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Singing Witha G/d Anglo


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Well playing in C on a G/D uses the same fingerings as playing in F on a C/G, which I feel is really a 'natural' key for the instrument. If you can play in Am (Dm on a C/G) it's a small step to start playing in C (F). Granted, if you're used to only playing in G and D (C and G), it's going to require a little thought and effort, but it's really not that difficult, you just have to persevere...

 

Adrian

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C should be a pretty comfortable key on a G/D, though as Adrian says there's a bit of a learning curve. I can think of two early obstacles to overcome, neither of them too daunting. First, when you're playing songs of the I-IV-V type both your I and IV chord (C and F) are most accessible on the draw, while only your V chord (G) will be mostly on the push. So the bellows management required will be a bit unfamiliar in the beginning. Second, if you like to use an alternating-bass style of accompaniment, you'll need to draw the low C on the accidental row but push the G on the G row (unless you have a G drone, which you can work, in either direction, with your left thumb).

 

I'm transposing this from a C/G, where F and Bb (C and F for you) have gradually become favorite keys of mine, for both dance tunes and songs. It strikes me as odd when players of Irish music balk at tunes in the near flat keys while happily plugging away much of the time in D (A for you), which is at least as awkward on their C/G instruments. It's all a matter of what you're used to.

 

Bob Michel

Near Philly

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This is one reason why I'm a big fan of the 40-button Anglo: I've found (though it's taken me a while) that the additional chord voicings make it so versatile that I don't much think in terms of "home keys" anymore.

 

It's not as fully chromatic as an English or duet, of course, but I've come to appreciate it as a great compromise. Both my concertinas have 40 buttons, and both are in C/G; when I acquired them (a few years apart in the late '90s) I didn't aspire to play much beyond Irish dance music, and I'd have preferred a standard 30-button instrument. I resigned myself to the extra weight simply because these were available and I could (sort of) afford them. The extra weight turned out to be no trouble at all, and I've come to rely on the alternative fingerings in all the styles of music I play.

 

But I still get the built-in Anglo bounce that I love for dance music, and an instrument that reminds me every time I pick it up to stay focussed on the dancing. Mind, I wouldn't turn down a top-tier 30-button Anglo (or a comparable English or duet, for that matter; I'm omnivorous to a fault). But for me this is the best of both worlds.

 

Bob Michel

Near Philly

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I mostly play G/D for tunes and songs and rarely play in C. If I do play in C, I use the C/G. I’ve found that playing in the harmonic style (that is, playing melody and accompaniment at the same time) in C on the G/D is somewhat limiting on a 30 button Anglo. My 38 button instruments help some, but not really enough to get around the limitations comfortably. Here’s most of why.

 

C and G are the only chords in a I-IV-V tune with satisfactory low notes (C and G). The IV chord F note is not low at all, so to play a rich spelling of an F chord requires using the first inversion, spelled A-C-F. It sounds OK, but I want the F to be on the bottom.

 

Also, you get decent sounding I-IV-V chords (C, F, G) in one direction only... draw, draw, push. Not so for the keys of G, D, A and E

 

Since you have a C/G, I suggest that you use it to play in C.

 

That said, C on the G/D can certainly be done. Two of us here claim to like it. I’ve just figured out, to my surprise, that at least one C tune I know, works better on the G/D than the C/G... shocking!

Edited by Jody Kruskal
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Its nice to see so many contributions on this subject and although I mensioned playing C on a D/G it was great to hear how you all cope with using different keys . I have for the last few months been carrying 3 Concertina,s C/G ,G/D & Bb/F its not very practical,to carry such a big case around .So I have tried to not use my Bb/F (although its great for singing) and keep to my accompaniment on the other two boxes I should add ,most of my singing is after our morris dancing .It looks as though I can't " have my cake and eat it". I also sing without any accompaniment .Its so much easier but I want to be able to do both well. Bob

Edited by KelTekgolow
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I use a Bb/F and G/D for song accompaniments in a band.

 

I don't own a C/G, but find C is relatively easy on the Bb/F- much more so that on the G/D. If you are planning to carry 2 of your 3 boxes around, I would have said that the Bb/F and the G/D would cover more bases, especially as you obviously have G well covered by the G/D.

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That said, C on the G/D can certainly be done. Two of us here claim to like it. I’ve just figured out, to my surprise, that at least one C tune I know, works better on the G/D than the C/G... shocking!

 

As I'm one of those claiming to like it :-)

 

I started to play in F on my first CG anglo quite early on, as I found it was (as others have reported) a great key for singing. So I think the somewhat "opposite logic" of playing in this key has been hard-wired in my head.

 

Another way at looking at it is that having no low D on a 30 button CG, F is the lowest key that has its complete diatonic scale.

 

Adrian

 

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At one point Cajun musician Wayne Toups had a special accordion made with four stops so he could play in two different keys - two were in "C" and two were in "D". It would be a bit unwieldy for a concertina, but maybe some brave soul wants to try it?

 

I once worked on an old 20-button German concertina that had a pull bar near the thumb side of the handles that added or removed an extra octave, but that's the only one I've ever seen like that.

 

Gary

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