Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
gcoover

American Civil War Concertina Tunebook - Now Available

Recommended Posts

Now available via Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk, and the various European Amazons, a book of 60 songs and tunes popular during the American Civil War (1860's), arranged especially for the 20-button Anglo concertina, including songs by Stephen Foster, Henry Clay Work, George F. Root and many others.

 

Based on original sheet music, all melodies are shown in standard musical notation and the songs also include complete lyrics and chords.

 

And for those with 20-button Anglos, all are shown with a super-easy tablature system and are arranged in a variety of styles - single note, harmonica-style, octaves, simple harmonies, and full harmonies, so it shows a lot of different ways you can play the 20-button Anglo.

 

I have to admit I was really surprised just how much music you can get out of the seemingly limited 20-button Anglo! (Note to self: "Never. Underestimate. The. Power. Of. Concertina.")

 

And as before, here are some excerpts, plus the Table of Contents.

 

"Sidesqueeze" - here's "The Empty Sleeve", and of course, "Goober Peas" for "Stevie D". Elsewhere on these forums I previously posted "Weeping Sad and Lonely", also known as "When This Cruel War Is Over".

 

Some really great tunes from a very turbulent period in American history. As with "Christmas Concertina", I'll be posting these tunes on YouTube in the next few weeks so you see and hear how they are played.

 

Enjoy!

Gary

 

N.B. Edited to update "First Gun is Fired"

EmptySleeve-C-ANGLO-20b.pdf

GooberPeas-C-ANGLO-20b.pdf

CivilWarConcertina-TableOfContents.pdf

FirstGunIsFired-C-ANGLO-20b.pdf

Edited by gcoover

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Based on original sheet music, all melodies are shown in standard musical notation and the songs also include complete lyrics and chords.

 

And for those with 20-button Anglos, all are shown with a super-easy tablature system and are arranged in a variety of styles - single note, harmonica-style, octaves, simple harmonies, and full harmonies, so it shows a lot of different ways you can play the 20-button Anglo.

One disappointment for me and perhaps others who play non-anglos is that you only have the melody in standard notation, but not the full arrangement. I'm afraid you may have unwittingly reduced your potential market.

 

I know the anglo keyboard, so I can work out (but not sight read) the "tablature" with my other concertinas. But what about those who play only English or duet? I'm fairly certain that your arrangements would also work on any duet or tenor-treble English, and probably many even on an ordinary treble English, but for them your tablature is likely more a barrier than a help.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
One disappointment for me and perhaps others who play non-anglos is that you only have the melody in standard notation, but not the full arrangement.

 

 

Actually, even as an Anglo player I was a bit thrown by that too when sussing out the tab. I agree that it would be nice to see the accompaniment notated along with the melody as reference to what the finished product should sound like.

 

But I just now bought a copy, so it obviously wasn't a dealbreaker. :-) Looking forward to getting it!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Gary, you just made my day! just ordered mine and just finished WSAL. Now I have goober peas for the weekend. While I can't speak to non anglo players, I will say I felt the same way at first but once you start these tabs are by far the easiest to read.

 

PS mister, here's your mule!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Gary

 

Any chance that your books can be made available on Amazon.ca?

 

I can order from Amazon.com (and will do so if you tell me that it will not be available in Canada), but it is slower and costlier.

 

Don.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Okay, so I'm working my way through "The First Gun Is Fired", which so far sounds like I'm going to really enjoy. The few parts my meager talents are currently able to play in full are sounding quite nice!

 

But... should that be a "2" over the E note in measure 15? Or maybe that note should be G instead of E? (Or maybe I'm just misunderstanding the tab?)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wow, thanks for all the interest! Thanks, too, Jeff for catching that "3" that should be a "2". It's been fixed, re-uploaded, and every book from here on out will have it right, thanks to you. I don't know why Amazon.ca is not included in the distribution package - I would add it if I could!

 

I appreciate the requests about having the full arrangements in standard notation, but let me offer a few reasons. The 20-button Anglo has some serious limitations when it comes to playing harmonies, so these particular arrangements might sound a bit odd on instruments with more capacity. I wouldn't play these tunes the same way on my 30-button Anglo, or EC, or Jeffries Duet, so that's why the chord names are included. Two do have full arrangements - "The Star-Spangled Banner" & "Dodworth's Original Lancers No.1" - since I'm pulling them in from the old Sedgwick Anglo tutor. But it mostly comes down to the issue of how to notate everything with whatever kind of clefs, octave low or real pitch, and then there is the space requirement of being able to fit the tune on one page if all the notes and numbers are included. No offense intended to non-Anglo players, but I'm deliberately erring on the side of simplicity. It's much easier to find the melody this way, and you can always ignore the numbers and just work with the chords to create your own wonderful arrangements.

 

My main goal with this book is to help folks with 20-button instruments learn more tunes and to realize that it can be capable of quite a bit more than most people expect, while also providing a little historical perspective as to what they might have sounded like on 20-button Anglos in the 1860's. If it helps others with different instruments learn more tunes, then so much the better!

 

Gary

Edited by gcoover

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Congratulations on a big effort! I've two books out with a third in process, so I know how much time it takes and how easy it is to make mistakes. I'm sure you'll get lots of business. I looked at all of the versions. I don't play Anglo, so I'm not qualified to judge the arrangements, but I remember that your holiday things were nicely done and I'm sure these will be too. I do wonder a bit about the chords on the first line of "The Empty Sleeve." The last 4 or 5 measures. Did you decide on those chords based on what's available on the 20 button anglo? I can sort of hear those chords, but there are others that make better sense to me. Please don't see this as criticism. I'm just wondering what might have been the basis for those chords. Nothing in the rest of this piece or in any of the others you put on line seems as unusual. I'd love to see any comments you might have time to post.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes, odd chords in places on "Empty Sleeve", but that's what is in the 1864 sheet music as published by W.W. Whitney in Toledo, OH. It looks like those two G's are actually G7's, but the four measures of C's are correct. So, although those may be the "historical" chords, I doubt if the ghost of Mr. Henry Badger would mind if you gave them a tweak or two!

 

Sheet music back then never showed chords, so they have to be divined by looking at the accompaniment notes which can sometimes be pretty sparse, or even arpeggiated. And of course, the limitations of the 20-button Anglo can really play havoc with the fancier chromatic notes and chords. It bothered me at first to make the odd concession here and there, but then I realized the old Anglo tutors did it even more than me, so then I didn't feel quite so bad. Sometimes you just have to bend the tune to fit what you've got in your hands.

 

Another thing to take note of is that many of the songs and tunes in this book have undergone the "folk process" in the ensuing 150 years, so there may be several times folks will have to decide whether to be historically accurate or play to current norms. If you play the original version of "Angelina Baker" by Stephen Foster, today's oldtime musicians will probably wonder what the heck you're doing.

 

If you have an interest in historical sheet music, the Lester S. Levy Collection of Sheet Music at Johns Hopkins University is mostly online. Not all 29,000 copies, but quite a few. Well worth checking out, and free to download, what an amazing resource.

 

Gary

Edited by gcoover

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

...I'm deliberately erring on the side of simplicity.

"Simplicity" lies in the prior experience of the reader/player.

 

For example:

...you can always ignore the numbers and just work with the chords to create your own wonderful arrangements.

No I can't... or at least not easily. My first "instrument" was voice; my next was trumpet (at 9 years of age). Add to those French horn, saxophone, flute, and tin whistle... none of which are capable of playing chords. I don't recall ever seeing music notated as just melody with chord notation until after university. Even then, it was folk guitar stuff where one was expected to sing the melody but play only the chords, not work up a chord-based arrangement that included the melody.

 

What I can do is work up an arrangement (or accompaniment) based on the melody and my personal "ear" for harmonies... not "chords". My interest in your book was/is to see what sorts of arrangements (plural "sorts", as you yourself have noted) you have created and what I can learn from them. If an arrangement works for a 20-button anglo, it should also work for a 45-button or a duet, even though those instruments can also do more complex arrangements that also work.

 

Anyway, I'm not going to try to get you to change your purpose or your way of doing things, though I hope I've made my point that what is "simple" for you isn't necessarily "simple" for everyone. (To me, standard notation is "the simplest", because since learning it at the age of 9 I've been able to use it with every new instrument I've tried, not having to convert to a new "tablature" for each instrument.)

 

I do wonder, though... do you work out your arrangements by first deciding on a chord sequence and then fitting your arrangement to the chords, or do you first work out the arrangement and then analyze that to discover the chord sequence?

 

And by the way (others should note), I do still intend to order your books -- all of them -- once I've taken care of some other priorities. I still think they're worthwhile, on several levels. Good luck to you.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

(To me, standard notation is "the simplest", because since learning it at the age of 9 I've been able to use it with every new instrument I've tried, not having to convert to a new "tablature" for each instrument.)

 

I come, firstly, from a piano background. So I'm normally a standard notation guy too.

 

But standard notation tends to drop the ball when it comes to instruments that A.) have multiple ways to play any given note, and B.) have not developed any sort of universally-accepted system for playing notes, given those multiple ways.

 

A specific arrangement of a piece is really dealing with three dimensions of information: What pitch (or pitches) to play, when to play that pitch (and for how long), and where (on your instrument) to play that pitch. Standard notation just covers those first two dimensions (unless you want to use multiple staves, as with organ).

 

For piano, there's only one option for the "where", so that's no big deal. For violin, there are fairly standard assumptions about the "where". For Anglo concertina... not so much. :-)

 

(For me, I prefer a combination of the two: Standard notation on one staff, tab on another. But that's just me and YMMV...)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I also come from years of piano and organ, and although I read music on EC, that's just never quite happened for me on the Anglo. Maybe it's because some people use normal clefs, some use double treble clefs, and some move everything up an octave. Having "Middle C" right in the middle of the C/G left hand side makes standard notation a real challenge, and can put notes into relatively uncharted ledger line territory, both up and down, pretty quickly. And then Anglos come in different combinations of keys, further muddling the question of where the notes should be on the page.

 

So instead, I approach the Anglo in terms of button numbers and patterns, and just use the single melody line of actual music notation (at real pitch) to show me relative pitches and note timing. When writing out an arrangement, once I've got the melody line printed out it's very easy to add and edit the numbers and directions in pencil, and then transfer the pencil scratchings into Finale PrintMusic so it's legible to anyone else. They might look like heiroglyphics or secret code to most folks, but card-carrying members of the exclusive "Anglo Club" will know exactly how to decode them into music. And these books are all written to specifically help Anglo players to learn how to get more out of their instruments.

 

As to the chords, I just throw them in to help connect certain patterns to certain chords. Do chords come first? Not always, sometimes I put them in right after inputting the melody so the computer can play it back to see if it sounds ok. Other times, I add them later after finding a harmonic combination that works and then have to figure out what chord it might be. Chord symbols can help give a quick idea of which notes to choose from for harmonies.

 

Maybe if I read music on the Anglo it would be different, but I don't find many Anglo players that do, and the tab system can get them up and running a lot quicker. I know it's what works best for me, so hopefully others can benefit too!

 

Gary

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I read music on the Anglo just fine. No problem. It's the chords that have been my problem so I find your tabs to be the only answer I've found that actually work for me. Maybe some mods later but finally a place to start. Your Civil War tunes are next on my list. I just wish you would do the same thing for the one row melodeon. I know it must sound silly. After all, the one one row only has two chords and two bass notes; but where and when? If I was a musician I wouldn't ask, but I'm just a happy box squeezer.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I just wish you would do the same thing for the one row melodeon. I know it must sound silly. After all, the one one row only has two chords and two bass notes; but where and when? If I was a musician I wouldn't ask, but I'm just a happy box squeezer.

 

My instant guess would be to just have the second chord when the first doesn't fit any more, and use the bass notes (which anyway will be played alternating with the related chord) seperated from the chords to expand this concept,

 

i.e. applying the "second" bass note

  • in measures where you play the first chord (having the two bass notes alternating with the chord variantly)
  • without the second chord if it doesn't fit either

asf. - hope that helps a bit...

 

Best wishes - Wolf

 

(edited to erase unintended "smiley")

( :) )

Edited by blue eyed sailor

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

...then Anglos come in different combinations of keys, further muddling the question of where the notes should be on the page.

Well, another problem with anglos is that not only do they come in different keys, but they also come in a variety of layouts... Jeffries vs. Lachenal/Wheatstone vs. customized for a 30-button, and rarely two instruments the same for more than 30 buttons. But even on a 20-button, the pull note on the lowest button of the left hand G row (on a C/G) can commonly be either an A or a D, and I have a 1950's Italian 20-button where it's an octave lower than the usual D.

 

Do your books at least have an appendix showing the layout that your notation assumes?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If I was a musician I wouldn't ask, but I'm just a happy box squeezer.

If you're a happy box squeezer, then you are a musician. :)

My own boxes don't always sound happy ( :o), but the more they do, the happier we both are. :D

 

...I just wish you would do the same thing for the one row melodeon. I know it must sound silly. After all, the one one row only has two chords and two bass notes; but where and when?

I think we're drifting from the real topic here, which is Gary's book(s), but...

If your one-row is like the old Hohner I used to have, those two chords are only one in each direction, each with its associated bass note. So that really only gives the following choices at any point in a tune:

  1. Play the available bass note.
  2. Play the available chord (without the bass).
  3. Play the bass and chord together.
  4. Don't play either. (I.e., only play notes on the melody side.)

You can try each of the above options at various points in the tune and decide which is best (or "the lesser of the evils"?). But keep in mind that it's not just a particular choice at each point, but the resulting sequence of choices which will affect the "feel" of the tune when it's played.

 

And different musical genres can have different "feels". While I'm no expert, I've been told that a hallmark of some Cajun music is using a one-row box with the chords available, even when they would be considered "wrong" in styles of music where more chords are available. E.g., on a G box -- with a G chord on the push and a D chord on the pull -- that would mean that the D chord would be used against the pull notes of C and E, as well as against the A and F#, while a D in the melody would always be against a G chord, even where you'd be inclined to use a D (or D7) chord if it were available.

 

But I would also suggest that while steadily alternating bass and chord (what I know as the "oom-pah" style of accompaniment) is common, other patterns might also be useful. E.g., instead of bass-chord-bass-chord, such sequences as bass-bass-chord-bass or chord-bass-blank-chord might be more "musical" at particular points in a tune.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

(Still can't get quote or cut and paste to work....)

 

Jim asked, "Do your books at least have an appendix showing the layout that your notation assumes?"

 

Of course! But it's up front along with a thorough explanation of the simple tab system.

 

 

Gary

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

whoo hoo! got mine today. First rate job Gary. Your effort is appreciated.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...