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About Anglo-Irishman

  • Rank
    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. 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
  2. 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
  3. 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.
  4. Because they were made by Crabb, perhaps?
  5. I bet you will! From your first reports, it seems like you're one of the ones who take to the Anglo like ducks to water, because they find it all so obvious. There are others, who claim to perceive the Anglo as an impenetrable musical Rubik's Cube! Cheers, John
  6. Hi, Nabio, As you've meanwhile ascertained, the Anglo is the concertina of choice for accompanying shanties and forebitters and sea songs generally, and you can play dance music on it. as well. Not to mention Baroque! The fact that the Anglo is "in" a particular "key" (or keys) has been mentioned. This means that there are two keys, a fifth apart, that are intuitive and easy to play, and that offer quite sophisticated harmonies. The farther you get from the two "home keys," the more difficult it gets to play melodies, and the fewer harmonies are available (regardless of your competence). So a singer should approach the choice of Anglo from the vocal point of view I'm a baritone, not a tenor, so my experience may not help you directly, but you can go by the same principle. I've discovered that I can sing most folk-songs - and that includes sailors' songs - in the key of C, and the most of the rest in G. As you can guess, I have a standard C/G Anglo, and am very happy with it! For example, I sing "The Greenland Whalers" in C and "Tom Bowling" in G, each with a solo concertina version in the respective key. For you, as a tenor, it might work the other way round - "Whalers" in G and "Tom Bowling" in C. Or perhaps Bb/F or G/D would be better for you. My tip would be to review the keys you sing your familiar songs in, and see if there's a statistical peak around a certain key. Then try how many of your songs you can sing in this one key. Try the ones you can't quite manage in the key a fifth up or a fourth down - e.g. if G were your main key, try the" leftovers" in D. Or, the other way round: if you find an Anglo you like (or can afford), ascertain its home keys, and try singing each song in your repertoire in one of those keys. If that's comfortable, buy! Good luck! John
  7. I'd say, just practise the scale on the right hand, then practise it on the left hand, and then practise both hands together. Start slowly, and speed up as you get the feel of it. Having said that, I personally don't care for long phrases in octaves. Phrases in thirds are more to my liking. But it is a good thing to be able to find the note an octave below your melody note whenever you want it. Cheers, John
  8. Hi, welcome to the Forum and to teh Anglo! Forget the sheet music - just play the music that's in your head. That's what the Anglo is made for! With your accordion and bodhran background, you should know some tunes and have a good instinct for melody and rhythm - and familiarity with the Richter scale. That's basically all you need. Cheers, John
  9. I agree with Geoff. The instrument that I have been using for decades, in a group and solo, for songs like "Rising of the Moon" or "Roddy McCorley" is the banjo - but the 5-string, not the tenor! Think Luke Kelly and Tommy Makem! You can play jigs and reels on the Anglo concertina or the tenor banjo (though to my taste, the fiddle beats them all), and they can sound quite nice, if done well - but what stirs the blood is the ballads, whether they be of Love or War. And for those, you need a 5-string banjo! Just the opinion of an old Irish emigrant ... Cheers, John
  10. What we perceive depends to a great extent on what we expect. Related to musical expression, there are three ways of playing a phrase: 1. Normally, whatever that is. No particular marking in the score. 2. Staccato, which is indicated in the score by a dot above or below the note 3. Legato, which is indicated in the score by ties across notes of different pitch. Now, if I'm expecting a staccato, and the player plays normally, I'll perceive it as "plodding". If, on the other hand, I'm expecting legato, and the player plays normally, I'll perceive it as "choppy". I think the best plan is to realise that we have these three possibilities, and differentiate between them - even in one tune. If we alternate between staccato and legato (in an artistically acceptable way), then our "normal" expression will not be dismissed as "plodding", but regarded as just as another, valid possibility between staccato and legato! Staccato on the Anglo? It is not without reason that the bellows of Anglo concertinas are of robust construction, and the handstraps offer a firm grip. If your arm and shoulder muscles are in good nick, you can play a series of staccatos on one note, one button, one bellows direction without releasing the button, and without breaking anything. Anglo playing is all about bellows control, and bellows control is all about strength and speed - specifically, speed in switching from press to draw and back. Cheers, John
  11. Hi, @RWL, here in Baden-W├╝rttemberg, Germany, our regional government has put very similar restrictions in place. So St. Patricks's Day didn't happen here, either! And here it's the toilet-paper and pasta shelves that are empty. In France, I believe, it's red wine and condoms - but that may just be a rumour! One difference here, though: grandparents and grandchildren are advised to keep apart, even more so than adult acquaintances. Cheers, John.
  12. Well, just try quoting Alexander Pope at him: A little learning is a dang'rous thing; Drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring: There shallow draughts intoxicate the brain, And drinking largely sobers us again. Seriously, though, I believe that musicians with a "classical" training are led astray by the often-used Greek terms for the modes, and think they must have something to do with mediaeval Church music, and regard them as superfluous for a person trained in the classical music of the Age of Enlightenment. ­čśü Cheers, John
  13. Mike, careful with the terminology! The scale between D and D on the C row is not a "sort of D" scale. It's a proper D Dorian scale, or the "scale of re," as I saw it named in an old Irish fiddlers' book. The "full D minor" scale you mention (with the Bb in it) is the melodic minor, or Aeolian mode ("scale of la"), which would be the scale from D to D on the F row of a concertina that had an F row. Cheers, John
  14. Jim, I think this is a very good, responsible attitude! Good luck to you and all Cnetters, wherever you may be. We're all in this together! Cheers, John
  15. What usually springs to mind when the Shackleton Expedition and Music are mentioned in one breath is Hussey's banjo. The expedition's meteorologist Leonard Hussey owned a Windsor zither-banjo, and used it to entertain the crew. Legend has it that, when each man was ordered to leave all personal belongings in excess of 2 lb behind for the foot march to the open water, Shakelton expressly ordered Hussey to take his banjo with him, because it would be a "vital mental tonic" for the men in the ordeal ahead of them. (The lighter of my two Windsor zither-banjos, which is similar to Hussey's, is over 2.5 Kg without its case.) A banjo believed to have been Hussey's Antarctic instrument still exists, and is kept in the Maritime Museum (see article) Cheers, John
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