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Tab/s For Anglo Concertina


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A lesson or so into a teaching stint has brought to my attention the dearth of Tabs for Anglo Concertina. And sure there are some in books already out there, but on the internet nearly nothing.

 

How about a website of Tabs like the ABC websites?

 

Thank you.

 

 

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Perhaps a dearth on the internet, but in the publishing world I've found over 30 different ways people have tried to notate the Anglo in the past 150 years or so. A few months back I posted on cnet a chart of all the ones I know of so far, from fairly simple to inexplicably complex. You'll find lots of discussion about Anglo tabs on old cnet threads, and probably again on this one!

 

The one that works the best for me by far (attached) is essentially the same numbering system used for the "German" concertinas in the 1870's when they added the third row on top, but with the substitution of a simple overhead line for notes or phrases on the pull. I like the way it identifies the top row as being something different from the structure of the other two rows, and the line makes it easy to see what direction and general phrasing. Simple, easy to see, easy to learn, and also very important for me is that it's very easy to notate with a pencil when first writing out tunes for Anglo.

 

It would be great to have a website comparing all the different ones. You're welcome to start one and can certainly begin by posting that "Rosetta Stone" chart.

 

Gary

Anglo-Keyboard-Tablature.pdf

Edited by gcoover
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A lesson or so into a teaching stint has brought to my attention the dearth of Tabs for Anglo Concertina. And sure there are some in books already out there, but on the internet nearly nothing.

 

How about a website of Tabs like the ABC websites?

 

ABC is pretty much standardized. As Gary mentions, anglo tab is not. Not even for a single layout, and there are many different layouts. So at the very least, for the tab of any piece (or collection of pieces) the layout would have to be specified.

 

Also, ABC us east to enter directly from a keyboard. Gary's tablature is 2-dimensional, with items on multiple lines having to be aligned with each other. Are there any anglo tab systems that aren't? They're easy to write out by hand, but much more difficult to enter as simple text from a computer keyboard. What's more, they tend to be used in conjunction with standard musical notation, which they use to show note duration.

 

It seems to me that what you're looking for requires much more work than the same in ABC notation, yet would have a smaller "user" base. It would have to be truly a labor of love, and so far no one seems to have felt sufficient motivation to actually build a collection of tabs like what you want.

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True, there are many Anglo tab systems, but I find the one that gcoover mentions the most practical and easiest to read. Perhaps that's because it is used in my first Anglo tutor to annotate the standard notation. The left-hand numbers are below the stave, the right-hand numbers above it. In the tutor, it is intended purely as an annotation to help you find the right button and bellows direction (press, unless otherwise indicated by a ^ sign over the button number). The note durations are taken from the standard notation.

 

You can't fully notate a tune this way, because you need the note durations. If you did want to do this, you could use the structure of a tonic sol-fa score. This consists of bar-lines, with the bars further subdivided into crotchets (quarter-notes) by semicolons. The note names, shortened to "d, r, m, f," etc., are inserted in this structure. Quavers (eighth-notes) are represented by two note names between semicolons, separated by a comma. A minim (half-note) is represented by a note name to the left of a semicolon and a dash to the right of it. Practically any rhythmic structure can be notated this way.

The beauty of this system is that it requires only letters and punctuation marks to write it, so it can be hacked into a PC. For Anglo tab, you'd just have to replace the single-letter note names with button numbers (with or without draw marks as appropriate), and write it in two lines to distinguish the hands (right above, left below) with a horizontal line between them.

 

The fact that tab can only be read with one of several layouts can be seen as either a strength or a weakness. Tabulature was first used for the Renaissance lute, which had several alternate tunings. A given note could be on a different string at a different fret, depending on your current tuning, so standard absolute notation was not suitable. Tabulature (for string instruments even to this day!) defines the tuning up front - so you tuned your lute to that, and put your fingers where the tabs showed you. This is the strength of tabulature.

 

Of course you can't retune your concertina when faced with tabs for a different layout, so at least two versions of the tab for a tune would be needed: one for "Wheatstone/Lachenal" and one for "Jeffries". If you have a custom layout, that's your lookout! This is a weakness of tabulature.

 

Still want Anglo tabs? <_<

 

Cheers,

John

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Of course you can't retune your concertina when faced with tabs for a different layout, so at least two versions of the tab for a tune would be needed: one for "Wheatstone/Lachenal" and one for "Jeffries".

Echoing "at least", since the draw note on the "lowest" button in the left-hand G row is most often a duplicate D, but still often enough a low A that I wouldn't consider that to be "custom". And then there's the increasingly popular (so I'm told) modification of the Jeffries layout that puts the two right-hand C#'s on the same button.

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Of course you can't retune your concertina when faced with tabs for a different layout, so at least two versions of the tab for a tune would be needed: one for "Wheatstone/Lachenal" and one for "Jeffries".

Echoing "at least", since the draw note on the "lowest" button in the left-hand G row is most often a duplicate D, but still often enough a low A that I wouldn't consider that to be "custom". And then there's the increasingly popular (so I'm told) modification of the Jeffries layout that puts the two right-hand C#'s on the same button.

 

Yes, I think the best use for Anglo tab ist to make notes of which alternative fingering you use for this or that note, or for bits of the tune that keep escaping your memory. In this case, of course, you'll tab for your particular layout.

Most Anglos are played in some genre of folk or traditional music in which tunes are mostly learnt by listening anyway, so 100% notation is not really necessary - or is this too large an assumption?

 

Cheers,

John

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Yes, I think the best use for Anglo tab ist to make notes of which alternative fingering you use for this or that note, or for bits of the tune that keep escaping your memory. In this case, of course, you'll tab for your particular layout.

Most Anglos are played in some genre of folk or traditional music in which tunes are mostly learnt by listening anyway, so 100% notation is not really necessary - or is this too large an assumption?

I agree, though that's contrary to what I understood as Notemaker's desire, which is one or more online collections of anglo tabs for melodies (and arrangements?) similar to what can be found in ABC format.

 

I think the responses have largely been not only that such a project is "easier said than done", but that it's far from "one size fits all"... basically giving probable reasons why it hasn't yet happened.

 

Not only are there variant layouts, but it's common for different individuals to use different fingerings -- different fingers for the same buttons, but also different buttons and even different bellows directions -- for the same note. So even for a given version of a given tune for a given layout, there could (should?) be several different tabs.

 

If someone wants to take that on as a personal project, more power to them, but it would be a lot of work, and I wouldn't expect anything like it any time soon.

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  • 1 year later...

I know this is an old thread, but this may still be useful to someone...

 

I have begun playing a 30 key Morse Céilí, learning tunes from ABC notation. In order to keep track of particular fingering patterns in my note book, I started experimenting with a variety of tab notations. Wanting something that was easily scribed and interpreted, and could be just as easily typed as written by hand, I finally settled on the following:

The numbers 1-5 (predictably) number each button in a row from top to bottom. The first row is denoted by a full stop, second by a colon, third by an exclamation mark. If the punctuation is placed on the left side of the number, it shows left hand button and vice-versa for the right. Finally, an underline indicates a pull note, no underline is a push note.

 

Here are some examples:

.3 = left hand, first row, third button, push

4: = right hand, second row, fourth button, pull

!2 = left hand, third row, second button, push

 

Finally, I have made a chart that shows all the alternative fingerings for each note on the instrument, laid out on a piano keyboard diagram with ABC octaves indicated – It's attached as a PDF. If anyone is interested, I am happy to share the excel file that I used to make it so that it can be modified for alternative instruments / fingerings.

 

I hope this might be helpful to anyone starting out.

Concertina Fingering.pdf

Edited by MHGreen
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Hi Gary, just joined the forum, and mentioned the good tutor book I bought, neglecting to mention that it was YOUR tutor book! And very good it is too and I like your tab version. Have looked at a couple of others but this seems to me - a complete beginner - the easiest one to deal with. I PARTICULARLY love your attitude to fingering - I have my own very random version on my melodeon, it suits me fine, and I expect will go a similar route with the concertina. I experience many more trip-ups when trying to follow proscribed fingering patterns. Yes, each person has a different size and shape to their hands and our brain/finger connect is far from standardised! Thanks for writing such a clear beginner's manual.

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Hi Lynne and welcome to the forum. Completely agree with you about Gary's excellent book.

 

I'm sure your Anglo progress will be every bit as successful as it was when you took up D/G Melodeon ….. go girl.

 

Rob

 

(known in some other Forums etc as "Artidots")

Edited by Robin Tims
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I have been using Tabledit software for many years now, and find it works well. It allows you to configure different instruments up to 3 rows with 12 button for both push & pull. I find the easiest way to use it is to import an abc file and let the software automatically sort out the tablature. It is then relatively easy to go through the tune and change any fingering for my own preference. Sample attached - its French, so push & pull become P & T. It can be changed, but you end up with P & P!!

 

Peter

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