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Anglo, Usefulness Of Low C For Irish

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I have a couple of questions about anglo concertina notes layout.


1. Have you ever used Low C (middle row, first button on the left, push) for Irish/Scottish tunes?


2. Have you ever used D# on left side for Irish/Scottish tunes (probably yes) and how often? I'm thinking about changing D# on the left side to E, so I'll have E on pull (which could be very usefull for Eminor tunes and for chords)





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1. Only in one case - the Staten Island hornpipe (in D). In the second part there are two C naturals (supposed to sound like steam boat whistles). I play them down to the lowest C natural. It brings an interesting reaction in the session, because no-one knows where the sound is coming from. (But as to whether it is worthwhile keeping the note for just this gimmick - probably not).


2. Not often really.

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I've never really used that low C in an Irish tune beside occasional "double octave" effects but I would love to have a reverse C for the C one octave higher. The fact that I can only get it on the push is a handicap in some (very few) tunes.

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I have never used the low C for irish music, and have always wanted that button altered so that the low C is gone and a middle-C becomes the PULL note, with the note that is currently the pull note there (what is it, the F, I don't have it with me) becomes a push note.


I have not often used the "middle d#," but don't want to give it up. rather, I want a matching one in the other direction, to make the instrument more usable for e-flat, a-flat, and b-flat music.


regarding the yearning for a left-side E on the pull, I believe the current config of not two but THREE left-side a's and g's, is ridiculous---not in an absolute sense, of course, but in the sense of the limitations of the 30-button anglo concertina. . one in each direction is plenty. therefore, I believe the bottom-row set should be thrown out to free that space for the alternate-direction e and f. I never use it, having trained myself to use the top-row set. it works wonderfully.

Edited by ceemonster
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I have an E in the LHS D# position. I also have a low D in the A# position and a low F# in the push D# position on the RHS.


They are all valuable but it is not a straightforward, "yes, it is better..." thing. The first issue is, if you build the notes into your playing in a significant way you cannot play anyone else's concertina. And then, if you upgrade to another concertina there is additional expense in conversion and perhaps rectification of the older concertina to preserve resale. You may also be missing some substantial chording possibilities without the D# (and the A#). I do not use complex chords in my Irish playing so I do not expect to run into that issue.


The low F# in the RHS D# push position was copied from a keyboard layout I read about here a long time ago, one created by the Dippers, and having the low F# available to be used by a finger which was not the left little finger seemed an advantage back then as I was struggling with the usual F# placement. Many years down the track I no longer struggle with using my left little finger but I am attuned to having both F#s and won't go back. The reverse E is terrific but building it into my playing would take a while and I haven't done it yet.


In ITM terms there is one more subtle effect from having reverses for the E,C and F#s. A few years ago I ran into a top Irish player. He normally played a 38 key and I was surprised to see him sporting a new 30 key. His explanation; he felt having the reverses for those notes mentioned in this thread meant he was not having to cope with their absence and the coping contributed in a tangible way to the unique character of the Anglo in Irish music. I understand this.


I created the reverse low D and middle Es on a whim, the E was all of about 5 minutes work. The low D took longer and is a little compromised by the chamber sized for the A#. I could make it work better but I see it as a novelty button and probably won't bother.

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