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English Style Anglo Playing, Morris Types?


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The F chord is strong in both directions as of course is the C.

On a 30 button C/G Anglo? Both directions? Both on the draw and the push? Now, the only F note available in the push direction is that really high one on the upper right of the right side. So, how do you make a strong F major chord on the push? <_<

That's what I was wondering! :huh: Looking forward to hearing the answer ...

Samantha

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I expect we have yet another example of the problems of both communicating and teaching which are peculiar to the Anglo: different layouts! At almost every workshop or ‘mentoring’ session I’ve ever done somebody says. ‘That doesn’t seem to be working on my concertina’!

I tried every one of my concertinas yesterday (except one currently on loan) and the push F chord on the left hand (or its equivalent in different pitched boxes) was in the same place in all but one. My fingering is the Dominant ©: middle key, middle row, middle finger; the Median (A) : second key, top row , index finger; the Tonic (key note F ): the thumb button.

I know this is an inversion , but it sounds fine. The C and the A are also available an octave lower two buttons to the left and you can use all five but I think this is an inversion too far! Far too far! You can use these extra low options as passing notes.

If you really don’t have a push subdominant you should consider putting one in on the top row, though where to do it is your choice and you might well decide not to do so. It depends how much you want left hand chords. If you replace the low A with an F (probably the obvious choice) you seriously weaken the push A major. It’s a dilemma.

The one box of mine which lacks the note on the left thumb is my first ever Jeffries (30 G/D), bought about 1975, where there is a seventh instead. This is a blindingly bright instrument - brazen in fact - which saw me through all the many massed band sessions of the 70s. You can hear it cutting through on the Bees on Horseback sessions. I started to neglect it when I got my first 39 G/D Jeffries, so I decided to give it a run out on last night’s gig. This brought the duo of Bob Davenport and me and the duo of Dan Quinn and Will Duke together. Normally I don’t think that two anglos sound too good together, but last night my very strident 30 Jeffries went very well with Will’s soft sounding Dipper and you could really hear the two instruments distinctly without confusion. Looks like the old box is about to re-emerge!

If anyone wants to take up individual questions on any of this please feel free to e-mail me personally.

Roger

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the Tonic (key note F ): the thumb button.

I think that is the crux Roger, I have a 36 key anglo and it also has a push F, but on one of teh extra buttons at the top of the left hand rows, not on the thumb button (which has a Bb push/C pull - my own choice).

 

Am I right in thinking that Jeffries often put different notes on the thumb button, but that others generally put a C drone on it.

 

Clive.

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Am I right in thinking that Jeffries often put different notes on the thumb button, but that others generally put a C drone on it.

 

My 38-button Jeffries C/G has a C in both directions on the LH thumb button. My 38-button Jeffries G/D has a the equivalent of a C pull/F push.

 

But many (most?) 30-buttons don't have that push F, and with only 30 buttons they don't even have a LH thumb button. So assuming that the push F-chord is common or "standard" is simply wrong.

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Just to let you know that all the people who asked for the tutor tape,it is being progressed.I have decided to add another side to the tape so it will be longer.Given time it should be finished this week and I will send them out.

Thanks for your interest

Alan

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Roger Digby writes:

I tried every one of my concertinas yesterday (except one currently on loan) and the push F chord on the left hand (or its equivalent in different pitched boxes) was in the same place in all but one. My fingering is the Dominant ©: middle key, middle row, middle finger; the Median (A) : second key, top row , index finger; the Tonic (key note F ): the thumb button.
Really? Are all of these 30-button Anglos, and not 36 or 40-button Anglos?

 

I checked all of my Anglo concertinas and the only thumb button they have is on the right side and it is an air button. I have been playing concertina for only 2 years, and have played only 7 different 30-button Anglos. Only one of them had a left side thumb button and it was C in both directions. Most 30-button Anglos I've seen pictures of do not have a left side thumb button either.

 

From my limited experience, I would conclude that a left-side thumb button is not standard and not common. I am not alone in this conclusion as seen from this post by Jim Lucas (who has been playing for much longer than I have):

But many (most?) 30-buttons don't have that push F, and with only 30 buttons they don't even have a LH thumb button. So assuming that the push F-chord is common or "standard" is simply wrong.

 

This chart does not show the presence of such a button:Color-Coded Button Layouts for C/G and G/D 30-Button Anglo Concertinas using the Wheatstone / Lachenal System

 

So, Mr. Digby, do you actually claim that a left-side thumb button providing an F on the push is standard or common for a 30-button (not a 36 button, not a 40+ button ) C/G Anglo? If you do, then I'd like to set up a poll to see how many concertina.net participants agree with you.

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My experience may not be general. All my instruments are Jeffries except my Crabb which was built as a Jeffries copy. I can only say that they all have a thumb button on the left, whatever the total of buttons. Perhaps it's a Jeffries thing. Someone will probably know. I'd still recommend getting an F put on somewhere on the left hand push.

Roger

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Hello all,

 

In my experience, most of the fine older Jeffries and Crabb concertinas (including Ball Beavon, etc., which often have Crabb serial numbers and/or an internal "J. Crabb maker" stamp) with a main "keypad" of fifteen buttons/side or more for the fingers also have a button for the left thumb. So (not counting the air button in the calculation) they are often 31 key rather than 30 key instruments, and the thumb button is usually also there as the number of other buttons increases beyond this. I don't remember seeing a LH thumb button on 20 - 28 key instruments by these makers but I bet there are some with it. Colin Dipper has added it to a 28 key Jeffries for a friend of mine, with success.

 

It makes a lot of sense, when fingerings, hence voicings for harmonies and chords, are somewhat constrained by the handstraps, to get the LH thumb into the job to help out. The LH thumb is not required to support the instrument so is available. Jones instruments of 31 and more keys also frequently had LH thumb buttons, and often 2 of them! Lachenal does not seem to have the LH thumb button as standard until the keyboard gets up to 36 - 40 keys, but I have seen LH thumb buttons on Lachenals with fewer. I am sorry to say I have seen nowhere enough Wheatstone Linotas (!) but my impression is that they follow the Lachenal pattern of keyboard expansion, so that 30 - 32 key instruments without the LH thumb button are common. My favorite Wheatstone anglo I have seen is an "ebony-ended" 1928 36 key and it has no LH thumb button (unfortunately). Bastari/ Stagi seems here as in other ways to be following more or less the Lachenal/Wheatstone keyboard.

 

Congratulations to Mr. Digby for using the harmonic options on the anglo (including thumb button) to the fullest. I am also a big fan of this button, however you tune it.

 

Paul

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I must agree with Roger with regards to the drone button.It is on nearly all old instruments including Jones,Lachenal,Crabb,Wheatstone Linotas and Jeffries.There are of course exceptions but even then some will have the drone button hole without the button.

It is the concertinas which are now made(Dipper the exception) that do not have a drone button which is a shame ,as like Roger I use the drone button in a lot of my chords and like Roger have modified the push note as the reed is duplicated.

Regards

Alan

Edited by Alan Day
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Topic wise, we are sort of circling back to the subject in a different thread, from which I spun off this thread.

 

I mentioned that I was getting a 40-button, because of the limitations of the 30-button, and that I like to use the left side for chords.

 

One of the advantages of the 40 button as shown by this diagram (Keyboard diagram of the 40 key anglo-chromatic concertina), is that it allows a subdominant on the push (though this diagram shows it on the G-row, not as a thumb button).

 

So, it seems that If I intend to play English Style Anglo, I should use a 40-button (or 31+ button Jeffires), since the subdominant push seems to be required, as I conclude from some of the posts in this thread. I have already purchased 1 40-button G/D Bastari, and it is on its way and I am still interested in a 40 button C/G (for under $2000, or under $600 if made with accordion reeds). If I play it often enough (or if I sell my car), then I'll consider spending the $5000+ (or £3000+) on a 40+ button Jones, Lachenal, Crabb, Wheatstone, Dipper or Jeffries.

 

Meanwhile, I am going to spin off another thread about button note layouts (since there are disagreements and descrepensies about these, even without mentioning thumb buttons).

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All this talk of drones and also the title of this topic reminds me of something interesting I saw at the Squeeze-In last weekend.

 

Jody Kruskal was trying out the Anglos of various makers and he mentioned that "Far from Home" was a fun tune to play on the Anglo because of all the quick bellows reversals. You may remember that Jody has been mentioned in several threads as a prime example of "English-style" (chords & melody) Anglo playing.

 

The tune starts like this (reel, G major):

 

GEDEG2GA|B2BABcd2| ...

 

For those unfamiliar with abc, all you need to know is that the letters name the notes, they are all 8th notes except the ones followed by a "2" which are quarters, and the CAPITAL letters are in the octave that starts at middle C while the smalls are an octave higher. Oh, yes... and | is the bar line.

 

So anyway, Jody starts playing the tune to demonstrate the bellows stuff and as an afterthought, he also mentions that through the whole beginning of the tune, he holds down the right-hand D/E button, even when those notes aren't in the melody. It makes for kind of an "alto" part, just singing along on D or E as appropriate with the bellows changes.

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All this talk about English-style make me wonder if there really is such a thing. Or rather I wonder if there is a long-established tradition of such a style.

 

I have heard some sample of Roger Digby's playing and it is very good indeed; something I would have tried to emulate only I noted that he was using concertinas with more than just 30 buttons. It would seem that John Kirkpatrick also plays an Anglo concertina with some 40 buttons. The English style is used to mean a melody with chordal accompaniment but how typical is this?

 

From what I have heard it would appear that William Kimber used to play a concertina with about 30 buttons and played in the "English style" but Scan Tester played mainly in octaves. I bet that in the heydey of the concertina most English players could only afford a 20 button instrument and would play melodies. Even if they could get a 30 button I imagine most players would still concentrate on the melody.

 

I'm very sceptical of this talk of English Style Anglo Playing. In my opinion it is probably a matter of playing traditional tunes with a particular measure and rhythm that characterises an English style.

Edited by Christopher Quinn
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Well, if you've read what I and Roger and others have written you will see that we are none of us prescribing a style as in some way the authorised version that one should play, and in my contribution to this thread I specifically proposed that the way the anglo tends to be played for English music owes an awful lot to the characteristics of the music. We've also noted that Kimber and Tester are the only traditional styles that we are certain of - who knows how many other approaches may have been used in England that were never recorded. Having said that, I believe most English players tend to have more in common stylistically than they do with Irish players, for example. There's nothing monolithic about any of this on either side of the Irish sea. But to deny the concept of style I don't think is helpful either, and leads directly to horsemusic.

 

I would like to (tentatively!!!) suggest the primary diffference between English and Irish style is that the English elaborate a melody by use of of chords, parallel octaves, and other devices, but only sparing use of decoration. whereas to the Irish decoration is almost the soul of the music. Thoughts, anyone?

 

Chris

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I would like to (tentatively!!!) suggest the primary diffference between English and Irish style is that the English elaborate a melody by use of of chords, parallel octaves, and other devices, but only sparing use of decoration. whereas to the Irish decoration is almost the soul of the music. Thoughts, anyone?

Three thoughts:

 

1) As I've tried to say before, to "elaborate a melody by use of of chords, parallel octaves, and other devices" may not be particularly Irish, but is hardly limited to being English. German, American, just about any players besides the "Irish" seem to play that way.

 

2) Furthermore, I would contend that lumping everything but the melody-only playing together under the name "English style" is rather like classifying all sel-propelled land vehicles other than "cars" -- farm tractors, road graders, combine harvesters, motorcycles,... -- as "trucks" (British "lorries"). There are differences much greater than the similarities, and they should be discussed.

 

The *significant* difference between William Kimber and Scan Tester is a case in point. Jody Kruskal's playing as described by Dave Barnert and myself is another.

 

3) Nor is it universally true that "to the Irish decoration is almost the soul of the music," though that is a particular style that has received a great deal of emphasis in recent years. Regional styles abound in Ireland even today, though folks have been bemoaning their loss to imitation of mass media versions for at least the past 80 years.

 

I remember a friend in New York asking Galway-born Paddy Reynolds to teach him rolls and such on the fiddle. Though he himself was quite capable of playing in that style, Paddy' response was, "That's not fiddle playing; that's bagpipe shit. If you want me to teach you to play the fiddle, I'll do it, but if you want to learn that stuff, go find yourself a piper."

Edited by JimLucas
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