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gcoover

Anglo Notation Comparison Chart

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"The great thing about standards is that there are so many to choose from" - Andrew Tanenbaum

 

Since the very first concertina tutor (Hoselbarth, c.1840), there have been over 130 tutors published for the Anglo, many with widely differing button numbering and tablature systems. The result of numerous attempts to try to make sense of the Anglo having two notes in different directions for each button, plus having alternate notes on other buttons.

 

Standard musical notation by itself does not indicate which alternate note or direction is preferable, and since many published tutors print the music an octave high or low, learning actual notes still might not help much, hence the various attempts at tablature systems. Tablature patterns are easily transferable between instruments with different keys, so that's a good thing.

 

Beginners often buy one or more tutors, only to be faced with having to sort out wildly dissimilar ways of counting buttons and indicating bellows direction.

 

So.......here, in all its insanity, is a first draft of a notation "Rosetta Stone" translation chart for the 30-button Anglo showing about 30 of the different notating systems.

 

Additions, corrections?

 

What an embarrassing gawdawful mess! I know many systems have their adherents and staunch defenders, but could we make it any harder to learn this somewhat intuitive instrument? Pity the poor beginner!

 

Gary

30-Button Notation Translator.pdf

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Great work Gary!

 

I was surprised to see my name in the list because I did not give my tablature much exposure in the public domain. I fully agree with your "embarassing gawdawful mess" and exactly that was the main reason for me to make my own tablature. I was inspired by the French Harmonica tablature which is more or less a standard in France and is used in The Netherlands as wel.

 

I am very content with my own system because I can fully understand it :wacko: Counting from your left pinky to your right pinky from 1 tot 10 feels (for me) very logical. It is for me a great help in finding the most optimal "fingering pattern" for each tune.

 

Henk

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Gary,

 

Nice to know that Anglo players are not in goose-stepping synch! Anglo-German aficianados have always been a homespun lot, so it is not surprising to see such variety in approaches.

 

One thing to think about is the purpose of the tablature. For means of showing complex chords in the harmonic style, for example, where many notes are being played at once, then it is useful to be specific, somehow identifying hand, row number, button number, and push or pull for each button. That is a lot of information to show in a simple manner.

 

For a style where only one note at a time is usually being played, as in Irish music, for all but beginners it usually suffices to say which row is being played....hence no left or right, no button numbers, and no push-pull indication. That way one can address cross rowing without a lot of un-needed clutter. One should know that middle G occurs on all three rows without someone having to spell it out, but cross-row usage (i.e., which G one might choose in a certain situation) is usally the unfamiliar part that needs addressing in tutors. When showing chords in the harmonic style, one has to be more specific, as several rows may be being used at once.

 

Just a thought. I know you like minimalism!

 

Dan

 

edited to add: After thinking about this (briefly!) during a walk, I guess I should mention how to accomplish that.

 

For a workshop in Australia a few years ago, I put a dashed line over notes in the score when they were meant to be played in the G row, and no line when they were meant to be played on the C. This was for a workshop on octave playing a la Dooley Chapman, who cross rowed his octave playing in a way that was not random, but part of a pattern (for example, the 'double z' scale is a pattern when playing in octaves in the key of C; the first four notes are played on the C row, and the last four notes on the G row). The note G, for example, could be played in octaves on the C row or on the G. The dashed line gave a little crutch to learning that double z scale pattern. No other information is required as tablature in this particular case. Clear as mud? The only idea here, such as it is, is that there sometimes is a 'horses for courses' approach to tablature, and maybe some of the folks in your chart had some reason for their otherwise odd-looking tablature. Others were perhaps less than minimalist and maybe even obtuse! :)

Edited by Dan Worrall

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I think the tab used by Gary Coover and Jody Kruskal is by far the easiest and most effective of all the ones I've tried. Betram's is great too but I find myself thinking in terms of Gary and Jody's tab more often than not.

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Thanks, Marcus, but the tablature system that Jody and I use is pretty much the same button numbering system used by most of the 1800's tutors, with the addition of a simple overhead line for pull notes (instead of all those annoying P's and D's, etc.). Although some of the systems out there are quite complex, I prefer something that is also easy to write out in pencil when first starting to arrange a tune. Not sure how you'd do that with some of the others!

 

I recently obtained a copy of the 1887 Sokoloff tutor for German Concertina, and he uses the same 1-10 numbering for each side, but the tutor is only for 20-button instruments (or, 40-note instruments as the Germans tended to call them). Like a lot of the early German tutors, if a button number repeats he just shows a dash instead of repeating the number - takes a little getting used to. For bellows direction he puts a little dot underneath the button number. He shows both treble and bass clef, but the bass is shown an octave lower.

 

Gary

 

P.S. I still like the idea of using "P" for push and "P" for pull, but just can't seem to get anyone else interested in doing that. :D

Edited by gcoover

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I'd second that, I've found reading music from Gary's books very straight forward in comparison to others, and find it an easy style to copy when e.g. writing out a tune/scale for myself with a pencil.

 

This post also reminds me of:

standards.png

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I still like the idea of using "P" for push and "P" for pull, but just can't seem to get anyone else interested in doing that. :D

 

Oh, bad choice!

Much better would be "D" for "depress bellows" and "D" for "draw bellows out". :wacko:

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I still like the idea of using "P" for push and "P" for pull, but just can't seem to get anyone else interested in doing that. :D

 

Oh, bad choice!

Much better would be "D" for "depress bellows" and "D" for "draw bellows out". :wacko:

 

"S" for 'squeeze air out of the bellows,' "S" for 'suck air into the bellows.'

 

Thanks for the great chart, Gary!

Edited by sidesqueeze

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I still like the idea of using "P" for push and "P" for pull, but just can't seem to get anyone else interested in doing that. :D

 

Oh, bad choice!

Much better would be "D" for "depress bellows" and "D" for "draw bellows out". :wacko:

 

"S" for 'squeeze air out of the bellows,' "S" for 'suck air into the bellows.'

 

Can't fool me. You really mean "sidesqueeze says squeeze..." (ah, but from which side?) and "sidesqueeze says suck..." :ph34r:

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