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Common/Basic Chords


Trawler
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Hi all

 

I'm new to the concertina and fairly new to music theory too (as it relates to chords, at any rate).

 

I have a beginner's guide that lists about a dozen chords for my 20-button Anglo (C Major, G Major, E Minor, G (inversion), D Minor, G Major, D Major, F Major, A Minor, G (inversion) B minor, A Minor).

 

I noted that there are two chords listed as A Minor which have different fingerings but sound the same.

 

My question is - are there more chords for a 20-button Anglo? Is that an exhaustive list? The reason I ask is because I have some sheet music (I play tin whistle in a local folk orchestra) and there are chords in that with names like G, D and C. Never having had to look at chords before I have no idea what I'm looking at. Is G the same as G Major, for example?

 

My (admittedly very basic) understanding of a chord is that is is made up of 3 (or more) notes, with the lowest note being the 'base' note - for instance G in a G Major chord - and the the subsequent notes are at third intervals.

 

Can anyone help a very confused beginner? Thank you! :)

 

 

-Trawler

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Trawler, perhaps this will help, just ignore the top row. "G" is the same as "G Major", usually abbreviated to make it easier. The numbers on this chart refer to button numbers. Chords are pretty limited on a 20-button, but it's often better to just play one or two notes of the chord instead of a whole bunch of notes that might drown out your melody.

 

Gary

Anglo-30CG-chords.pdf

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My (admittedly very basic) understanding of a chord is that is is made up of 3 (or more) notes, with the lowest note being the 'base' note - for instance G in a G Major chord - and the the subsequent notes are at third intervals.

 

That's roughly correct. However the lowest note isn't necessarily the 'root' note of the chord, as the notes can be in a different order - this is what is meant by an 'inversion'. So for example a G major chord is made up of the root note (G), the third (B ) and the fifth (D). However it could also be played (from low to high) B,D,G or D,G,B - all the same chord as they contain the same notes, but they'll sound different. These are inversions of G. This means that identifying the lowest note is not enough to to decide what the chord is, you need to know the other notes as well.

 

The interval between the notes determines the 'flavour' of the chord, so that if the third is flattened you'll have a minor chord (Gm is G,Bb,D). You can also have more than 3 notes, but fewer than 3 isn't strictly a chord, as there aren't enough notes to say whether it is major or minor. However you can use this to your advantage to fudge chords you don't have all the notes for - if you don't have Bb on your instrument you can't play G minor, but playing just G and D could be either G major or G minor.

 

On the anglo many of the notes can be found on more than one button and in both directions, so besides inversions there may be several different possible fingerings to play the same notes. These are fairly limited on a 20-button but larger instruments offer a lot more options.

Edited by hjcjones
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  • 3 weeks later...

My (admittedly very basic) understanding of a chord is that is is made up of 3 (or more) notes, with the lowest note being the 'base' note - for instance G in a G Major chord - and the the subsequent notes are at third intervals.

 

That's roughly correct. However the lowest note isn't necessarily the 'root' note of the chord, as the notes can be in a different order - this is what is meant by an 'inversion'. So for example a G major chord is made up of the root note (G), the third (B ) and the fifth (D). However it could also be played (from low to high) B,D,G or D,G,B - all the same chord as they contain the same notes, but they'll sound different. These are inversions of G. This means that identifying the lowest note is not enough to to decide what the chord is, you need to know the other notes as well.

 

The interval between the notes determines the 'flavour' of the chord, so that if the third is flattened you'll have a minor chord (Gm is G,Bb,D). You can also have more than 3 notes, but fewer than 3 isn't strictly a chord, as there aren't enough notes to say whether it is major or minor. However you can use this to your advantage to fudge chords you don't have all the notes for - if you don't have Bb on your instrument you can't play G minor, but playing just G and D could be either G major or G minor.

 

On the anglo many of the notes can be found on more than one button and in both directions, so besides inversions there may be several different possible fingerings to play the same notes. These are fairly limited on a 20-button but larger instruments offer a lot more options.

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I, too, am a beginner on anglo but play clarinet and sax, and have so many questions but I'll stick to the simple ones.

 

My reason for trying the concertina is I can't sing with a clarinet in my mouth. What I want to do is to play the melody then accompany the group singing folk songs.

 

Is it Ok to play the melody line without chords then use chords for the accompaniment, or should I try to use chords to harmonise the melody?

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Is it Ok to play the melody line without chords then use chords for the accompaniment, or should I try to use chords to harmonise the melody?

OK? There's very few things that are not OK, and this doesn't come close.

 

I think what you are asking is that you want to play the melody by itself, and then play the chords without the melody while the singers sing the melody.

 

You have my permission.

 

But also, as you progress, you will find yourself playing the melody and chords together.

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Is it Ok to play the melody line without chords then use chords for the accompaniment, or should I try to use chords to harmonise the melody?

OK? There's very few things that are not OK, and this doesn't come close.

 

Hi, Conrad,

 

That just about sums it up!

 

Playing just the melody through once and then switching to chords when you start to sing can make a very effective arrangement for certain songs.

Another way is to play the melody with chords as an instrumental verse, and then just omit the melody line on the concertina for the sung verses, and keep the same chords. As David says, this capability will come with practice. I do it quite a lot.

 

Cheers,

John

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Thanks for advice.

 

I now just need to practise doing it.

 

I just want to start with a couple of songs, "Wild Rover" and "Leaving of Liverpool" for which I can play the melodies but I uses both left and right hands.

 

Do I now need to play the melody on the right only and start to learn the appropriate chords on the left, ie just like a keyboard?

Edited by Conrad D
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When you play a tune chords can add to the melody, they don't all need to be full big juicy chords , you just have to decide what effect you want. When you are singing the same can apply. Brian Peters advised me to let the voice carry the 'right hand melody' and choose chords or drones, mainly on the RHS. A few extra RHS notes can, however, enhance a song. On the C/G some people find too much RHS playing too trebley. That;s why some prefer a baritone C/G. G/D or Bb/F have a deeper intonation and some like them better for singing if the keys you can get are OK for your voice.

 

 

 

Listen to John Kirkpatrick, Andy Turner and Brian, and Jody Kruskal, Steve Turner, Tony Rose, Lou Killen etc for inspiration

Edited by michael sam wild
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Thanks for advice.

 

...

 

Do I now need to play the melody on the right only and start to learn the appropriate chords on the left, ie just like a keyboard?

Can't help you there, I'm not an Anglo player.

So what do you do on an EC when the melody moves from one side to the other?

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I just want to start with a couple of songs, "Wild Rover" and "Leaving of Liverpool" for which I can play the melodies but I uses both left and right hands.

 

Do I now need to play the melody on the right only and start to learn the appropriate chords on the left, ie just like a keyboard?

 

Hi, Conrad,

 

The answer is NO! In most of my arrangements, the melody wanders over both ends of the Anglo.

 

I play "Leaving of Liverpool" on the C/G Anglo, too. I play it in the key of C (my best key for singing it) , starting on the middle button, middle row, left side, press. The melody doesn't go lower than that, so there's always enough bass to harmonise on.

You can play the bare tune all on the middle row, of course, but when you start harmonising it, you have to take a draw C from the inner row and a draw G from the outer row occasionally (so-called alternate fingerings) because the chords that go with them (F major and G major) are only available or are handier on the draw.

 

Perhaps I can make you a quick and dirty recording of it soon (I'm a bit busy just at the moment)!

 

Cheers,

John

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Thanks for advice.

 

...

 

Do I now need to play the melody on the right only and start to learn the appropriate chords on the left, ie just like a keyboard?

Can't help you there, I'm not an Anglo player.

So what do you do on an EC when the melody moves from one side to the other?

A bit hasty with our assumptions, aren't we?

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Thanks, John.

 

That was what I suspected. I now really need to work at the chords.

 

As a reed player I only need to play one note at a time, but if I want to play concertina with any competence I need the ability to play chords.

 

I think you have confirmed my thoughts, but would certainly appreciate a recording when you have the time.

 

My plan is to have just those two tunes ready for Christmas. If I can get them under my fingers, who knows .....

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Thanks for advice.

 

...

 

Do I now need to play the melody on the right only and start to learn the appropriate chords on the left, ie just like a keyboard?

Can't help you there, I'm not an Anglo player.

So what do you do on an EC when the melody moves from one side to the other?

A bit hasty with our assumptions, aren't we?

I almost responded "He can't help you there either, he's not an English player," but I figured it'd be better to leave any such reply to you...

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When the melody would cross to the other side, you can just take it up (or down) an octave to keep it on the same side. This works on the English system as well, but it's not a very popular solution with EC players.

 

For some reason. =)

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When the melody would cross to the other side, you can just take it up (or down) an octave to keep it on the same side. This works on the English system as well, but it's not a very popular solution with EC players.

 

For some reason. =)

Maybe it's because every other note crosses to the other side.

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