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Anglo Right Hand Cords


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#1 KelTekgolow

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Posted 19 January 2018 - 06:43 AM

I like to accompany my singing with my Anglo .I have learnt most cords on the left hand .Watching for example a piano player they often play their cords with the right hand then additional notes on the left do any of you use right hand cords much .Thanks Bob



#2 Tradewinds Ted

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Posted 19 January 2018 - 12:02 PM

I've watched piano players for Contra Dance (Ceili) bands use a rhythm accompaniment technique playing octaves in the left hand, alternating between the root and 5th, on the beat, and then chords with the right hand for the off beats.  I have tried it myself on piano; Quite a bit of fun!  With variations of course, such as bass runs, dropping out octaves or chords occasionally or adding in extras for syncopation.  But the basic assumption is that the piano is providing the rhythm and some of the chord structure, while someone ELSE is the carrying the melody.

 

I've tried this a little bit on concertina when in a jam session where I have the chord changes, but don't know the melody.  But not very often, because usually there is a pack of guitars already strumming along with all the chords, and it is the melody that is lacking.

 

This ought to work well for singing, if you want that kind of bouncy rhythm.   I expect you need to keep the right hand chords short though and not too loud, and use partial chords most of the time, or it could get a bit strident in the upper register.  Still, it is good to avoid just playing melody in unison with your singing, since that might hide your voice, and make the lyrics hard to understand.

 

I like to play melody more toward the left hand anyway because it is less shrill, but I confess I haven't done much with adding right hand chords above the melody line as yet, usually I just add a simple harmony line below (and occasionally above) the melody line, rather than adding true chords.  But then I still have a lot learning to do!

 

Edit: usually for singing I just start by playing through the melody on concertina, then sing the verses unaccompanied so I don't have my voice drowned out, playing a bit of melody and harmony again between verses.   Or if I'm confident my voice will be heard, I might sing the melody, and just play along with a single harmony line while I sing.


Edited by Tradewinds Ted, 19 January 2018 - 12:08 PM.


#3 MJGray

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Posted 19 January 2018 - 08:45 PM

If I recall correctly, in his Social History of the Anglo-German Concertina, Dan Worrall mentions some South African players who would add harmonizing notes to their right hand playing rather than the left, but it seems to have been an uncommon technique, historically speaking. That's no reason not to try it out, of course!



#4 Robin Harrison

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Posted 22 January 2018 - 09:41 AM

I hope Adrian Brown will chime in here.

   I recently attended a workshop with him and he emphasizes the concept of spreading a chord as widely as possible ie from the bottom notes of the left hand to the top notes of the right hand.

      I have started to incorporate this as much as possible in my playing, mainly song accompaniment......it's a great sound and reasonably simple with just a little practice.



#5 Mjolnir

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Posted 22 January 2018 - 02:57 PM

I've watched piano players for Contra Dance (Ceili) bands use a rhythm accompaniment technique playing octaves in the left hand, alternating between the root and 5th, on the beat, and then chords with the right hand for the off beats.  I have tried it myself on piano; Quite a bit of fun!  With variations of course, such as bass runs, dropping out octaves or chords occasionally or adding in extras for syncopation.  But the basic assumption is that the piano is providing the rhythm and some of the chord structure, while someone ELSE is the carrying the melody.

 

So if the chord is C major, say, you're saying that on the beats, you're going to alternate between playing a simultaneous low and middle C on the left hand, and then going up to the Gs on the left hand, but then on all the off beats, you'll play the same C major chord on the right hand?

I'm fairly new to the anglo, but I've been jamming a bit with a friend who plays fiddle in a contra dance band, and it would be nice to bring some more interesting accompaniment than simple oom-pahs on the beats.



#6 KelTekgolow

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Posted 23 January 2018 - 06:18 AM

I was thinking more of playing a  block cord R/H ( Up to three notes together)  and then other various notes of the cord L/H .I was hoping to use this for song accompaniment not necessarily using the melody which I will sing .I have not yet learnt many R/H cords.I am just trying to find other means of accompaniment.. 



#7 adrian brown

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Posted 23 January 2018 - 07:40 AM

I hope Adrian Brown will chime in here.

   I recently attended a workshop with him and he emphasizes the concept of spreading a chord as widely as possible ie from the bottom notes of the left hand to the top notes of the right hand.

      I have started to incorporate this as much as possible in my playing, mainly song accompaniment......it's a great sound and reasonably simple with just a little practice.

 

What I wanted to emphasise is to treat the two sides of the instrument as a continuous keyboard and to spread an accompaniment between the sides, not assume that the chords have to stop at the top of the LH range.

 

It's only one of the ways of accompanying songs, but if I was making a song arrangement from scratch, I'd certainly start by playing a simple chordal accompaniment over both hands to get a feeling of where I want the accompaniment to go.

 

It's worth remembering that because the lowest octave of the anglo is diatonic, and also has a missing 2nd note from the bottom, any harmonic movement is going to be severely limited by your available bass notes. So if you take the chords over to the RH, it gives you a lot more room for higher bass runs on the left, which in turn will allow you to modulate to other keys in a more logical fashion. Granted the accompaniment will be a lot higher, (one of the reasons I find a baritone anglo so useful) but in practise, you can make nicer-sounding inversions and progressions when you incorporate the RH.

 

I generally tell people to work out chord shapes on the RH as you would do on the left, and to practise arpeggios from L to R to L on the main chords. This will teach you where all the notes are, so you get your fingers 'thinking' in chord patterns over the two ends and bellows directions.

 

Finally, if you 'think' of the CG anglo as being an octave lower than it sounds (or a fifth lower if you play a GD), you can work through simple piano or keyboard arrangements of popular songs, where you'd read the lowest note as the C below the bass clef and the RH note two octaves higher as middle C. It's probably one of the best and quickest ways of learning about harmony and chord progressions in a practical fashion.

I hope this helps,

Adrian



#8 Wolf Molkentin

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Posted 24 January 2018 - 05:42 AM

I like to accompany my singing with my Anglo .I have learnt most cords on the left hand .Watching for example a piano player they often play their cords with the right hand then additional notes on the left do any of you use right hand cords much .Thanks Bob

 

I couldn't agree more as to playing the piano - and to some extent the concertina as well then. IMO it is a common misunderstanding to figure the piano to be played like an accordion (which I would as well treat with some additional right hand harmony),  LH "chords" and RH "melody". I once tried this as a youth, with no training and understanding other than playing from baroque, classic, romantic sheets (and playing the blues...). A Whiter Shade of Pale - and you might "hear" how awful that did sound...  :o

 

However, some years later, with octave playing bass notes, and harmony with the RH, everything worked fine. Additionally I tend to include a fifth or a ninth (or whatever) in my LH playing...

 

And the EC - just as certainly the other systems - is very well capable of that approach too...

 

Best wishes - Wolf


Edited by Wolf Molkentin, 25 January 2018 - 04:16 AM.


#9 Hereward

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Posted 24 January 2018 - 07:01 AM

I admit I'm finding playing chords on the left hand looks to be challenging (at the least) but I haven't quite got that far yet with my new Anglo. Doing the same on the right would probably present yet more problems but I remain sanguine about my chances of getting there eventually, even though I'm somewhat old to be learning an instrument. Thanks for the thoughts everyone though.



#10 adrian brown

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Posted 24 January 2018 - 12:43 PM

I admit I'm finding playing chords on the left hand looks to be challenging (at the least) but I haven't quite got that far yet with my new Anglo. Doing the same on the right would probably present yet more problems but I remain sanguine about my chances of getting there eventually, even though I'm somewhat old to be learning an instrument. Thanks for the thoughts everyone though.

 

Try filling in charts like these - just fill the dots in as an aide-memoire for the various chords you want and note whether the bellows direction is press or draw. I think you'll find it helps the brain and fingers find the correct buttons. If you're feeling inventive you can even colour-code it for tonic, 3rd, 5th and so on.  I have a 39 button version if anyone is interested and BTW it's not my brilliant idea - I got it here years ago from Roger Digby...

 

Adrian

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#11 Robin Harrison

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Posted 24 January 2018 - 05:02 PM

Like so.......I used Roger's pdf also and added and subtracted bits for my 38 key......mine is a somewhat customised layout but the basic 30 keys are there. I just show it as an example of what Adrian is talking about.

      At the moment I use just mainly 2 note chords on the right hand ( occasionally 3) and keep it very simple.

 One of my graphics shows every note in the chord, the other is simpler and shows the ones I am most likely to use.

 

Robin

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#12 Jody Kruskal

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Posted 25 January 2018 - 03:14 AM

I just have to add to this excellent discussion...

 

Yes, I agree that if you are playing chords with no concertina melody, then of course, the right hand plays those chords too. There is a world of real estate there on the right hand that needs to be used. Delightful syncopations present themselves when two hands are used for accompaniment. It's easy to learn a two note on the left and two note on the right chord pattern that uses both hands . Once you get it, then there is a world of rhythmic things to do. if you are set free from playing melody too. Call and response, interesting ranges, both high and low, droney stuff, bass notes and bass runs to incorporate, 4, 6, 7, 9 ,11 and 13 pitch extras to a standard triad... the list goes on.

 

I love the thought from Adrian that the range of the specific chord notes is so important in creating an open rather than a muddy sound. A close triad of 1, 3, 5 never sounds as good as a spelling that is spread out.  For example: 1, 3, 5 , vs 1, 1, 5 or 1, 5, 3, or 1, 1, 1. This last example has only the 1 note in octaves and delivers tonality without adding complexity to the sound. I've learned that simpler is better...at least half the time.

 

I've found too, that it's variable button duration that turns the conventional idea of "um-pa" into a workhorse of rhythmic and harmonic variation in the accompaniment. The basic idea is that some notes play long (button held down) and others play short (button tapped). The idea of rhythmic movement is expressed in its simplist form as the code phrase "Um-Pa" and the cool thing about it is that it means both a rhythmic" long-short" coupled with a harmonic "low-high." This makes for a a rocking rhythmic background pulse that becomes part of the bellows. A rocking pulsing bellows makes simple tunes come alive and dance.



#13 adrian brown

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Posted 31 January 2018 - 04:19 AM

I've been trying to come up with a sequel to your excellent post Jody, but find I have nothing to add that I think would be of any interest. I'll just put my 39 button chart here - nobody has requested it yet, but it might be useful to some.

 

Cheers

 

Adrian

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Edited by adrian brown, 31 January 2018 - 04:20 AM.


#14 Jody Kruskal

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Posted 31 January 2018 - 11:13 PM

Hi Adrian,

 

Nice chart there. This is a blank template, right? Ready to be filled in... or did I miss something?

 

BTW, I name those thirty buttons you have so kindly put in the boxes using the same numbering system that Gary Coover promotes.

 

1a 2a 3a 4a 5a   1a 2a 3a 4a 5a

1  2  3  4  5    1  2  3  4  5

6  7  8  9  10   6  7  8  9  10

 

Do you name your buttons this way? If so, then the million dollar question is...

 

What do you call the other buttons on a 39 Anglo?



#15 adrian brown

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Posted 01 February 2018 - 08:54 AM

Hi Adrian,

 

Nice chart there. This is a blank template, right? Ready to be filled in... or did I miss something?

 

BTW, I name those thirty buttons you have so kindly put in the boxes using the same numbering system that Gary Coover promotes.

 

1a 2a 3a 4a 5a   1a 2a 3a 4a 5a

1  2  3  4  5    1  2  3  4  5

6  7  8  9  10   6  7  8  9  10

 

Do you name your buttons this way? If so, then the million dollar question is...

 

What do you call the other buttons on a 39 Anglo?

 

Thanks Jody - yes it's a chart to fill in oneself - I use it mostly for worked out "bits and pieces chords" that I stumble upon and want to remember, and that I can't be bothered to find a correct name for! I've found it handy to have around when teaching - I've even done a larger version that you can see better in a bigger group - because it's particularly good when you've not yet learnt the names of the notes. Guitarists use these sort of patterns for chords and I think it's a good way of visualising what your hands are doing.

 

I use Gary's numbering system too and yes, (or rather no) I haven't come up with a satisfactory way for the extra buttons. Perhaps we 39 players here could come up with a "standard"?

 

So how about this as a starting point:

 

RH middle row: 1b and 5b

RH inner row: 6b

RH 4th row "remnant": 13 (I propose this because if we had a full 4th row, like the bigger Jeffries, this would be button number 13, no?)

 

LH middle row: 5b

LH inner row: 10b

LH 4th row "remnant": 13

LH thumb button: Th

 

I'll now duck down behind the sofa ready to rally any incoming suggestions from the massed hoards of outraged 39er's :-)

 

Adrian


Edited by adrian brown, 01 February 2018 - 08:55 AM.


#16 KelTekgolow

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Posted 02 February 2018 - 06:08 AM

I have done a similar thing drawn out the R/H to show what buttons are available for each of the cords that I use .Like the guitar players I don't necessary remember the notes of the cord but the patterns they form..I have not been playing my concertina for many years but I am surprised that every time I try something new I learn more ways to use the keyboard.I will need two more lifetimes to play all that I want to play ..



#17 Rod

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Posted 02 February 2018 - 11:42 AM

Over a period of more thirty five years I have built up a very considerable fund of very satisfactory Anglo chords based purely on the strength of trial and error. All good fun ...with no reference to the musical theory of it all. Once embedded in my head they have become instinctively readily available as required.

#18 wayman

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Posted 02 February 2018 - 11:56 AM

Jody and Adrian,

Thank goodness we few, we happy few, who care about thinking of standard names for 39-button instruments are thinking about this! I devised my own system for the buttons beyond 30 which I have never found truly satisfactory. (And for the "basic 30", I preferred the Coover system to the Button Box's in-house system which is numbering them 1-15 on each side. This meant I was constantly translating between my own and my then-workplace's system which was ... tedious. But them's the breaks. If Rich Morse were here to defend his system I'm sure he would do so.)

 

My "I don't recommend this!" system is:

1a 2a 3a 4a 5a           1a 2a 3a 4a 5a
1  2  3  4  5  A      A  1  2  3  4  5  C
6  7  8  9  10 B      B  6  7  8  9  10
  (D) E          T             E (D)

"E" ostensibly stands for "extra" because it hangs out all by itself in its own row; and "D" is an optional button that I put on one instrument I made on the left (but not on the right). My goal was to keep the "basic 30" unchanged and that meant ... not using numbers for the others. But I don't really *like* it, partly because it's so specific to the "Jeffries 38" layout.

 

I'd like something that's more flexible, that includes logical names for all the possible places buttons might appear on an anglo of up to, say, 45 buttons while also keeping the "basic 30" labeled as such...

 

(One could get to a 45 by using "F", "G", "H" building out from E in the logical directions on each side ... I suppose it really only leaves the button above "A" which is important on, say, Robin's Dipper or on many Wheatstone 36 button instruments I've seen. Call it "0" or something? So this system might have merit after all, but I am entirely open to other ideas.)


Edited by wayman, 02 February 2018 - 12:00 PM.




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