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Accompanying Singing on Anglo


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If I want to play Anglo and sing along what do other men find the best key instrument and what type (treble, tenor, baritone etc| I get confused over the names)

 

I have G/D and C/G but haven't had a chance to try others ( before they all get converted to C/G or G/D!)

 

Should I take a lead from the Sally Army

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If I want to play Anglo and sing along what do other men find the best key instrument and what type (treble, tenor, baritone etc| I get confused over the names)

 

I have G/D and C/G but haven't had a chance to try others ( before they all get converted to C/G or G/D!)

 

Should I take a lead from the Sally Army

 

At the risk of stating the obvious, it very much depends on the vocal range of the singer, and the range of the song. For myself, I often find F to be a good singing key, and it can be played fairly easily on a C/G anglo especially if you are mostly playing chords and not too much melody.

 

I have a baritone in F/C which is nice for singing with.

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If I want to play Anglo and sing along what do other men find the best key instrument and what type (treble, tenor, baritone etc| I get confused over the names)

 

I have G/D and C/G but haven't had a chance to try others ( before they all get converted to C/G or G/D!)

 

Should I take a lead from the Sally Army

 

At the risk of stating the obvious, it very much depends on the vocal range of the singer, and the range of the song. For myself, I often find F to be a good singing key, and it can be played fairly easily on a C/G anglo especially if you are mostly playing chords and not too much melody.

 

I have a baritone in F/C which is nice for singing with.

 

 

I appreciate that one can play in various keys on eg C/G but what home keys do people prefer on their concertinas. It would be nice to have an array before me but I haven't If anyone can direct me to any CDs or YouTube clips I'd be grateful

 

 

I know Steve Turner told us in a workshop he likes a lower timbre. Brian Peters and ( I think ) John Kirkpatrick use an Anglo Tenor /Treble for accompaniment and I know people who play fiddle and sing to that, equvalent to the RHS of the Anglo

 

I suppose I'll just have to mess around with a keyboard to see what suits the keys I like singing in. (F, C, Bb, Eb, Dm)

 

I commented elsewhere that I find it very hard to join in with hymns f I go to funerals or weddings in church but not at carols in our South Yorkshire pub sings (piano or electric organ or best unaccompanied). I wonder if the church kicked out the village bands and their keys when they put in organs, or was it choristers that replaced the congregations chosen keys?

Edited by michael sam wild
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If I want to play Anglo and sing along what do other men find the best key instrument and what type (treble, tenor, baritone etc| I get confused over the names)

 

I have G/D and C/G but haven't had a chance to try others ( before they all get converted to C/G or G/D!)

 

Should I take a lead from the Sally Army

 

At the risk of stating the obvious, it very much depends on the vocal range of the singer, and the range of the song. For myself, I often find F to be a good singing key, and it can be played fairly easily on a C/G anglo especially if you are mostly playing chords and not too much melody.

 

I have a baritone in F/C which is nice for singing with.

 

 

I appreciate that one can play in various keys on eg C/G but what home keys do people prefer on their concertinas. It would be nice to have an array before me but I haven't If anyone can direct me to any CDs or YouTube clips I'd be grateful

 

 

I know Steve Turner told us in a workshop he likes a lower timbre. Brian Peters and ( I think ) John Kirkpatrick use an Anglo Tenor /Treble for accompaniment and I know people who play fiddle and sing to that, equvalent to the RHS of the Anglo

 

I suppose I'll just have to mess around with a keyboard to see what suits the keys I like singing in. (F, C, Bb, Eb, Dm)

 

I commented elsewhere that I find it very hard to join in with hymns f I go to funerals or weddings in church but not at carols in our South Yorkshire pub sings (piano or electric organ or best unaccompanied). I wonder if the church kicked out the village bands and their keys when they put in organs, or was it choristers that replaced the congregations chosen keys?

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I play for others to sing to and the most comfortable for them is G, Bp and F

I leave my CG box indoors

A good way even if you are a poor singer is to record your playing and try to sing to it. If you require a cappo on your neck then you have the wrong key.

Al

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For song accompaniment I usually end up using my Dipper C/G baritone, but on the few times I've tried accompanying Anne I've ended up using my G/D. Doubt if that helps very much. As has been said, it depends a lot on the voice. I might also add that it depends on the sort of accompaniment - melody-based or chordal-based.

 

Chris

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I find that a C/G fits my vocal range better than a G/D for most of the songs I sing, though a Bb/F would probably be even better if I had one. FYI, I saw John Roberts (an excellent and well-known Anglo-playing singer) perform a couple of years ago. He was traveling with a C/G, a Bb/F and a G/D and he used them all in his performance.

 

Daniel

 

If I want to play Anglo and sing along what do other men find the best key instrument and what type (treble, tenor, baritone etc| I get confused over the names)

 

I have G/D and C/G but haven't had a chance to try others ( before they all get converted to C/G or G/D!)

 

Should I take a lead from the Sally Army

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I also find a C/G fits my vocal range quite well most of the time, though there are times when a D/A would be better but funds will not permit it.

 

I tend to use melody based accompaniment as I can keep my fingers and voice reasonably well together something I have found difficult to date, though it is coming along.

 

Geoff

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Rightly or wrongly I'd always assumed that a significant part of the thinking behind two-row diatonics, be they fifth-apart Anglos or fourth-apart melodeons, was simply to give "high" and "low" keys to choose between for singing whilst playing along the row.

 

I guess that despite the wonderful work by Dan Worrall and others, we really don't know that much about how these instruments were actually used in the nineteenth century, (or am I wrong?)

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At the risk of stating the obvious, it very much depends on the vocal range of the singer, and the range of the song. For myself, I often find F to be a good singing key, and it can be played fairly easily on a C/G anglo especially if you are mostly playing chords and not too much melody.

I have a baritone in F/C which is nice for singing with.

I know Steve Turner told us in a workshop he likes a lower timbre. Brian Peters and ( I think ) John Kirkpatrick use an Anglo Tenor /Treble for accompaniment and I know people who play fiddle and sing to that, equvalent to the RHS of the Anglo

Like Howard and also Andy Turner I find F a comfortable key in which to sing with my C/G anglo. This is because it's common in relatively simple song melodies for the highest note in the tune to be the fifth or sixth of the scale - think Wild Rover, Black Velvet Band, Seeds of Love or Daisy Daisy in the former case, Fiddlers Green, Thousands or More, Hear the Nightingale Sing, Fields of Athenry, Blowing in the Wind and Don't Dilly-Dally in the latter. If you've got a baritone-ish sort of voice like the three of us, a C or a D (the 5th and 6th in key of F) is the kind of top note that's comfortable to sing but gives a bit of edge as well.

 

Other songs have their high notes at a different point in the scale. Adieu, Sweet Lovely Nancy goes right up to the high octave of the tonic, so would be comfortable for me in D.

 

I don't have a problem with my instrument playing the accompaniment at a relatively high pitch, but I know some singers prefer the accompaniment to sit below the voice in pitch, hence a baritone instrument. It would be nice, I must say, but another box to carry around? Don't think so.

Brian

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I have been working on accompaniment for vocals and the best instrument may depend on the style and speed of the tune. For slow tunes, I find that the English concertina playing chords in the lower register works best for me. Dick Miles has some instruction books out geared to the English concertina. As much as I like playing the anglo, I have not found much instruction on vocal accompaniment for the anglo concertina, especially at slower speeds. What instruction I have found on the anglo uses an English style accompaniment at moderate to fast speeds. I haven't heard any examples of slow vocal accompaniment on anglo, or something other than English style of accompaniment. Anyone know of some?

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Squeezergeezer, I assume by "English style" you mean playing chords. Personally, I think this is the most appropriate style for accompanying songs. Playing a single-line melody or counter-melody can sound very thin, unless of course there are also other accompanying instruments.

 

I am not aware of any instruction specifically geared towards song accompaniment in this style on anglo. However it is simply a matter of adapting chordal-style as you would for playing tunes. Just play less of the tune and rely more on the chords (use right-hand chords as well). Listen to singers who use anglo for accompaniment - John Kirkpatrick and Brian Peters spring to mind. The late Peter Bellamy had a distinctive but effective style for accompanying songs.

 

You mention Dick Miles' book on accompanying songs on concertina. Whilst this is for English concertina, many of the principles apply and could be adapted for anglo.

 

There are general principles for song accompaniment which apply to any instrument. Here are some suggestions:

 

  • If you are the singer, keep the accompaniment well within your playing capabilities. You should be concentrating on the song, not on playing the instrument. If you're trying to play something too complicated, you won't be focussed on delivering the song.
  • If you're accompanying someone else, nevertheless keep the accompaniment simple. The accompaniment shouldn't overwhelm the song.
  • You can keep the fancy stuff for the breaks between verses.
  • Try to avoid playing the song melody. Play chords or a harmony.

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Well, my vocal range goes below the lowest note on my Baritone C/G so I'm nearly always playing above my voice!

 

I use the Baritone and normal C/Gs and also the G/D. My first port of call is to try playing in G on the G/D and if that does not fit with the tune and my style of playing it goto D on the G/D. If I then can't sing in that key it is over to either of the C/Gs depending on the effect required.

 

Occasionaly I will transfer to my Bb/F if I want the effect of the qualities of that instrument.

 

For accompanying others, I try to use the Baritone with Anne's voice as its sound seems to fit with her voice, and a friend always wants to sing in Eb so then it's time for the Bb/F.

 

For some voices it's worth trying out different instruments as sometimes an unlikely seeming combination produces the better overall sound.

 

Robin Madge

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Thanks for all the info so far. Are there any recordings of trad or pop singers using an Anglo as accompaniment from before the 50s folk revival. As for concertinas in general I only remember Alf Edwards as Topic got me into it all. And then meeting Harry Boardman and Lou Killen, then they became more common.

Edited by michael sam wild
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If I want to play Anglo and sing along what do other men find the best key instrument

You can go some way to answering the question yourself quite easily. Simply write a list of all the songs you want to accompany .It's time consuming but fun and you'll probably end up with 250 plus tunes and then quickly sing them to find out what key they suit yor voice or whomever you want to accompany.....................you won't get a definite answer but it will certainly slant you in one direction.

I did this years ago and now sing with an F/C anglo..............not a baritone instrument but has a very "baritone" sound to it.

Robin H.

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