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About MJGray

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    Advanced Member

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  • Gender
  • Interests
    Anglo concertina, clawhammer banjo, baritone ukulele, guitar and (occasionally) tenor banjo.
  • Location
    Homewood, AL

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  1. Agreed on Gary's books, and his "1-2-3" book in particular does a nice job of ramping up to fairly complex arrangements. I'd also second what Mikefule said about playing in octaves. This is an excellent way to enrich the sound of your playing, and gets both hands involved quickly. New forum member Kathryn Wheeler recently posted a lovely arrangement of a tune (in the General Discussion forum) where she uses octave playing extensively. It's an old-fashioned, but very effective style, and personally, I love the way it sounds. -Mike
  2. ๐Ÿ™‚ Or you can just play a bit each day on whatever tune you want and just have a good time. Also a valid strategy! It'll take longer to "get good", but if you're having fun, who cares? It all depends on your goals.
  3. Examples I pulled off a quick YouTube search (solo playing in very simple settings): From Gary Coover, harmonic style - combining melody (mostly right hand) with chords and rhythmic harmony accompaniment (mostly left hand): From Sarah Thomsen, Irish trad style - mostly a single melody line with lots of ornaments, similar to how other instruments are used in Irish music: Gary and others can fill you in on the detailed technical differences, but my feeling, as a fairly unsophisticated musician, is that harmonic style playing is more old-fas
  4. If you're interested in the history of the Anglo concertina and the role it's played in music in countries around the world (including Australia), you can't beat Dan Worrall's "The Anglo-German Concertina - A Social History", available for free in two volumes on archive.org: https://archive.org/details/bub_gb_1-thWE5XRmsC https://archive.org/details/bub_gb_JKZO1aevsiIC Fascinating stuff!
  5. I started in more or less the same place. Luckily, the Anglo was designed to be easy to learn to play! There are also lots of learning resources available, both modern and historical. What kind of music are you interested in playing? This thread in the "Teaching and Learning" forum is a great resource: The most important thing, of course, is to have fun! Mike
  6. I sort of agree here. You can play any kind of music on any kind of instrument, but each type makes certain things easier. Anglos sacrifice being able to play easily in non-home row keys for simplifying rhythmic and harmonic accompaniment. English and Duet systems make other compromises. If you're a virtuoso musician, it doesn't matter, but if you're not planning to dedicate your life to the instrument, it may be more fun to pick an instrument that is optimized for the kind of music you find most interesting and fun to play.
  7. ๐Ÿ‘†What David said! The Button Box is great, and they will be able to help you narrow in on the right instrument for you. For a very broad overview, Anglo concertinas are mostly used for folk music and are designed to make harmony easy (at least in their home keys), English concertinas are fully chromatic, more melodic (being originally designed for classical music) and less rhythmic, and duet concertinas are meant to allow more complex arrangements in many keys.
  8. 20-key instruments are great for learning, and work very nicely for fairly simple harmonic arrangements in the two keys they are focused on (typically C and G). A lot of the historical manuals are for 20-key instruments, and Gary Coover has a couple of excellent modern tutors for them. I played a 20-key for quite a while before trading up. 30-key Anglos allow you to play in other keys (more or less easily, mostly less) and give you additional options for direction (push vs. pull) on some useful notes. If you're interested in Irish style playing, this is essential, but it's less imp
  9. Fantastic resource! Thank you for compiling this. A small addition to the 20-button list, and a personal favorite of mine: Merrill's Harmonic Method (1872) - https://archive.org/details/merrillsharmonic00merr And while I was looking for that, I found this for English (which I don't play): The Concertina Without A Master (1857; Case, Sedgwick, & Ruttinger) - https://archive.org/details/concertinawithou00case Mike
  10. If you look at the music in very early 19th C. Anglo tutors, they're about evenly split between dance tunes, music hall songs, and hymns. I think it was always meant to be able to play a wide range of "genres".
  11. In my experience, that happens on a regular 6-month cycle with no extra effort needed, but YMMV. ?
  12. To be honest, I've had something like this problem, and it was a big turnoff from getting into playing Irish music. Now, I'm not very technically accomplished, but I've definitely encountered folks with the attitude that if you don't know the locally "right" version of all the tunes and can't get it all by ear immediately, you're not welcome to play. That kind of gatekeeping just makes it less fun if you're not already at a very high technical level. Presumably there are Irish music scenes that are friendlier to new folks and have the kind of healthier attitude Gary describes above
  13. I have not played a Minstrel, but you can mark down another satisfied customer for the Clover!
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