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Accompaniment On The English


Eric Barker
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I was just viewing and enjoying some Steve Turner videos. I was quite taken with the style of accompanyment he used on his english concertina to support the vocals. It sort of reminded me of fingerstyle guitar/banjo where many notes in addition to the melody appear. I am just starting to work up Lord Franklins lament and was wondering if anyone would be able to give me some suggestions about how to work up this filligreed fingering method? I have also noted that Rob Hebron sometimes does something similar. I have tried chords but it was like an elephant stomping on the melody so I need something between chords and melody only-which is what I default to at this time. Thank you!

Eric in Montana

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Eric. I know next to nothing about formal musical theory and am not familiar with the playing of Steve Turner but I would suggest that if you want an alternative to the chords that you liken to "an elephant stomping on the melody " you might start investigating the many possibilities of what are loosely called ' arpeggios ''. Another approach is to apply the accompanying chords with a rather more light, delicate and staccato touch. Perhaps easier on an Anglo than an English.

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It's an area I'm just starting to explore myself, but I've found that full-fat multi-note chords are indeed far too heavy in most cases.

 

It's a huge area and one that's very hard to explain in text, but try taking out some of the notes - as one example try just playing the root and 5th (so in a chord of C that would be a C and the G above, omitting the 3rd which is the E; this also has the pleasing effect of removing the rigid delineation of whether it's a major or a minor chord).

 

If you're supporting a tune, you'll (I'll) quite often find that just one extra harmony note is sufficient. If you're backing a singer or another instrumentalist, two-note chords will often do the job; try and get away from the root-and-fifth straitjacket (again, in C, that's C and G) and its close cousin the C with the G below.

 

Arpeggios are also good.

 

Trial and error is the key - musical theory will help, but you'll come up with some great stuff just by trying out various notes and two-button chords against the melody. I try and work on that side of my playing whilst I'm the only one in the house, and even the dogs end up retreating to other rooms, but like any other aspect of playing there's no real shortcut to putting the hours in. (Although a help would be to get along to one of Rob Harbron's workshops, where you'll come away with years-worth of ideas).

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Another approach is to apply the accompanying chords with a rather more light, delicate and staccato touch. Perhaps easier on an Anglo than an English.

Why should it be easier on an anglo than on an English? Please explain why you would think so. Because it's not.

 

It's extremely easy on an English... at least on one that's in good condition. (The same would be true of an anglo... or duet.)

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Steve Turner's arrangements are superb. The word 'baroque' comes to mind. They are the result of considerable work and I've heard Steve say that the fingerings are very key specific, so he has to be absolutely sure of the key first.

 

Rik

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Another approach is to apply the accompanying chords with a rather more light, delicate and staccato touch. Perhaps easier on an Anglo than an English.

 

Why should it be easier on an anglo than on an English? Please explain why you would think so. Because it's not.

 

It's extremely easy on an English... at least on one that's in good condition. (The same would be true of an anglo... or duet.)

Jim, I said ' perhaps '.

My experience is restricted solely to Anglo.

My previous reply was addressed to Eric.

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Another approach is to apply the accompanying chords with a rather more light, delicate and staccato touch. Perhaps easier on an Anglo than an English.

Why should it be easier on an anglo than on an English? Please explain why you would think so. Because it's not.

 

It's extremely easy on an English... at least on one that's in good condition. (The same would be true of an anglo... or duet.)

Jim, I said ' perhaps '.

Why "perhaps"? There is no perhaps. Your supposition was simply not true. It has no basis in fact.

 

My experience is restricted solely to Anglo.

And you yourself have just admitted that you also have no basis in experience for such a speculation.

 

Rod, until recently I've always admired the relevance and succinctness of your posts, but it's now more than once that you've suggested things that were demonstrably false and for which you've admitted you had no basis.

 

I'm particularly concerned that you have suggested the English might be deficient in ways that it's actually proficient. That "advice" can be harmful, especially to a naive beginner. And advice it is, since that word "perhaps" implies a belief -- however small -- on your part that there can be truth in your supposition, when in fact there is none.

 

My previous reply was addressed to Eric.

No. By posting it here, you addressed it to the general public. (Even those who aren't concertina.net members can read posts on these forums, and search engines can find those posts.)

 

But even if you had addressed it in a PM only to Eric, I believe it would have been potentially harmful. Except that I wouldn't have known, so I wouldn't/couldn't have said anything about it.

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Going back to Eric's original subject:

 

'I am just starting to work up Lord Franklins lament and was wondering if anyone would be able to give me some suggestions about how to work up this filligreed fingering method'

 

I too am a fan of Steve Turner's arrangements (although I think some of their intracies may well always be beyond me), there is quite a nice 'half-way' house arrangement (i.e. some nice intricacies in with melody and harmony) of Lord Franklin in Roger Watson's 'Handbook for English Concertina'. I have found it a good basis from which to consider other arrangements and avoid that potential muddiness that over reliance on chords can bring. The book is in copyright, so I have not scanned/posted the relveant dots, but I see that there are second hand versions on Amazon. The arrangment for 'Adieu sweet Nancy' in the book is also a pleasant one (and easy to learn).

 

Good luck!

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