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G versus C row on Anglo


chrisbird
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I'm uncertain as to the merits, or otherwise, of what particular row one should play a tune on when it is written in the key of 'G'. For example, I play 'The Kesh' (when written in 'G') on the 'inside' row of the Anglo. But today, having just received John Williams' DVD, I see he plays it on the middle row, ie what I tend to regard as being appropriate for tunes in 'C'. Out of interest, his way of playing sounds virtually the same as mine.

 

Furthermore, I originally learned the tunes 'No 8 Polka' and 'The New Roundabout' from Niall Vallely's CD - both tunes in 'G' but actually played by him (and me, 'cos I learned from him), on the middle 'C' row. Whilst I can now play both tunes equally well on both the 'C' and 'G' rows, I'm left with an element of confusion over the whole issue.

 

So, if one of the experts could bail me out of my dilemma/confusion, I'd be delighted. In other words, what, exactly, are the benefits of playing, for example, tunes in 'C' on the 'C' row, and tunes in 'G' on the 'G' row, rather than tunes in 'G' on the 'C' row? Apologies if this is a bit of a dumb question, but I really am at a loss to understand the issue. And, if the answer is 'Play it where it suits you best', then that's fine as well.

 

Regards, Chris

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"... And, if the answer is 'Play it where it suits you best', then that's fine as well."

 

 

My answer would be "play it where it suits the tune best". When we practice the scales of C or G or any other we should be able to play both - on the push and on the pull and that leads automatically to cross row playing. In my eyes or ears it is essential for fluently playing, for phrasing, to set the accents and to underline the particula parts of the tune.

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Well I would go along with Sailor on this one.

If you are playing in C then you have the option of going up the scale by using the G Row (and G row chords). If you have accidentals a good exercise is to playing up the scale and down on the push and then up and down on the pull. It opens many doors for some lovely chords.

The same applies if you are playing in G then instead of going down the scale on the G row at the point of switch over to the left hand go to the C row. Once again you have the option of lovely deep chords. Or for alternative options for speed playing.

Whatever is the easiest.

Al

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Rather than in terms of row, you should start thinking in terms of phrasing, bellows directions, the strength of the fingers chosen, and the sound of the particular reed (the three A's in the left hand side all sound different, for example).

 

The debate is indeed considered to be between in-the-rows style and across-the-rows style, but really modern players of Irish music just have different styles of playing across the rows. For example, if you were playing in the key of G, and you wanted to play a low E, then you would have to go into the C row no matter what.

 

Also, you may not be able to hear a difference between your fingering choices and John William's, but I can say that I would be able to. I can hear, for example, whether one is playing the C push on the right hand C row or the C pull on the left hand G row. I can generally hear which buttons a player is using. Normally I can to by tone color alone, but I also listen for bellows changes. Sometimes alternate fingerings may get lost to my ear, but I could definitely hear the difference between C-row centric and G-row centric playing.

 

So, I think it makes a difference, but try going off of how it sounds, rather than staying in a particular row because the name of the key matches the name of the row, ;)

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Many thanks for all your replies, which I have found most helpful.

 

As David (Levine) says, it certainly has opened a can of worms - particularly for me as I'd probably not thought much beyond the concept of either the 'C' row or the 'G' row, and I now realise from other comments that the issue is more complex than my original simplistic 'which is the right way' question was posed.

 

If I was a better player (one day!), then I think I'd more easily recognise and come across some of the valid observations that others have made; eg Sailor and Alan with their comments on cross-row playing, and David (Boveri) when he states "start thinking in terms of phrasing, bellows directions, the strength of the fingers chosen, and the sound of the particular reed" and the very pertinent comment "you may not be able to hear a difference between your fingering choices and John William's, but I can say that I would be able to" - I'm sure you would, David!

 

I'm still very much a beginner with the Anglo. In part, I found learning the Anglo (that I first started to dabble with less than 2 years ago) was largely frustrated by the fact I'd previously played an English for around 25+ years - took me months and months before I (or my fingers!) could come to terms with the totally different way the two instruments were played.

 

Regards, Chris

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One other difference which may or may not be pertinent, depending on your playing style, is that different chords are available on either bellows direction, so if you play a melody with chordal accompaniment you may have to choose the appropriate row to enable a particular chord to be played.

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There are some players who play exclusively on the G row for the key of G, with the obvious exception of the lower E, and with the comparitively rare tunes which go below the RH D. But most predominently G row players cross over at some time for the alternate B, C, D, and E which are found on the RH C row. More experienced players do this for the effects of legato and speed. The difference in which rows are used, predominently, effect the sound & lift of the tunes. Each method has its pros & cons. In this, I would agree with David.

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One other difference which may or may not be pertinent, depending on your playing style, is that different chords are available on either bellows direction, so if you play a melody with chordal accompaniment you may have to choose the appropriate row to enable a particular chord to be played.

 

Chords are definitely a major consideration. The way I play, for example, my C's are set up on the pull (except for the two lowest C's of course), which means that if I want a C chord, then I must use push C instead. This is an example of a tradeoff I make for phrasing, which a tradeoff that many do not make. It's all about what chords are important to you to reach easily, and how easily you can use alternate fingerings. In some tunes, however, I chose push C's so that I can hit a C chord whenever I feel like, without having to decide.

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One other difference which may or may not be pertinent, depending on your playing style, is that different chords are available on either bellows direction, so if you play a melody with chordal accompaniment you may have to choose the appropriate row to enable a particular chord to be played.

 

Chords are definitely a major consideration. The way I play, for example, my C's are set up on the pull (except for the two lowest C's of course), which means that if I want a C chord, then I must use push C instead. This is an example of a tradeoff I make for phrasing, which a tradeoff that many do not make. It's all about what chords are important to you to reach easily, and how easily you can use alternate fingerings. In some tunes, however, I chose push C's so that I can hit a C chord whenever I feel like, without having to decide.

No drone key C on the pull?

Al

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One other difference which may or may not be pertinent, depending on your playing style, is that different chords are available on either bellows direction, so if you play a melody with chordal accompaniment you may have to choose the appropriate row to enable a particular chord to be played.

 

Chords are definitely a major consideration. The way I play, for example, my C's are set up on the pull (except for the two lowest C's of course), which means that if I want a C chord, then I must use push C instead. This is an example of a tradeoff I make for phrasing, which a tradeoff that many do not make. It's all about what chords are important to you to reach easily, and how easily you can use alternate fingerings. In some tunes, however, I chose push C's so that I can hit a C chord whenever I feel like, without having to decide.

No drone key C on the pull?

Al

 

Nope.

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Irish players don't use the drone button much at all. I have thought of converting the C drone on my Jeffries to a D but I'm reluctant to mess with the old reeds. Someday I'll get a couple of D reeds to put in there. Do any ITM players out there use the drone button?

 

Regarding the OP, I don't think in rows except as a point of reference in a discussion. It's pretty much just the one keyboard, in an awkward, ill-considered layout for Irish music. The question is, how much of that awkward layout contributes to the jaunty, juicy, characteristic flavour of Irish music?

 

We have gone over this before, many times, and the music just does not sound the same on an English concertina (nor should it, necessarily) or on any of the duets. The music is certainly different today than it was 100 years ago. To what extent has the awkward layout of the C/G Anglo shaped our playing, and contributed to what we now think of as ITM?

 

 

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