The types of ornaments I use in playing Irish trad on Anglo are:
Cuts, graces, and rolls are all readily executed on EC. I find these to be easier on Anglo, however, because in most cases you're using adjacent fingers on the same hand, and because you're moving sideways along the rows (horizontally) rather than vertically.
- Cuts, mostly from the note in the scale immediately above
I think you're contradicting yourself, since on the anglo adjacent buttons in one hand are (almost) never
adjacent notes of the scale
. (The very few exceptions are in less common keys: A-G# or d#-c# in some layouts.) E.g., B cut on a G or d cut on a B are the buttons immediately above, but not the immediately above notes of the scale, which would be respectively A and c (or c#). It's fiddle and flute players who normally use the
scale note above, rather than the second
scale note above, which is what you usually get from the next button up on an anglo
On English, cuts, graces, and rolls nearly always require that you use fingers on two hands. I find it harder to make the ornament clean and crisp when it involves both hands.
And I find it easier
, so that's what I most often do. I even do that frequently on the anglo where it's possible, e.g., pull A-B-A, and B-c-B or d-e-d in either direction.
But two-hand ornaments are not
"required" on the English. In fact, doing an anglo
-style cut on the English -- e.g., B-G or c-A -- uses (diagonally) adjacent buttons in the same
hand. I suspect that
is the reason why Noel advised -- as you report -- that an English player should keep his ornaments in one hand: because then they more often use the same notes
that Noel himself plays.
Triplet runs are about equivalent in difficulty for me on AC and EC.
I find them difficult if they involve a bellows reversal, and much more difficult if they require two reversals. On the English I find them trivially easy, and nearly so on the anglo when they don't require any bellows reversals, but then they're also usually using both hands.
I love doing crans on Anglo but I haven't tried them on EC (no particular reason).
I've toyed with whistle-style crans on the English, but haven't really worked on them. I understand that what are called "crans" on the anglo are really a very different animal, but I've never tried them, so I have no basis for comment.
Octaves and other harmony notes are easy to do on EC as long as you're not trying to play several in succession, like Kitty Hayes often does.
They're not as intuitive on the English as on the anglo, but on some sequences, several in succession isn't difficult at all. In other cases they can be real finger-knotters.
Overall, I find ornaments somewhat more intuitive on Anglo, but not hugely so. It's hard to separate that opinion, though, from the fact that I've practiced Anglo ornaments intensively at NHICS and Irish Arts Week, and I've never had a comparable intensive practice period on English.
And I have far more experience on the English than on the anglo.
In any case, I thought this a very tough goal to shoot for, unless you're willing to accept some fairly unconventional -- or at least un-Anglo -- notes in your graces, cuts, etc.
I think you're wrong there. While I personally find anglo-style ornaments on the English a bit awkward, it's clearly because I haven't practiced them, not something inherent. It's doing "English-style" -- really fiddle-style -- ornaments on the anglo that generally presents obstacles. As for equating "un-Anglo" with "unconventional", when compared to all the other common Irish instruments, it's the anglo (and button accordion) ornaments which are unusual. I'm not saying that's either good or bad, just a fact.