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Anglo G/c Finger Patterns - Part 1

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From the thread on "playing by ear" I collected some interesting quotes that made me reflect on my Anglo, my Anglo-playing (and myself). As I write this contribution with my own situation as a starting point, it is good to know that I played (as a child) harmonica and later fiddle, mandolin and tin whistle. The last few years I am more or less "seriously" playing a 30b G/C Anglo with a Wheatstone keyboard lay-out.


Now let's start with:


....On an Anglo Concertina, the only way to know whether two successive notes in a scale are separated by a whole step or a half step is by listening to the interval, as the button arrangement provides no clue....

....I see now that this means that playing an Anglo might be much less intuitive than other instruments.


Your comments on anglo are interesting and very apt.  The layout does make it hard to explain to new players how you pick up a tune by ear.


With my harmonica experience I must say that playing in C on the C-row and G on the G-row was for me not a problem at all when I started playing the Anglo. When a (not too difficult) tune is played in C or G, I can easily pick up the tune and join. When people play in D or anything else than C or G, I am (stil) completely lost. So within restrictions (G/C) I find the Anglo very intuitive. Samantha confirms this in (a part of) the next quote and Jim adds his weight (as a heavyweight boxer) in the quote following Samantha's quote:


Strangely enough, I found my first sorties on an anglo very intuitive, and I think it is very intuitive in the "home keys" once you've worked out which degree of the scale (note within a scale) the tune starts on. Now, I prefer playing my C/G anglo in D and A, so I suppose I'm just perverse!


....The anglo is not; its layout is based on a diatonic scale.  In its two core keys it has a particular and simple pattern which can be expressed in terms of the sequence of notes in a diatonic scale, without ever referring to whole-step or half-step intervals.  The "problems" occur if one tries to go outside the core keys or the diatonic scale.  Note that I put "problems" in quotes.


Now as far as Samantha's perversity concerns: she is in good company! A whole bunch of Irish Anglo players prefer to play in D and to a lesser extend in A with a G/C Anglo.

When I bought my Anglo in Ireland (Ennis), I was strongly advised to forget everyting I learned (one-row harmonica style playing). So in the shop I was introduced to the fingering pattern of the D-scale and it looked very strange to me.

In comparison with the with the instruments I used to play, there was no logic in it for me. When you do not have the reference to other instruments, it might be easier. Chris Timson describes this in a nice way in the next quote.


PS: I think that the instrument one plays colours one's perception in much the same that the language one speaks does. The person who speaks more than one language has more than one way to express their experience. I only play the anglo concertina, but one day I am determined to take up something else to gain that wider perception.


I can add that (as far as I observed) Anglo players of English Country music do not really prefer to use the G/C for tunes in D. They prefer the G/D and thus prefer playing in the "home keys". leaving more possibilities for chords.


Finally there is Tina's quote:


Playing simple tunes that you know pretty well in different keys like f or b flat does help, be it to improve the feeling for tune patterns or the flexibility of your fingering (and even with the Anglo this is not that big a deal. We got a bunch of real nice buttons and we paid for each … I do like the idea of using them all).


Tina is absolutely right about playing simple tunes in the keys that are not the "home keys" of your Anglo. I gave it a serious try but I still have problems with those "strange keys".


So.. In order to instruct the memory that resides "in my fingers", I decided to visualize the fingering patterns in a simple way and play at the same time my concertina as the pattern appears on screen. This works so well for me that I went on and on. In this way I discovered my Anglo in a new way and even found out that (as far as I can see it) all major scales can be played!


I took me some hours, but it was so great and exciting to do! And as this works very well for me, I would like to share it.

Take in mind that for almost all the patterns shown below, there are alternatives!


Let's start with the simple pattern of C on the C-row:



And of course G on the G-row:



This looks "normal", but there is already a small irregularity in the push-pull pattern (2 consecutive pulls).


Now let's take the scale of D with the C-row as a starting point:


note that my instrument has a Wheatstone lay-out!


Well there goes the (visual) logic! The same goes for the scale of D starting from the G row:


note that my instrument has a Wheatstone lay-out!


Of course there are much more alternative finger-patterns for the D scale ;) ...

Let's go on with the key of A major:


note that my instrument has a Wheatstone lay-out!


Let's go on with E major:


I was surprised that this key could also be played on my anglo!


To my suprise, even B major can be played:



Finally to demostrate the versatile (and at the same time confusing) character of the Anglo:

G major all pulling!

It's really a zig-zag so EC players will like it :lol: .



G major almost all pushing:



Well, it was quite a mail!


Some final remarks:

  • As I am not very well known with music theory, there may be some mistakes here and there :unsure: .
  • Looking at the screen and trying to play at the same time really works for me
  • As I have recently acquired a G/C with Jeffries lay-out, I will do my best (when I have time) to make these animations as well.
  • Now it's time to stop drawing and writing and to start playing!! :D

Have fun!

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As my original mail was not accepted (too much images) I had to split it in two parts


Here is part two:


Coming that far "going up" from G (in the previous post), I was ready to "go down" from C.

So here is F major:



Followed by Bes major = Ais major:


One octave higher is also possible!


The next one is Es major = Dis major:



Then there is Des major = Cis major:



As major = Gis major:



The last in the row (at least for me) is Ges major = Fis major:



A final remark:

What an intriguing (right spelling?) instrument is he Anglo!!


Have fun!

Edited by Henk van Aalten
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  • 6 years later...

How is this done?


Those are animated gifs .. essentially it's a series of gif files displayed in sequence .. if you right-click and save on an image you can then open it with any number of graphical editors (I use the Gimp) and see that there's a base image of the concertina ends with all buttons empty, followed by 8 additional frames displayed at 1.5 second intervals that fill and empty the various buttons ..


Here's a link to the gif files zipped up for easy download


john d

waiting for his edgely

Edited by zeke7237
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