what i meant was is say I was to play la tarantella on a 30 anglo c/g the first part of the song that uses chords is fairly long and so I would start with a minor as I can use that in both directions however in part of the song I would need dm and so would only be able to play the chord dm going outwards. so I would need to stop so I can close the concertina a bit then continue.
The usual thing with an Anglo is, if all else fails, to imply chords by playing the one or two notes that are available. It is an Anglo, and will not necessarily provide all you need for an arrangement written for a different instrument. It is often the compromises that give the Anglo its unique and charismatic sound. Nothing wrong with that: there are plenty of perfectly respectable instruments (violin, flute, need I go on) that don't do chords at all.
That said, it is surprising how easy it becomes to manage the amount of air in the bellows and play without stopping if you practise.
in this scenario what would you do? thanks for your help so far
I would need to know the piece of music, and I might then spend a lot of time deciding, and a better player might well come up with different or better solutions.
I have generally found that in some specific cases, "artificially" changing the bellows direction just to "chase" the right chord can sound wrong. It's not just whether you have the right 3 notes for the chord, but whether it is the right version of the chord (which inversion? Is it high or low? Is it close position or spread over a wider range? What chord precedes it? What chord follows it?) You can't always get away with just playing the version of the chord that is available.
Where a full chord is not available, or where the one that is available sounds wrong in context, you need to consider things like how long you would like to hold the chord for, and whether it is on the beat, off beat, or across two or more beats.
Several common options, at least one of which will always work:
1) Do not play an accompaniment at all for that note. It is often less than half a second, and the ear will fill in what s missing, or at least, will not miss it.
2) Play a note an octave (or 2 octaves) below the melody note. This keeps the accompaniment going. In some tunes, I play a bar, or half a phrase, or more, in octaves.
3) Play the third or the fifth if available.
4) Vamp on the melody side - the next button down (in pitch) usually works, but other options are available on a 30(+) button.
5) Play a pair of notes, either together or sequentially (a partial arpeggio). Where the full chord is not available, it is often the case that two of the required notes are available.
6) Transpose the music into a different key. In very simple terms, on a C/G, there are some tunes that sit better in C and some that sit better in G.
I'm sure if I put my mind to it, I could come up with other solutions. The thing is that the Anglo is an instrument that encourages/forces you to be creative. We try to do things with it that it was not originally designed for.
The limitations of a 20 to 30 button instrument create a distinctive Anglo sound, with lots of octaves, pedal points, short bass runs, dry fifths and vamped thirds as the musician works out the best solution for that particular tune. A 38 (or more) button instrument offers more choices, but sometimes at the expense of that distinctive sound. In theory at least, an Anglo could have enough extra buttons to be full chromatic across 2 or 3 octaves and offer every full chord, but it would be huge, unwieldy, and no longer really an Anglo. The core of the Anglo is the two diatonic rows a 5th apart, and all the other buttons are useful extras.
It is a gross simplification, but think of the English and various duet systems as "designed" and the Anglo as "developed". The Anglo started life as 2 buttons, 2 keys, offering very simple chord options. It was often played by people with little or no musical training who played by ear and either used a simple 1,4,5 accompaniment, or even a 1,5 accompaniment, or played in bare octaves for extra volume.
More buttons were then added to provide more options. Players then took this in two directions: some used the accidentals to build scales in different keys and used it to play mainly single line melodies (Irish traditional music, for example) whilst others used it in the main keys, but with richer accompaniment. Some of the better players then developed ways of playing both melody and accompaniment in a wider range of keys, working creatively around the limitations of the instrument.
Professional folk singer/concertinist, Keith Kendrick, who gave me my first few lessons, refers to the Anglo as the "thinking man's piano". He would say that "it's all there if you know where to look."
If you simply want to take an existing arrangement of a piece of music in any key and transfer it to a concertina as unchanged as possible, then the Anglo is probably not for you. You would constantly be battling it, frustrated that you need to transpose to different keys, and grumbling at the compromises. A duet would probably suit you better, or possibly an English.
However, if you want the challenge and enjoyment of playing an instrument that encourages you to be creative, to find out how the tune works, and find new things in the tune that you hadn't noticed before, the Anglo is a truly wonderful instrument.
I play mainly by ear, although I sometimes use the dots to learn a new tune or remind me of an old tune. There are tunes that I play most days and have known for years, and every so often, despite having played the tune 1,00 times before, I suddenly find a different solution. It may be two beats of one bar where a different bass note fits, or it may be something more fundamental like refingering a whole phrase, or transposing the tune to a different key. It is not true to say that corny jazzman thing, "I never play the tune the same way twice" but it is certainly true to say that I don't always play the same tune the same way.
A flute can only lay one note at a time, however good the player. A violin can play two notes at once, but double stopping is the spice that brings a tune to life, not a fundamental aspect of the instrument. A piano can play anything in any key, but it can't bend notes like a harmonica. Every instrument has strengths and limitations. Ask not what your Anglo can do for you; ask what you can do on your Anglo.