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vamping concertina anglo

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#1 oxfordanglo

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Posted 13 March 2016 - 06:57 AM

Morning all,

 

I am new to the anglo concertina past 6months and working my way through Gary Coover's ession tunes book which is great., I have a scarletti (budget i know) 20 key. I'm finding many of the single note tunes a bit "hollow" and have been adding 'vamp' cords to try and beef things in up/add a bit off life. Is this acceptable, am I going to bastardise the intended sound of the pieces? I'm trying to get my ear in by listening to lost of session tunes on spotify etc.....

 

If anyone else does this what's your approach?

 

ON another note in the same vein, what about oom-pah cords? I find these a particular challenge to figure out on the anglo due to the necessary bellows changes, likewise drone notes- non sooner have you found the note it disappears as the main melody moves on with a bellows change by necessity!

 

I'm thinking these are probably common problems that many beginners come across.

 

At the back of my mind I feel the tunes may sound less hollow on a better instrument with more notes and perhaps that's why i'm feeling this!

 

thoughts a welcome

 

 



#2 Tradewinds Ted

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Posted 13 March 2016 - 09:29 AM

Partial chords are often plenty.  The melody provides one note, so choose one other note in the chord for the harmony, that fits with the required bellows direction.  One way to choose is to create a nice harmonic line, but it isn't necessary to provide a harmony note for every melody note either.   For melody notes where there is a choice of buttons you may want to adjust your choice to more readily allow a harmony note, I find that for a 20 button the suggested fingering in G. Coovers book wouldn't be my first choice.   (but therefore it is valuable to me for learning alternate fingerings!) Full chords can be reserved for emphasis at the end of the tune, when the melody is most likely on the tonic note anyway, and the full chord can be easily played.  



#3 Mikefule

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Posted 13 March 2016 - 02:03 PM

Oom pah chords.  Assuming your 20 button is in C/G:

 

On the left hand, on the C row, play 1 (little finger) on the first beat of the bar and then 4 & 5 on the off beat.  That's an "oom pah" C major chord.

 

On the G row, you can play an oom pah of G major by playing the equivalent buttons.

 

Back on the C row, play 1 then 2 & 3 for the G chord on the pull.

 

However, your options on a 20 button are quite limited.  With a 30 button, there is lots of oom pah-ing you can do.

 

On my 20 button, I tend to do either single notes or pairs of notes as the accompaniment most of the time.

 

There is no "right" way to play Anglo, It is an instrument designed for the ordinary person with little or no technical training.  Play single notes along the row, or single notes across the rows, or octaves (along or across the rows), or vamp chords, or play bass and melody, or... It is a strange combination of limitations and versatility.  That's why we love it.



#4 oxfordanglo

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Posted 14 March 2016 - 06:24 AM

Thanks both, great replies. I shall go forth with a renewed confidence and just see what sounds right. You are right about G Coovers suggested notes-already am choosing alternatives that seem to flow better at times.

 

thanks again

 

adam



#5 Mikefule

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Posted 14 March 2016 - 04:00 PM

A nice variant on the oom pah is to play the first and fifth of the chord (such as the notes C and G on the push) on the on beat, then fill in the third (E) on the off beat.



#6 inventor

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Posted 15 March 2016 - 10:43 AM

The quintessential Oxford Anglo Player was the late William Kimber of Heddington Quarry, Oxford.

Dan Worral, of this parish has written a book about his playing; giving the exact buttons, and bellows direction of the notes he played on both sides of an anglo at the same time, All the tunes, except I think only one, he played originally on a 20 button anglo. He made quite extensive use of harmony, which is all accurately notated in Dan's book. The book also gives examples of other more recent players ways of playing these tunes, including the virtuoso Anglo player and broadcaster John Kirkpatric.

This book should be in every Anglo players library, especially an Oxford Anglo player.

 

Inventor..



#7 Jody Kruskal

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Posted 16 March 2016 - 12:53 AM

Hey there danglo,

 

The nice thing about oom pah is that it's a concept of accompaniment that can stretch to fit with countless variations. The basic oom pah idea has three components.

 

The first is about pitch. Oom pah means low high, low high etc. The low note will likely be the 1 of the chord triad (though 3 and 5 are possible). The pah could be the octave above (my first choice), the fifth above (my second choice), the third above (my third choice) the same note as the oom (my fourth choice), another note that sounds good (my fifth choice). Perhaps I might use two or three notes that sound good for the pah, but certainly not always, usually it's just one note for the pah as well as the oom.

 

The second component is about button duration (how long you hold your finger down on the button) and that can be expressed by this simple formula: long short, long short etc.

 

In addition, it's good to note that when possible, the melody notes should have an even longer duration than the accompaniment notes. Right hand long, left hand short is the rule for Anglos. For simplicity, think about three button durations. Melody is the longest, oom is in the middle and pah is the shortest in duration. This concept is hard to master on the box, but key to clear playing that lets the melody come forward singing.

 

The third component is about accent. In cut time (most tunes, like reels and hornpipes are in this) you make the oom be accented less that the pah. That should sound like this: "oom PAH, oom PAH" etc. I'm talking about a measure of time which can also be counted "1 and, 2 and" etc. When I say "accented" I mean an extra umph on the bellows. All four beats of a measure counted "1 and 2 and" should have a little extra umph, but the "and" beats should be stronger than the ones and twos. All of this piece of advice can be expressed in a simple sentence... "accent the off beats to get lift and drive in a dance tune".

 

There you have it. To actually do it, practice each bit separately to isolate your task.

 

If you are able to play with all three of these things going on at once, then you will sound really cool and that special individual of the gender you prefer will fall in love with you, there will be many babies and you will die a happy grandfather. Ignore my advice at your peril.

 

(Then there all the other cool things you can do that are not oom pah... like playing in octaves, thirds and sixths... harmonies high and low and all quite possible on the 20 button.)


Edited by Jody Kruskal, 16 March 2016 - 02:11 AM.


#8 gcoover

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Posted 17 March 2016 - 12:37 AM

Oxfordanglo,

If you're having difficulty adding extra notes and harmonies and chords to the Irish Session Tunes book I totally understand why, since the buttons notated in that particular book are for playing with more lilt in a strictly single-note Irish style! I only put one tune in there with harmonies, Carolan's "Eleanor Plunkett".

 

I play very different melody buttons when wanting to play the same tunes with more harmonies or oompah or if wanting to play more legato, so feel free to search the fingering chart for the alternate buttons that play the same notes in different directions.

 

And you should never have to ask anyone else if anything is "acceptable" - your own ears are the judge. These are wonderfully tough old tunes, many have survived for hundreds of years, so you're not going to cause any lasting damage by finding your own style.

 

I'm envious - you're located deep in Morris dancing country, and those are my favorite tunes to play on the Anglo, and usually with all sorts of chords and runs and whatever else comes to mind. 

 

Since you only have a 20-button, you might want to try some of the tunes in the Civil War Concertina book (I know, I know, wrong civil war, wrong country), or perhaps Easy Anglo 1-2-3. There are some freebies of some of the tunes floating around on cnet and with Amazon's Look Inside feature you'll find more tunes that will show there are a lot more harmonies available on the 2-row than most people expect.

 

But you've found cnet, and that's a great start. Lots of help, opinion and entertainment awaits!

 

Gary



#9 oxfordanglo

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Posted 20 March 2016 - 04:56 PM

Wow, thanks everyone, what a great response- I've got plenty here to keep me occupied for some time! I must get the Dan Worrall book. I haven't yet started exploring Morris tunes, being originally drawn to the Celtic sound, something hypnotic about the runs and rhythms.....
I'll stick with my trusty 20key a bit longer. Thanks everyone.

#10 oxfordanglo

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Posted 20 March 2016 - 05:10 PM

Hey there danglo,
 
The nice thing about oom pah is that it's a concept of accompaniment that can stretch to fit with countless variations. The basic oom pah idea has three components.
 
The first is about pitch. Oom pah means low high, low high etc. The low note will likely be the 1 of the chord triad (though 3 and 5 are possible). The pah could be the octave above (my first choice), the fifth above (my second choice), the third above (my third choice) the same note as the oom (my fourth choice), another note that sounds good (my fifth choice). Perhaps I might use two or three notes that sound good for the pah, but certainly not always, usually it's just one note for the pah as well as the oom.
 
The second component is about button duration (how long you hold your finger down on the button) and that can be expressed by this simple formula: long short, long short etc.
 
In addition, it's good to note that when possible, the melody notes should have an even longer duration than the accompaniment notes. Right hand long, left hand short is the rule for Anglos. For simplicity, think about three button durations. Melody is the longest, oom is in the middle and pah is the shortest in duration. This concept is hard to master on the box, but key to clear playing that lets the melody come forward singing.
 
The third component is about accent. In cut time (most tunes, like reels and hornpipes are in this) you make the oom be accented less that the pah. That should sound like this: "oom PAH, oom PAH" etc. I'm talking about a measure of time which can also be counted "1 and, 2 and" etc. When I say "accented" I mean an extra umph on the bellows. All four beats of a measure counted "1 and 2 and" should have a little extra umph, but the "and" beats should be stronger than the ones and twos. All of this piece of advice can be expressed in a simple sentence... "accent the off beats to get lift and drive in a dance tune".
 
There you have it. To actually do it, practice each bit separately to isolate your task.
 
If you are able to play with all three of these things going on at once, then you will sound really cool and that special individual of the gender you prefer will fall in love with you, there will be many babies and you will die a happy grandfather. Ignore my advice at your peril.
 
(Then there all the other cool things you can do that are not oom pah... like playing in octaves, thirds and sixths... harmonies high and low and all quite possible on the 20 button.)

that's a great explanation, thanks

#11 Dan Worrall

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Posted 26 March 2016 - 10:52 PM

The quintessential Oxford Anglo Player was the late William Kimber of Heddington Quarry, Oxford.

Dan Worral, of this parish has written a book about his playing; giving the exact buttons, and bellows direction of the notes he played on both sides of an anglo at the same time, All the tunes, except I think only one, he played originally on a 20 button anglo. He made quite extensive use of harmony, which is all accurately notated in Dan's book. The book also gives examples of other more recent players ways of playing these tunes, including the virtuoso Anglo player and broadcaster John Kirkpatric.

This book should be in every Anglo players library, especially an Oxford Anglo player.

 

Inventor..

Thanks for the plug, inventor; glad you liked the book. I'm not from that parish however; they speak Texan where I live.

 

I just logged on and found this thread, so here is my two cents' worth on harmonic playing. Like anything else concertina, there are varied styles and varied levels of difficulties. The reason I like Kimber's style so much for harmonic playing is that he is a minimalist. Once one learns to play a melody in octaves, then it is pretty much just a matter of adding a third note above or below the bass end of the octave pair, making a partial chord. Then drop out some of the bass octaves/partials that are off the beat, while still playing the melody notes on the right hand, and you have instant rhythm and chords. 

 

No need in this style for oompahs. No insistence on the three chord trick...Kimber played what sounded good to him even if it didn't fit that rather rigid system that modern pop music has pounded into our skulls. And hence, much less memory work. When a fancy chord requires one to mess with the bellows direction of the melody in order to play it, that requires muscle memory. Some folks have brains wired for memory, or have lots of time on their hands to practice, or both, and it works beautifully for them. But for my money, talent level and time, Kimber sounds perfectly fine, and old-timey to boot.

 

Have fun!



#12 John Wild

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Posted 27 March 2016 - 10:47 AM

Maybe the parish referred to is concertina.net   :-)

:)



#13 Dan Worrall

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Posted 27 March 2016 - 12:42 PM

Oh. Right.
So who is the vicar here? I hope they don't charge a tithe! :)

#14 inventor

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Posted 31 March 2016 - 12:02 PM

That is the parish I meant.  I am sure that the vicar is the spirit of Rev Father Kenneth Loveless, who was also a pupil of William Kimber.

 

Inventor. 



#15 Dan Worrall

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Posted 02 April 2016 - 11:44 PM

Good thought!



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