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gcoover

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  1. I use the pinkies a lot, mostly on the left-hand side for bass notes and bass runs, like you often hear with John Watcham, Andy Turner, Adrian Brown, John K, and Bertram Levy's playing. Not so much on the right since that's up in the squeaky end, but "Birds A--Building" and "Smash the Windows" (harmonic style) actually make it up to the high 5a. I've also recently worked up a really nice version of "Coilsfield House" in G that also needs that right-hand little finger. It takes a fair amount of training to get those little guys to cooperate, but it's definitely worth it to expand your reach and your sound. I've never used a pinkie to hold either end - they're needed to play notes instead. In the meanwhile, a sneak peak of a draft version of a tune from an upcoming book of John Watcham's tunes, "Saturday Night" (as heard on the Son of Morris On album), that uses the left-hand pinkie, including a bass run in measure 12 where you have to jump around all over the place - totally forget what the ITM folks say about "chopping"! Gary Saturday-Night-C-ANGLO-WATCHAM.pdf
  2. Thanks for proofing, good catch on measure 17. The other staff/tab differences come from trying to show the melody on one line. On measure 9 I've now changed that to a push so all four notes are now available (works better, too!). These church harmonies are hard to make fit, but working on the re-do of the Alan Lochhead book has really helped. I'm trying to keep the keys the same as in the old hymn and gospel songbooks whenever possible - wouldn't it be fun to play along in church with the organ and choir! But if it's in something like Eb or Ab, then I'm adjusting the key to better fit the Anglo. Gary
  3. Ok, I'm trying to come up with a scheme to show 4-part music for both Anglo and English concertinas, and this is what I've got so far (see attached), using three staffs. The top staff is for C/G Anglo, at real pitch, melody only but with lines of numbers top and bottom corresponding to each of the 4 parts, so theoretically 4 Anglos could play in parts, or one could try playing it all at once. The melody is high because that's the most likely range for the Anglo melody when also playing left hand accompaniment. The only peculiarity on the upper row is showing the occasional left-hand button number in parentheses. The middle staff is two parts, in real pitch, for treble and tenor instruments (EC or Duet), with stems up for one part and stems down for the other. The bottom staff is two parts, in treble clef an octave high, for baritone and bass instruments (who likely play in treble clef but the sound that comes out will be an octave or two lower), with stems up for one part and stems down for the other. Sorry, no bass clef at the moment, and I'm not sure if there is room to squeeze one in as everything is already fairly cluttered. Of course, assuming they are "paper-trained", players could choose to play any line in whatever octave their instrument is in, which could lead to some really rich sounds. The project at hand is a collection of sacred songs and hymns for all concertinas, and yes, it will include some Sacred Harp too. Questions, comments, tomatoes? Gary A-Mighty-Fortress-Is-Our-God-C-ANGLO-SACRED-3staff.pdf
  4. If I may resurrect this old thread and all its frustrations with a bit of good news... Rollston Press has reached a deal with Mel Bay Publications to publish a completely new book of all the Anglo concertina arrangements in Alan Lochhead's All-American Concertina Album, with notes shown in actual pitch (not octave low), double treble clefs, and with button numbers and bellows direction tablature just like all of our other Anglo books. Alan is even planning to add a new tune. Inspired by meeting Alan last December at the concertina gathering in San Francisco (Berkeley, actually), I'm excited to make his arrangements more accessible and available. They are incredibly difficult, but are totally worth learning. With luck, it should be available in paperback and Kindle in about a month. I'll keep you posted. Gary
  5. I'll throw in my vote for a 30-button hybrid over a 26-button vintage, simply due to the more likely standard button arrangement for the top row, and also for the low B,/A, on left hand button #6 which is sometimes different on older instruments. Of course, it depends on the type of music the OP is wanting to learn, but for music with sharps or flats I think it's more important to learn the standard 30-button layout. Gary
  6. That's where it is. We should work up some duets! "Big Bottoms" from This is Spinal Tap comes to mind...
  7. Thanks so much for everyone's input - this is probably what I'll end up using. But of course, had to check in with the CNET Braintrust to make sure! Funny thing, is I've forgotten how to read bass clef, even being an old keyboard player from way back. I find myself finding "C" and then counting one, two, three, four, etc. to figure out what the other notes are. The plan is to put out a book of all sorts of sacred songs, from Sacred Harp to gospel to good ol' Methodist hymnal, with all the parts together, and also as four separate staves for part-playing. And for Jim, I have a 35-button Lachenal double action bass that starts at middle C and goes down two and half octaves from there to a low F. Awesome sound in those low notes - almost felt more than heard. Gary
  8. For those of you who read music and play tenor and baritone instruments, I'm curious as to what clef you typically use - treble, bass, alto, tenor, octave? I don't read bass clef on my contrabass EC but just use normal treble clef (since it's pretty much like playing my treble EC), but I'm wondering about those instruments with ranges between bass and treble. I ask because I'm working on a book of SATB arrangements of various types of sacred music for all types of concertinas. Thanks! Gary
  9. Since there are not many books for those who play 20-button Anglo, I've gone through Pirate Songs for Concertina, and Sailor Songs for Concertina, and excerpted and re-arranged a bit here and there to create a new book of tunes for 20-button only - Sea Songs for 20-Button Anglo Concertina. It has 96 songs and tunes, with the melody in standard musical notation, complete lyrics, plus tablature like all the other Rollston Press books showing button numbers, bellows direction, chords, and pitches in abc. Some are single melody, but most have full harmonic arrangements. You can find it on the various Amazons in paperback and Kindle, and Red Cow Music in Yorkshire has already put in an order (always good to support the local team!). I've attached the Table of Contents, hopefully it includes many of your favorites! Gary TOC-Sea-Songs-for-20-Button Anglo.pdf
  10. Reviving this old thread with a bit of good news - I'm currently working with John to put out a book of his tunes, arranged for Anglo concertina. Maybe later this year? Gary
  11. Lovely! And on a square Herrington? Gary
  12. The age-old question for all beginners is what type of concertina would suit them best - a most excellent and almost impossible question! And compounded by so many different button arrangements all masquerading under the same generic "concertina" name. But the key is "different tools for different jobs", as well as instrument availability. Plus the type of music you are wanting to play needs to match the instrument. I play English, Anglo and Jeffries Duet - each has its own strengths and limitations. I'm sure others will chime in with their experiences and opinions, but here's my $0.02: The Anglo is hands-down the most readily available, with a build quality that can vary from absolute crap (I'm talking about you East Germany and China) to superbly professional. The diatonic push-pull thing takes some getting used to, but I find the two-notes-for-one-button delightfully challenging and overall quite effective. You are limited to certain keys, especially if you only have a 20-button, but if you enjoy making something with limited resources then that might work for you. The push-pull gives the Anglo a lot of punch, and it can play melody and accompaniment at the same time, and is the go-to instrument for Irish Traditional and English Morris. You don't need to read music to play, but it helps. I have a lovely 1870's Wheatstone English that is fast and responsive with a gorgeous tone, and it's my choice for music with a lot of notes in a variety of keys. Reading music is pretty important, and starting with a good tutor (like the Butler book) will make sense of that crazy alternate-sides-and-alternate-fingers scale pattern which is purt-near impossible to just pick up and figure out on your own. But once you've got it down, you can rip through passages in almost any key at lightning speed if you want, but the overall effect tends to be fairly even and smooth. The EC is typically a much more legato instrument for single melodies and simple close harmonies, and can be very effective for accompanying singing. You'll not be doing much bass note and chord oompahs on an EC. Unfortunately the budget models are fairly scarce, and the early 1800's models with brass reeds and 4-fold bellows and spruce soundboards (baffles, really) can be really quiet and short-winded. Duets are the most scarce by far, you'll not be seeing many of these about. And to be even more confusing they come in four major flavors: Maccann, Crane (or Triumph), Hayden and Jeffries Duet. Same note pushing and pulling, with lower notes on the left hand and higher notes on the right hand plus a bit of overlap, so they're designed to play melody and accompaniment together at the same time (like playing a "duet" with yourself). Duets allow you to play unusual and complex chords and arrangements in almost any key. The Jeffries Duet is more limited in the keys it can play in, but I find it much more fun and exciting in the way it can be played with oompahs, vamps and "fistfuls of chords". I heard the Michael Hebbert album The Rampin' Cat many years ago and was immediately sold. As to types of music, get to where you can recognize the type of concertina and then look to see what is being playing on each type. If it has little thumbstraps, it's an English. If it has handstraps and a lot of pushing and pulling then it's probably an Anglo. Handstraps and a bit smoother, a duet of some sort. There are exceptions, but mostly traditional, folk, old standards and light classical seem to be played most on concertina. If you're wanting to play AC/DC or Funkadelic or Coltrane or Thrash Metal or Beyonce you will definitely have your work cut out for you! Gary
  13. On Jeffries Duet, both pinkies can get quite the workout if doing any kind of oompah chording since almost all of the lower left hand bass notes are reached via pinkie. And since the right hand pretty much starts with the middle finger on "c", the pinkie is used for a lot of the higher notes, especially jumping around a lot if needing to reach the high "f#". Which I suppose all this is a good thing since it opens up more opportunities for the other fingers to play complex accompaniments, octaves and "fistfuls of chords". Gary
  14. Hidden in Paul Hardy's excellent Greenshoots Coronavirus tune series is this lovely and most timely waltz from Bert de Cock: We also have a contribution from Greenshoots member John McKenzie, who provides a recording of the Lockdown Waltz by Bert de Cock. Bert was asking for contributions for a virtual orchestra - see Bert's muzikids website, but we seem to have missed the deadline. It's still a nice tune, and John plays it solo slowly and then faster and adds the accompaniments. He also provides a version of the sheet music with chords added for the rhythm section. Lockdown Waltz by Bert de Cock, Played by John McKenzie, with PDF score. Here's the original "orchestra" - amazing and heartwarming! Thanks to Paul, and John, and Bert!
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