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C Or G Tunes For Learning Anglo

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A year ago, I purchased a decent used Stagi 30 button anglo from Bob Tedrow. Finally, I have begun working on learning to play it.


I have found Paul Hardy's tune books and there's more tunes than I'll ever be able to learn.


However, for my first tune, I chose Shepherd's Hey arrange by Peter Trimming. The melody is pretty much on the right hand, while the accompanienment is on the left hand. Anyway, I found it surprisingly easy to learn and memorize (compared with my primary instrument - the highland bagpipes).


OK, so Peter Trimming presents his tune in C, while Paul Hardy has his tunes in G.


This has led to a question:


Should I learn the tunes in G and simply transpose them to the C row? This seems logical given that all of Paul Hardy's tune books are in D.


Should I learn to read tunes in both C and G?


Finally, I was thinking of adding a second tune and thought that Davy Davy Knick Knack would be a good second tune. Is there anywhere that I can download left hand accompaniement for the Anglo?


Any other advice will be welcomed too!




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I would suggest you learn to play the tunes in the given key. Note that I didn't say "row"


It is valuable to practice using both rows as called for, so you know where the notes are, and where the duplicates are. That way you can eventually make use of this to choose which button to use to free up a finger or to match the desired bellows direction. (edit: I do tend to play C tunes primarily in the C row, and G tunes primarily in the G row, but in both cases I do borrow notes from the other row.


Davy Davy Knick Knack is a good tune for learning. Not sure where you would find a written arrangement, but if you have the melody line and the basic chords you could puzzle out something reasonable. Work on the melody first. Later, when that is comfortable, try adding harmony, primarily using the notes in the given chords. You may find that you need to reassess which buttons you use for the melody in order to allow the desired bellows direction for the harmony. Relearning the melody line with adjusted fingering may seem like wasted effort, but really you will be expanding your facility with the instrument the whole time. (edit: later on you may want to work out the harmonies at the start when trying out a new tune, then fit the melody fingering to suit the bellows direction, but for now, start with the melody. Also, brief passing notes that aren't in the chord are acceptable in the harmony, not just in the melody, so sometimes changing the bellows direction to suit the melody and letting the harmony line come along for the ride works just fine.)


Don't get too wedded to the idea that the melody line is in the right hand and the harmony is in the left either. Often the melody sits comfortably in the range crossing the two sides, so both hands are involved. In fact, if you know a melody line using only the right hand, try playing it an octave lower sometimes too, as an alternative. All the required notes should still be available, and there will usually still be some room at the far left for some simple harmonies.


Have fun playing around with it!

Edited by Tradewinds Ted
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  • 2 weeks later...

Thanks for the reply. I have purchased Gary Coover's tutorial and am working on The Beaver. I did learn Peter Trimming's version of Shepherd's Hey and really like the tune.


I expect that as I learn tunes, I'll get more comfortable with the instrument and will be able to choose other appropriate buttons.


Right now, I am playing a Bastari 30b in Cg, but keep wondering what differences I'd notice with a higher end concertina??? During my next trip to the UK, I need to visit the The Music Room in Cleckheaton and try out some other concertinas as I don't see much opportunity here in Denver to get my hands on other instruments.



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  • 1 month later...

A few months ago, I purchased a new Rochelle from the Button Box and have been working my way back and forth through Bertram Levy's book, Anglo Concertina Demystified, as well as some of the lessons available on www.oaim.ie. Levy comes with a CD. He does a nice job of introducing the novice player to all three rows and several different keys.


Your note above motivated me to find Shepherd's Hey. So thank you, what a pleasure that tune is! Still wish I could find an arrangement for the Kyckling (Chicken) Polka for Anglo.


The Rochelle has lived up to its reputation as a quality instrument for beginners. I have a concern that for me it will be the "gateway drug" to a rare and high priced instrument -- Cielo maybe? Are there other suggestions from the Forum regarding where a committed beginner with less than a year playing should spend a couple thousand? I too am in Denver and hope to spend a little time in the Boston area trying out the fancy stuff.

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