Is the OP question about playing "two parts" focused on, one part being melody, and the other the bass accompaniment?  I think that's the question, and I see the other  responses here are taking that as the question, but I'm hair-splitting bc I'm not 100% sure what the OP is asking.

 

But if that IS what you are asking, Anglo is not the optimal concertina system for that type of playing.  You CAN do some amazing stuff on Anglo in this vein, with creative arranging, and there are regulars on this very site who do that kind of magic.  But the number of keys you can do it in, is limited.  On a 30-button, you do not have all notes on the left-hand bass side, and you don't have all notes in both directions on either side.    On a 38/40 button, there are ergonomic issues that interfere with having full free rein for this kind of arranging.

 

In Irish trad, the Anglo players don't care about these limitations, because ITM is largely melody music. There are bass effects, but it's constrained.   There is a contemporary trend of playing more bass chords than they used to, but they do it in the keys that work for that on their Anglo, and don't do it, or just do a double stop or such, for the rest.

 

RE English system.  It is ironic that the so-called "treble" system is known as the typical session EC, because as the OP points out, it wastes much of the layout with ridiculous high notes no one uses, and wastes the ergonomically most comfortable part of the concertina end where your fingers fall naturally, on those very ridiculous and useless high notes.   

 

The stupidity is further compounded by the fact that the Tenor EC, like the treble a 48-button layout, but minus the super-high notes and plus some really useful lower notes, is stereotyped as being for backup to singers and super-hard to find unless you have one built new.    In fact it may be the most brilliant concertina for dance-derived instrumental world folk music, particularly if you need to play fast, and like a melody=prominent sound.  You can play melody or chords in any key in either direction, and the whole range is comfortable to your hands.  

 

The caveat being, if you want a literal rhythmic bass constantly under your melody, like, bass-chord-chord waltz oompah . . . it "can" be done on an EC.  But it's pretty tough.  Not too bad for the hands.  For the brain.  Because of the bilateral layout.  Your chords will be split between sides, and your melody notes are switching sides as well.  But you can get great effects by doing that for a couple of measures here and there at the same time as your melody note, plus, doing it in the "spaces" where the melody pauses.  Where "pickup" or filler phrases go that connect the A and B parts, etc.  It gives the impression to the listener, that a bass line is going the whole time, when it really is not.   A wonderful example of Tenor EC arranging on instrumental folk is the CD "Black Boxes," by the UK musician Sarah Graves, who plays two ebony-ended Tenor 48s on the recording, an Edeophone Tenor 48, and a Wheatstone Aeola Tenor 48.

 

However, if you want literal, perpetual rhythmic bass under your melody for the complete, entire duration of the piece, the fact is, that is optimally done on a duet.  Is there some reason you don't want to go duet? 

my preffered layout is an anglo.

 

i ask because i saw this

https://www.youtube....h?v=mxn8n5Shu4M

 

if he can do this then what else is possible as

i like the layout of the concertina however

before didn't know much about it.

 

after seeing this video i wonder if i can transpose

other songs to play on concertina such as la

tarantella , beer barrel polka etc. im not looking

too much into playing iron maiden lol just simpler

tunes.

 

thanks for the response.



#12 inventor

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Posted 18 February 2018 - 07:16 PM

The Hayden duet is the closest concertina to the Accordion. A 65 button instrument has virtually the same compass as a 34 key piano-accordion on the right hand side. On the left hand side you have notes going down about an octave and a half below this, and an overlap with the right hand side. All the notes are individual, so you have to make a chord by playing several buttons at the same time. However on a Hayden duet once you have learned the pattern for a major chord this repeats for many other major chords. Minor, dominant seventh and diminished chords each have repeating patterns too. 

Now here is the big bonus for an accordion player :- the chords are in the same order from left to right as the standard stradella accordion bass; but concertinered into a zig-zag nearly half the width ! 

On the 65 button instrument it is easy to play something very similar to an accordion um-pah bass. First play a deep note and the octave higher on adjacent fingers to give the "Um" ; (and note, this is easier on an instrument with the specified Hayden slope, which slightly offsets the octaves than the American slopeless style).  Then play the chord(s) in a higher register to  give the "Pah(s)".

I would compare the 65 button Hayden concertina as the equivalent to a 34 key 72 bass piano-accordion, and the 46 button Hayden concertina equivalent to a 25 key 40 bass piano-accordion.

 

Inventor.



#13 ceemonster

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Posted 18 February 2018 - 10:26 PM

[[after seeing this video I wonder if I can transpose other songs to play on concertina such as la tarantella  ,  beer barrel polka etc.]]]

 

you mean, Anglo, right?  Certainly.  You just have to keep it simple, which you've noted you don't mind, and you can't do it in a huge number of keys.  Check out Marien Linda's Anglo version on youtube of the "Monkey Island" theme, on a Lachenal Anglo. 


Edited by ceemonster, 18 February 2018 - 10:29 PM.


#14 accordian

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Posted 19 February 2018 - 04:36 AM

[[after seeing this video I wonder if I can transpose other songs to play on concertina such as la tarantella  ,  beer barrel polka etc.]]]

 

you mean, Anglo, right?  Certainly.  You just have to keep it simple, which you've noted you don't mind, and you can't do it in a huge number of keys.  Check out Marien Linda's Anglo version on youtube of the "Monkey Island" theme, on a Lachenal Anglo. 

cool. as for the different key's I was going to play these songs in the key of the concertina eg. la tarantella in cm however thats one of things i'd like to know about before buying. is it possible to do minor chords in both directions and if not how do i go about playing the chords and the melody if I run out of air. I get that there is a air button but then I'd have to stop playing use the button and continue. unless there are some minor chords you can play in both direction which then it would just be a matter of finding the right key however then the melody comes into play although honestly as said I don't really know enough about them so I don't know how this would work in terms of will I have the right notes for the melody although then again I spose if I found some minor chords that work for both direction then it wouldn't be a problem. but then the thing is are the notes i'd be playing going to be in the same octave and so the song won't sound weird.



#15 accordian

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Posted 19 February 2018 - 04:37 AM

The Hayden duet is the closest concertina to the Accordion. A 65 button instrument has virtually the same compass as a 34 key piano-accordion on the right hand side. On the left hand side you have notes going down about an octave and a half below this, and an overlap with the right hand side. All the notes are individual, so you have to make a chord by playing several buttons at the same time. However on a Hayden duet once you have learned the pattern for a major chord this repeats for many other major chords. Minor, dominant seventh and diminished chords each have repeating patterns too. 

Now here is the big bonus for an accordion player :- the chords are in the same order from left to right as the standard stradella accordion bass; but concertinered into a zig-zag nearly half the width ! 

On the 65 button instrument it is easy to play something very similar to an accordion um-pah bass. First play a deep note and the octave higher on adjacent fingers to give the "Um" ; (and note, this is easier on an instrument with the specified Hayden slope, which slightly offsets the octaves than the American slopeless style).  Then play the chord(s) in a higher register to  give the "Pah(s)".

I would compare the 65 button Hayden concertina as the equivalent to a 34 key 72 bass piano-accordion, and the 46 button Hayden concertina equivalent to a 25 key 40 bass piano-accordion.

 

Inventor.

while one of these types of concertina's would probably be my best bet at the same time i dont want to spend too much



#16 Anglo-Irishman

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Posted 19 February 2018 - 06:08 AM

The difference between accordions and concertinas has already been covered: accordions have ready-made chords on the left, whereas concertinas have multi-purpose buttons on both sides, and you have to (or better: can!) build your chords as required.

 

Nobody has yet metioned the similarity: both accordions and concertinas are available in several variants, some of them chromatic, some of them diatonic. (Albeit the Politically Correct term in the concertina world is "bisonoric" - not "diatonic," which sounds so limting.)

 

So to avoid comparing apples and pears, we should be comparing bisonoric concertinas, e.g. Anglo, German, Chemnitzer, Bandoneon, with diatonic accordions, e.g. melodeon, Steyrische Handharmonika, Cajun accordion. It's more appropriate to compare the various chromatic accordion variants with the various chromatic Duet concertina systems.

 

I'd say it's unreasonable to expect an Anglo concertina player to emulate a good bayan player; but equally unreasonable to expect a melodeon player to emulate a good Maccann Duet player.

 

Cheers,

John



#17 Jody Kruskal

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Posted 19 February 2018 - 11:47 AM

"I get that there is a air button but then I'd have to stop playing use the button and continue."

 

Actually, you can use the air button while sounding notes. You don’t have to stop to take a breath.



#18 Mikefule

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Posted 19 February 2018 - 12:01 PM

"I get that there is a air button but then I'd have to stop playing use the button and continue."

 

Actually, you can use the air button while sounding notes. You don’t have to stop to take a breath.

 

Endorsing what Jody says (not that he needs it!) learning to use the air button well is one of the skills that makes you a good player because you can let the instrument breathe, rather than being forced to cheat by playing inappropriately louder or softer, or cramming down extra buttons just to keep the bellows within their range.  The air button is played at as and when necessary, usually at the same time as one or more notes.  The way I do it is with an occasional sharp tap with the side of my thumb, in time with the music,  by sort of bracing or arching my hand slightly more.  It's hard to describe, tricky to learn, then surprisingly easy to do.







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