BertramLevy Posted October 4, 2013 Share Posted October 4, 2013 Playing all keys on the C/G Anglo I like to play all the keys on the C/G Anglo for the same reason I like the sound of the fiddle in the different keys. The relationships and readily accessible chord inversions are characteristic for each key. The result is that, like the fiddle, the concertina gains a different voice for each key. When it comes to old timey tunes, for example, C tunes sound just right to me in the middle row. As it turns out, the C progression chords and bass runs are crafted just like those on the guitar. Tunes like Billy in the Low Ground or Honeysuckle Rag would be good examples. The G Tunes have a totally different feel than the C tunes. Just as the F tunes sound weird to me played in G on the fiddle, the A tunes played out of D shape on the G/D concertina are equally disquieting. The A tunes in the fiddle exploit the rich use of the A and E double stops. These notes abound in all octaves and both directions on the C/G box. A large part of phrasing has to do with the opening and closing patterns of bellows in the same way as the open and closed string patterns on the fiddle. Phrasing is critical in old timey music – if the phrasing fights with that of the fiddle’s, the swing of the tune can be lost or obfuscated. String band musicians are very sensitive to this. Of course some musicians think that the concertina has no place in old timey music what so ever. Fortunately the really good players are not part of this latter group G tunes can be played equally well on both instruments but many G tunes are best phrased across the row rather than on the row. Here the C/G box offers G chords in both direction including the crucial opening low tonic and third that are missing in the G/D box (unless you have extra button$$). When it comes to reading music, playing in the actually key is infinitely sensible. There is no need for transposition. This is especially important if there are a lot of accidentals. This goes for classical music as well as other world-music genres. I also think that the concertina’s best voice resides in the octaves that cross the instrument. People always tell me my instrument sounds like a clarinet. I like that sound. However unlike a clarinet the concertina has the ability to play two independent voices. Maybe I have been studying Bach two part inventions too long but to me a good counterpoint has as much drive as an oom pah pah left hand chord and right hand voice. The options for accomplishing this with G and D are almost unlimited. G, especially, has almost a full scales running in both direction and D is close behind. Some people say that the top G row on a C/G concertina is too squeaky. Interestingly the top row of G on the right hand has the same voicing and “in and out” pattern as the harmonica, an instrument always welcome in old timey session. I have been exploring the harmonica two voice techniques across the rows on the right hand for a while now. It’s like have a whole box of mouth harps. You can even play cross key like harmonicas. Finally the bass-lines are unique in each key. D is the most versatile and close to the guitar and G comes right in there. The key of A has been a bit of a struggle because of all the “in” stuff but once I got a “Handel” on it, it became free and interesting – lots of double stops and duplications. No doubt the G/D box has a very sexy voice and perhaps if I didn’t play the bandoneon I might own one. I have a B flat/ E flat that I never use but it would be handy if I were to play with some horn players since I could read their parts. However knowing your way around the C/G is not that difficult (its only 30 buttons) and the relationships between the notes is a bottomless pit of mysteries that continues to surprise me. It’s also nice to carry just one instrument for all occasions. Bertram Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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