Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
lmc

Stagi 18-button English mini concertina

Recommended Posts

There are a few ways to go about it, but William Meredith wrote up some clever charts that rather "geometrically" show how the chords are formed on an English. Your box doesn't have all these mentioned notes, but if you were to print out a copy of this and just cross off the non-applicable notes (or erase them digitally on a jpeg), the rest of the chart should apply.

 

Here's the page posting and explaining the charts: http://www.concertina.net/wm_english_chords.html

 

Here's an example of a chart:

 

wm_english_chords_left.jpg

 

Though a musician myself, I had to puzzle this out for a moment to understand it. The circles are, of course, the buttons, labeled by note. The terms within the triangles are the names of the chords formed by playing said triangle. That is, in the top middle, if you push E-G-B you have an "E minor" chord; if you press C-E-G you have a "C major" chord. Your mini doesn't have all the sharps and flats, but as an example of one you can do, A-C#-E gives an "A major" chord. The only notes on this chart that your mini doesn't have are G#/Ab and D#/Eb (G# is just another name for Ab, etc).

 

I don't know if you already have a background in chords and whatnot, but suffice to say for most any popular folksong you can just google it's name and the word "chords" and be given the lyrics showing which chords are played at what point. So as a minor example:

[D]This land is [G]your land, this land is [D]my land,From Calif[A7]ornia to the New York [D]Island,From the Redwood F[G]orests to the Gulf Stream wa[D]ters;[A7]This land was made for you and [D]me.

This would mean that you'd form a "D major" chord, start playing it while singing "this land is...", and then switch to a G major on the word "your". For the A7, you can just play an A and it works fine. If you see a chord written "Em", that means "E minor". This may be things you already know, but just re-stating just in case, or for other future novices reading the thread.

Edited by MatthewVanitas

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think the chart would be more helpful if you dropped C#and F# on the right-hand side down a notice, so they would be adjacent to their respective natural notes, as they are on the concertina.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It'd probably not be too difficult for ladyhealer to just whip up an equivalent version of this for the 18-button; even if you just sketch it out with a pencil and ruler by hand, it'd be a useful guide.

 

This triangular chart doesn't cover the fancier chords, the 7ths, diminished, etc. but if she's doing folk music she can get by just fine without those. If she's doing jazzier things, by the time she gets to the point of needing fancier chords, she'll already have a feel for chordmaking.

 

 

Hopefully this is a fun learning process!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Closed-form chords (like CEG) are easy to play on the English concertina of any size, but they can sound harsh. Sometimes a more pleasant option is to use two-note chords (like CG, leaving out the E), and let the tune provide the context of whether the chord is meant to be major or minor. You don't even need a chord chart to play those, because pairs of notes a fifth apart are always right next to each other vertically (the only exceptions being BF# and BbF).

 

With stripped-down harmonies like that, you'll find that there are many tunes where you can play melody and accompaniment together on the 18-button. One of the first ones I learned was Wild Mountain Thyme.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you Matthew, but I am not that kind of a girl! ;) The chart is printed and sitting on my desk next to my Rubix cube. In time it will make more sense to me, and indeed I was able to try a few of the listed triangular chords but I am far from using it at this point. Mike is right: for now I need something that resembles what I am using. I have not seen a chart like this one Matthew and I am very glad you thought of it for me. I will try it eventually as I grow, so thanks for that.

 

I believe I can use this as a guide by taking the center note out as Johanna suggests. Again, thanks a lot.

 

For now: Johanna to the rescue! What a great tip!

I tried these and was immediately transported to a concert hall of sound. (Well, not til tonight. I am rehearsing for the Lord Nelson Mass, and, for a Winter concert with my classical rep companies). Actually I was able to make SOME of the two note chords ... THAT is what I have looking for!

 

To be certain that I have got it right:

(Using the LEFT hand for example)

We are talking about pressing GC vertically with one finger.

Not EG.

Is it possible to use the Horizontal two notes as well? Seems a waste not to do so, but I just got here so I bow to your wisdom.

 

I was already able to try a bit of I Am a Poor Wayfaring Stranger.

 

Much richer sound ... Now if I can only figure out the vertical/horizontal thing for certain I'll be on my way.

 

Thanks Johanna and all.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I just aquired one of those marvels ( for sale in a German Ukulele forum ;-) she is in the post to me. Does anybody know, if there are boxes or gigbags available for the little one? I want to convert her for a child: does anybody know, where I can get two finger-rests from?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

To be certain that I have got it right:

(Using the LEFT hand for example)

We are talking about pressing GC vertically with one finger.

Not EG.

Is it possible to use the Horizontal two notes as well? Seems a waste not to do so, but I just got here so I bow to your wisdom.

 

In the diagram above, the following pairs would form "open chords": C-G, F-C, E-B, A-E, D-A.

 

So in that layout, any note in the middle rows forms an "open chord" if you press both said note and the one "above" it (on paper).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I just aquired one of those marvels ( for sale in a German Ukulele forum ;-) she is in the post to me. Does anybody know, if there are boxes or gigbags available for the little one? I want to convert her for a child: does anybody know, where I can get two finger-rests from?

 

If you have a store that sells camera bags, there are many nicely padded bags available for cameras that would fit the 18 button mini. I know. I had one and gave it away just before getting my Valentina! too bad for me!

 

I went to the German concertina site it looks like SO much fun! I would love to attend sometime!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Camera bags work great, and you can often find them in thrift stores. They work for larger concertinas, too.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The bag I am using now is just a wee too snug for my taste so it's back to bring a purse! I shall pursue the camera bag idea. Thanks for the thrift store tip Mike.

 

Matt, wow thank you for the open chords! I really need those!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Got a call back from the Button Box about my finger leathers. I explained that they appear to be a problem for me, and that I was not sure, but thought it was due to my small hands and the ergonomics of my 18 button Hohner Mini concertina. I also told them that I did NOT want to return it! And needed them to help me figure out the problem.

 

The person I talked to was VERY accommodating. He said we could just chat it out and discuss our ideas during the call. He had been thinking about my email and said that he himself found the mini leathers to be stiff and resistant. He offered to send me much softer leathers that might maintain the position I need but yield more easily and be more flexible for me. What a revelation! I totally agreed. He assured me that these leathers were NOT originally designed for this use but felt that they would serve my purposes adequately. He is sending them to my via first class mail.

 

Johanna, if you are picking this up, I want you to know that your recommendation to the Button Box was worth its weight in gold. I can't imagine a more perfect instrument purchasing partner than the Button Box. Mike Franch said he had a fine, long relationship with the excellent service at the Button Box. I am so happy to agree.

 

Dennis, I told him I have totally bonded with Valentina and mentioned that you told me about her history, adding that I, too, was former circus. I could hear his voice smiling as he replied that he had spoken to you and heard her history himself.

 

This is a great community. The support here has proved to be immediately important to me, for my art.

 

Thank you all, and too, to the organizers of concertina.net.

 

My very best regards to all and best wishes,

 

Eve

 

ERRATA: It was NOT a chord chart it was a NOTE chart that came with my 18 button concertina.

HI! I am clown, I am looking for music for mini A-18 concertina. Can you share with me your information. thank you! Best regards, Dimitri

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×