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About Anglo-Irishman

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    Heavyweight Boxer
  • Birthday 06/15/1946

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  • Interests
    Acoustic music of all kinds. Collecting playable instruments.
  • Location
    Near Stuttgart, Germany

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  1. I had this problem at the start, too. Lungs at bursting-point when the bellows was fully extended, slumped over when it was closed. I assumed that this was because I had learned the mouth organ at a very early age, and my "breathing apparatus" was programmed to blow when a note lay within the tonic chord, and otherwise to draw air in. The situation improved when I discovered that I could control the expenditure of air using the concertina's air button, much as I did with my nose on the harmonica. This helped me avoid extreme bellows movement. (Another advantage of learning the harmonica first was that I knew my way about the intricasies of the Richter scale, and could find tunes on the Anglo almost right away.) What probably solved the breathing problem - and that very quickly - was the fact that, like most instruments I've taken up, the Anglo was intended as a song accompaniment. Needless to say, my motivation to achieve normal breathing while playing was high! Cheers, John
  2. @perspiration, What do you mean by "harder?" You shouldn't have to push or pull with greater force to keep a "breathe" note sounding steadily, but you do have to pull or push faster. That's the whole point of the exercise: getting the bellows to fill or empty quicker than it would if you were only sounding notes without pressing the air button. Think, "Constant pressure, greater speed!" Cheers, John
  3. The obvious reason why it's not suited to the anglo is that any Anglo notation has to take both the player's hands into account. So when you're annotating a standard stave, it's pretty intuitive to place the left-hand (bass) tabs under the stave, and the right-hand (treble) tabs above it.That's the way the familiar piano score is structured. If the tabs are being used independently of a standard-notation stave, a horizontal line - as in the cited example - can be used to separate left- and right-hand tabs. I'm not very keen on designating each occurrence of a given button with one of two letters. I find it more direct to assume one bellows direction - preferably the Press, because the concertina is a squeeze-box - and to use some arbitrary mark for the Draw.(My old tutor uses a circumflex, or inverted V, to indicate "Draw.") "Mark or no mark" is easier to distinguish than "P or D", IMO. Cheers, John
  4. Stephen, I think @maccannic has answered your question pretty well. The point is, the letters printed above the stave are not a complete notation. The merely form a basis for improvisation. It's up to the player to decide which harmonising notes to play, but in the first three bars of your example, the notes used should be part of the G major chord. Maybe G, B and D, or B, D and G, or maybe only G (I'd probably play a low G on the first beat of Bar 1, where the melody has an 1/8th rest, and then hold a G chord (G, B, D) for the whole of Bar 2.) Bar 4 uses the notes from the C major chord (all or any of C, E, G, in any squence), and so on. What makes this so easy for string players, as @petey points out, is that for instance, a banjoist's left hand forms the chord of (in your example) G major, but doesn't sound the notes of the chord. It's the right hand that selects which of the prepared notes of the G major chord to actually sound, and in what sequence, and in what rhythmic relationship to each other. I find that I can transfer the "banjo feeling" quite well to the duet concertina. I place the fingertips of my left hand over the buttons for the desired chord, but don't necessarily press all of them, or all of them at the same time. Meanwhile, my right hand is free to finger the melody. I imagine that this kind of chordal accompaniment might be tricky on an EC, if one is playing the melody at the same time. But I know it's possible, from what I've heard on recordings. I reckon we have to live with the fact that certain musical techniques work better, or are easier to master, on one instument than on another. And the EC, Anglo and Duet concertinas are, for the purposes of fingering, three different instruments. Cheers, John
  5. Richard, Why elasticity? Instinctively, I'd expect less control, rather than more, if the straps had "give" in them. In particular, bellows changes from press to draw would be sloppy. The bellows couldn't achieve negative pressure until the straps had stretched to the full. If you're thinking of stretchable material for a snug fit, remember that the snugness comes from the flexibility of your hand in the firm strap. Chers, John
  6. Well, then, I must get out my chromatic tuner and see if we can rule out Temperament as a significant difference. Cheers, John
  7. Yes, and to fellow-musicians! In our folk group, i was the Jack of All Trades - I sang, and played the instruments that nobody else played. These included 5-string banjo, tin whistle - and Anglo concertina. A specialty of ours was Carolan tunes in quasi-classical arrangements for various combinations of fiddle, guitar, bass, and one of my three instruments. I did "Si bheag, si mhor" on whistle (first iteration) and Anglo (second iteration) - specifically, on my 30b, metal ended, Stagi, which of course has accordion reeds. When I had acquired my concertina-reeded Lachenal Crane, I practised the concertina part (which is melody only) of Si bheag, and played it at the next practice. Our Chief Arranger and Bassman immediately told me to forget it, and go back to my old concertina. It blended better! Here's the  group's recording of Carolan's "Si bheag, si mhor". That's me on tin whistle, and on Sagi hybrid Anglo, starting with the second A-part of the second run trough the tune. Cheers, John
  8. Funny you should say that ... ... because I have the same feeling with the Crane duet. It not only has the same notes as the Anglo, it also has the same kind of hand-straps, so you can give it as much stick as the Anglo. And yet my anglo sounds more full-blooded. Of course my playing on the Crane was more tentative at the start, but that should have changed, at least with my favourite and often-played Crane pieces. But I still get that feeling. BTW the Anglo I had before I got the Crane is a Stagi metal-ended 30b; the Crane is a wood-ended Lachenal; and the Anglo that I acquired since I've had the Cane is a Dallas-Crabb metal-ended 30b. With regard to the quality of the reeds, one would expect the Lachenal to be between the Stagi and the Crabb. I don't think the difference stems from the end materials -at least, not entirely. My theory is that the Crane - as a completely chromatic instrument like a piano - is probably tuned in Equal Temperament, whereas the Anglos - as more or less diatonic instruments - may be in some unequal temperament that simply sounds richer, more "organic." Could this be? Cheers, John
  9. Vince, Who says that the lines should be continuous? My old Anglo tutor, which uses the same button numbering scheme, designates each pull note separately (with a "circumflex" or "Inverted V", as used for upstrokes in violin bowing annotation). Spanning several notes with a continuous line would. for me, hint at "tied" notes - but since you tabs are merely annotation to a standard score, information on note duration and articulation is taken from the score. In short: I wouldn't worry about this issue! Cheers, John
  10. Aha! I wondered why your tab made so much use of the pull G on button 4a, LH! The way I play it, the press G on button 5, LH, at those points gives a nice, steady flow to the tune. It might be an idea to change your tabbing algorithm to first scan the two inner rows for the required note, and only if it's not found there, scan the accidentals row. And while you're at it, you could further bias the search by identifying the key (e.g. C), and looking for the notes in the row of that key (i.e. middle row) first, then the other "key" row (G, inner), and then the accidentals row. I would say that's roughly my approach when working up a new tune. As you say, this cannot be the optimum in every case, so your idea of offering the user a choice of "Gs", for instance, is a good one. Sometimes you may have to play the different suggestions through to ascertain which of them is ergonomically and musically better. And while you're still at it, a neat feature would be the "Legato Option": if this is "On", your routine would try to get as many notes as possible in sequence in the same bellows direction. OK, let's not get carried away! I used to be a programmer myself, and this kind of thing sort of takes me back ... Cheers, John
  11. Stephen, I thnk I know what you're asking! Singers are choosy about the keys they sing in because their range is limited. As a reasonably proficient folkie and classical choir singer, for instance, I have a range of about 2 octaves. That means that, if I start a song too high or too low, there will be either some high notes or some low notes that I can't reach. So I have to choose a key for that song that puts its highest and lowest notes within my vocal range. The English concertina is similar to the human voice, in that you can position tunes anywhere up and down the compass - unless you run off the top or bottom of your keyboard! In short, whether a particular English concertina suits your voice or not, depends on the range of each. I'm not really familiar with the details of the EC, but it could be that the "normal" EC would have a problem with getting below the low notes of a bass singer whom it has to accompany. At any rate, the comfortable mid-range of voice and EC should coincide - I assume from watching that an EC player finds it easier to play notes in the mid-range. With the Anglo as an accompaniment it's completely different! When a singer finds the tune too low in, say, C major, he doesn't say, "Let's take it up a whole tone," but rather, "Let's take it in D." And to get a really easy and yet sophisticated accompaniment out of an Anglo in D only works when you have an Anglo with a "D row". Because each of the two inner button rows of an Anglo ony has the notes of a single diatonic scale. And it's this diatonicity that makes the Anglo so easy and effective as an accompaniment instrument. I, personally, can sing most folksongs in C, and most of those that I can't, I can sing in G. So a standard C/G Anglo is great for me! There are others for whom C major would be a bit low, but G would be ok, so they'd opt for a G/D Anglo. And so on ... In short, the ideal Anglo for a singer is the one with the key combination that covers most of your songs. And the keys are always a fifth apart. Hope this helps! Cheers, John
  12. Congrats on getting it!! That's an ambitious tune to start with. It'll get you into cross-rowing, anyway ( in bar 8, where the F# is). If I were you, I'd play it an octave lower than that score you posted. Up there, it will sound squeaky, whereas an octave lower you'd be in voice range, and could share the work between the hands, and even get to use the accidentals row (in bar 10)! Good luck, and have fun! And stay at home and keep healthy! Chers, John.
  13. Because they were made by Crabb, perhaps?
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