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Anglo players - how/what do you play?


  

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also, don't hesitate to transpose into a different key.

 

again that would be another reason why I can't play with others.

 

I notice you didn't respond to the other parts of David's suggestions;

 

can't you play melody and chords with the same hand? also, you can also play chord notes ABOVE, not just below. that could keep you busy...

 

Which is pretty much what I was going to suggest. It seems to me that you have got yourself boxed in by insisting in playing in one particular way and seem unwilling to explore other possibilities. Your quiz asked about two possible approaches but there are many ways of approaching anglo concertina as this thread has made clear.

 

Also single note melodies is not a bad way to start playing with others. If others are playing chords then unless you are all playing the same chords it is better not to be playing chords at all, so being able to play melodies between left and right hand is useful. I know both melodeonists and accordionists who will often just play right hand in a session especially if there is a guitarist present.

 

Maybe concertina just isn't for me.

 

If you genuinely feel that is the case, then it is best to admit it to yourself, sell your concertina and concentrate on your other instruments. No one will think any the worse of you. I came to the same conclusion about the guitar after several attempts and realised it was better to concentrate on instruments that I felt more comfortable with and so would ultimately achieve more.

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Geoff,

 

So true.

 

When I tell people that I play chords on the left and melody on the right... I exaggerate.

I do try to arrange things to keep that separation of function between right and left but in fact I often play harmony notes on the right hand that are above or below the melody notes. Also the melody often strays down into the left hand so I'm playing both on the left when that happens.

 

I find that the G/D is better for matching up with the keys that folks play the tunes in. One work-around (especially if you play a C/G) is to transpose just a bit of the tune, up or down, by an octave. Perhaps a whole section. Octave transposition is very useful on the Anglo and I've never heard any complaints.

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also, don't hesitate to transpose into a different key.

 

again that would be another reason why I can't play with others.

 

I notice you didn't respond to the other parts of David's suggestions;

 

can't you play melody and chords with the same hand? also, you can also play chord notes ABOVE, not just below. that could keep you busy...

 

Which is pretty much what I was going to suggest. It seems to me that you have got yourself boxed in by insisting in playing in one particular way and seem unwilling to explore other possibilities.

 

Erm..I didn't reply because I do do that other stuff already. Just can't do it in group situation when I can't hear myself...and I need the dots in front of me.

 

I do wonder that I might feel more comfortable having a D/G concertina rather than C/G.

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I need the dots in front of me.

 

I do wonder that I might feel more comfortable having a D/G concertina rather than C/G.

 

Those pesky dots. They are ever so helpful, but in my experience they get in the way as often as they help. Try playing without them at home and see how it goes. Instead of dots, play along with a recording that you admire, perhaps slowed down using one of the many utilities for doing that. I certainly prefer G/D for most situations, but that's just my harmonic style preference and others would disagree esp. the pure drop Irish.

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I need the dots in front of me.

 

I do wonder that I might feel more comfortable having a D/G concertina rather than C/G.

 

Those pesky dots. They are ever so helpful, but in my experience they get in the way as often as they help. Try playing without them at home and see how it goes. Instead of dots, play along with a recording that you admire, perhaps slowed down using one of the many utilities for doing that. I certainly prefer G/D for most situations, but that's just my harmonic style preference and others would disagree esp. the pure drop Irish.

 

Yes. Anyone totally dependent upon 'dots' to generate their music should be taking urgent action to rid themselves of that dependency.

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  • 4 weeks later...

I play tune and chords and in octaves on both hands.

 

As to what music do I play, anything I can get to fit on the instrument!

 

Robin Madge

 

Same here... options were too restrictive so I decided to go look for a comment I can back 100%. :)

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[they were all students of a certain teacher who taught them to play using certain buttons.] [flexibility was not the word i would use to describe....]

 

yes, i ran afoul of this in an advanced weeklong class taught by a celebrated player who is a former student of a certain teacher. the class had only two people in it, myself and someone else. the class turned out to be exclusively ear learning, as in, several tunes per day. which is beyond my ear learning capacity if the tunes are unfamiliar, and i could care less. one or two a week is brilliant, i think. i figured, fine, i'll just take in my capacity and enjoy taping the tunes and absorb them later. but it became kind of uncomfortable because this person wrongly jumped to the conclusion that i was not snapping up these tunes because i do not use, um, a Certain Fingering Method. from the start, (because of being really interested in bandoneon and reading about bando technique) i made a conscious and informed choice to put all buttons in the toolbox and to learn to use them all depending on how i wanted to phrase or handle bellows/air control. longer upfront learning curve, but the rewards in expressive fun and satisfaction are great. to me, that is the whole point of having notes recur, for pete's sake) and when i tried to explain, the person cut me off while i was speaking and said, "you do it deliberately? i don't THINK so," and went on to give the party line about the Certain Fingering Method, to the effect that it gave you more phrasing choices (untrue, it gives you LESS phrasing choices, but i didn't say anything), and that the Certain Method gives you more bass chords (true, but i don't care about bass chords. i care about having "long bow" versus "short bow" phrasing choices for the melody). well, i didn't tell this person that the year before at this event, a master teacher in another advanced class in the morning noticed my fingering and remarked on it with interest and approval, and that in the afternoon advanced class that year, yet another master teacher noticed it remarked on it said it was fine and dandy and would give me my own unique phrasing sound. needless to say, both of these other teachers were not acolytes of the Certain Method. i thought that bringing this up in the class i'm talking about now would be arguing with a teacher so i didn't go there. but i may have been wrong not to go there, because they seemed to think i was being recalcitrant and obtuse......good tunes, though. i have indeed had a great time absorbing them at my own pace, and, of course, fingering them the way i hear it in my dreams....

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Hi LDT,

 

Your question:

Did the music you wanted to play make you play a certain way, or did the style you chose affect what tunes/songs you play? is a good one.

 

My love affair with the anglo began after seeing the late Mel Dean (subject of a recent thread) play solo at Whitby folk festival. It was most definitely the 'One Man Band' aspect of the instrument that appealed to me: I'd messed about with a mouth organ and worked out a few tunes by ear, but here was a way of playing them with added chords. I had to have one! And from that moment on, tune on the right hand, chords on the left, became my template.

 

Over the years I've realised that some tunes compel me to finger the lower parts of them on the left hand (and I've had to find ways of keeping the chords going when this happens), that some added right-hand harmony can make the sound richer, that other kinds of music than the English folk I was first attracted to can be attempted, that song accompaniments (where the voice is carrying the melody) can allow all kinds of rich harmonic ideas, and that if I'm going to take my C/G instrument along to a session and play it in D, then I may well have to adopt a 'tune-on-both-sides' style instead. But my original template survives.

 

One of the questions I get asked most often in workshops is: "I've learned some tunes, now I want to add chords", only to find that the person concerned has worked out the tunes across both hands, and that adding the chords is thus somewhere between difficult and impossible (unless you're a really good player like David Boveri). So Jodi's suggestion that you consider a G/D - which will enable you to carry on in the style you like, but allow you to join in the session - is probably the most practical one here. Otherwise do what I've done for a lot of my thirty years' playing anglo, and play for your own enjoyment by yourself. Please don't pack the concertina in, though. We would miss your enthusiasm on this forum, and you would miss the concertina, I'm sure.

 

Regarding the earlier discussion of "a certain teacher" (whose identity I can only guess at), I have to say that, although I personally like to encourage flexibility at all times, sometimes it's very useful to try and imitate exactly a master's particular way of playing a particular piece, even if this is ultimately only a stepping stone to forming your own style. And I might add that, when I told a workshop group last weekend that here was this one way of playing a certain phrase, and here were at least two other ways that they might find more comfortable, one of the group said: "Don't give me alternatives, just tell me what to do!"

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One of the questions I get asked most often in workshops is: "I've learned some tunes, now I want to add chords", only to find that the person concerned has worked out the tunes across both hands, and that adding the chords is thus somewhere between difficult and impossible (unless you're a really good player like David Boveri). So Jodi's suggestion that you consider a G/D - which will enable you to carry on in the style you like, but allow you to join in the session - is probably the most practical one here. Otherwise do what I've done for a lot of my thirty years' playing anglo, and play for your own enjoyment by yourself. Please don't pack the concertina in, though. We would miss your enthusiasm on this forum, and you would miss the concertina, I'm sure.

 

I have seriously been looking at getting a G/D concertina. I would love a metal ended one. Unfortunately my budget is tight at the moment. So I either buy a 'cheap' one or have to sell/part exchange my Tedrow C/G, or see if anyone will replace the C/G reeds for G/D ones for a reachable price. I'm quite happy with the accordion reeded concertinas.

 

 

And I might add that, when I told a workshop group last weekend that here was this one way of playing a certain phrase, and here were at least two other ways that they might find more comfortable, one of the group said: "Don't give me alternatives, just tell me what to do!"

I used to feel like that...just wanted the exact button to use...now I'm more comfortable to experiment and find the best way for me.

Edited by LDT
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I have lessons from a local virtuoso, and from time to time we debate which is the best way of chording, phrasing or fingeing a tune. We don't always agree on matters of taste, but his input in matters of technique is crucial, and I take the view that even if I later choose not to play a particular tune his way, there is merit in learning to do it his way as well. There are so many little tricks and ruses - secret routes around the maze of buttons - that it always comes in useful on another tune later anyway.

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Regarding the narrow focus of fingering approaches, I have to mention the point of view of the teacher.

Rather like the writing coach who cautions the students that in order to break the rules, one has to know them-and be able to execute them, No teacher worth her salt would knowingly present too many alternatives right up front; teach the bones first, then add the muscles and flesh, so to speak, as skill and time allow.

 

I personally quite admire the fullness of sound when one plays in the harmonic, or "English" style. I'll be damned if I can pull it off convincingly yet, despite years of practice; I just can't get the brain to handle the two operations simultaneously well enough to satisfy me.

 

I often wonder about the limits of talent and skill. I play mostly alone, perhaps that slows my progress, as I have no compelling reason to push as hard as one who has an obligation to others to play impeccably. But I feel that there is a limit to what I shall be able to accomplish with the instrument. Mind you, I keep on making progress but s-l-o-w-l-y. Now, in late middle age, will I have time enough to get my 5,000 hours in?

I wonder.

Cheers,

RB

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