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MJGray

Jigs In Harmonic Style (Left Hand Accompaniment)

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This may be a specific question for Gary Coover (I know you're out there), but I am entirely open to suggestions from anyone.

 

I've been working my way through "Anglo 1-2-3" and "Anglo Concertina in the Harmonic Style", and am entirely befuddled by the way those books add accompaniment to jigs. It's written as a more or less "oom-pah" 1, 2 kind of beat, but laid underneath the triplets of jig time. I'm a more kinesthetic learner, so not even listening to it played (see video here for "The Beaver", from the second of those books) is helping me much, although I have a vague idea that maybe the "oom" is 2 eighth notes and the "pah" is the third of each triplet. I am struggling mightily to replicate what's going on with the left hand there.

 

Does anyone have any helpful tips for how I can teach my left hand the feel for this rhythmic accompaniment? I'm doing reasonably well with left hand chords in 4/4 and 3/4, but since "The Beaver" is only the fourth tune in the book, I feel like maybe I'm missing something fundamental...

 

(Heck, any exercises or tips people have found useful for training their right and left hands to play distinct rhythmic parts on the Anglo would be very welcome, no matter what the time signature!)

 

Thanks in advance,

 

Mike

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It's a long time ago, but I remember the same problem with jigs.

 

My solution was a very simple exercise.

 

Assuming you have a CG box:

 

On the right hand, play the notes CDE CDE CDE CDE repeatedly in triplets. It helps to play it slightly accented, with more emphasis on the C.

 

Now bring in the left hand:

 

Play low C in time with the C of the triplets. ("Oom") Use the left little finger.on button 1.

 

Play EG with your first two fingers of your left hand, buttons 4 and 5, in time with the E of the triplet. ("Pah")

 

So on the right hand, you have "DI du lee, DI du lee" etc. and on the left hand you have "Oom (and) Pah, Oom (and) Pah" etc.

 

When that starts to work, develop the right hand into CDE EDC, CDE EDC etc.

 

This gives you the basic timing and coordination without the confusion of (a) playing a full melody and (B) having to keep changing chords to fit the melody.

 

Once you have the timing, it will be much easier to start to use the 3 chord trick with simple jigs. After that, there is a whole world of more interesting things to do, but you need to get this basic thing right first.

 

Good luck.

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It's a long time ago, but I remember the same problem with jigs.

 

My solution was a very simple exercise.

 

Assuming you have a CG box:

 

On the right hand, play the notes CDE CDE CDE CDE repeatedly in triplets. It helps to play it slightly accented, with more emphasis on the C.

 

Now bring in the left hand:

 

Play low C in time with the C of the triplets. ("Oom") Use the left little finger.on button 1.

 

Play EG with your first two fingers of your left hand, buttons 4 and 5, in time with the E of the triplet. ("Pah")

 

So on the right hand, you have "DI du lee, DI du lee" etc. and on the left hand you have "Oom (and) Pah, Oom (and) Pah" etc.

 

When that starts to work, develop the right hand into CDE EDC, CDE EDC etc.

 

This gives you the basic timing and coordination without the confusion of (a) playing a full melody and ( B) having to keep changing chords to fit the melody.

 

Once you have the timing, it will be much easier to start to use the 3 chord trick with simple jigs. After that, there is a whole world of more interesting things to do, but you need to get this basic thing right first.

 

Good luck.

 

how do you know what chord goes with what note when you are making arrangements?

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how do you know what chord goes with what note when you are making arrangements?

I would say that in most cases there's no "one-and-only" right answer, so the answer to your question is that it's something you learn, gradually, over time and from many examples. With perseverance, you eventually learn what "sounds right"... first to yourself, and then possibly to others even if it's not what you yourself like.

 

Among other things, which chords you might choose can depend on how often you play/change chords. And in doing the above-mentioned "humpty dumpty" style of chording on jigs, some players might change "chords" between the (single note) "ump" and the (multi-note) "ty" in certain parts of a tune, while others might hold the "hump" chord through the "ty", even though it produces a transient "discord".

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It's like an onion: layers within layers. When you start off you will probably rely heavily on "oom pah" and the 3 chord trick. In C, that means the chords C major, G major and (less often) F major. For any key, that's the major chords built on the 1st, 5th and 4th notes of the scale. Later you will do more complex things, and - unexpectedly - some simpler things too.

 

Sometimes, you will find that the melody note is in the wrong direction for the chord that sounds right. When this happens, playing a single note an octave (or 2 octaves) lower than the melody note will always fit.

 

The next useful chords are D minor which often fits instead of F, and A minor which often fits instead of C.

 

A chord is 3 or more notes played together, although you can break a chord up into a series of individual notes (an arpeggio). However, as the melody will always be a note (obviously) you only need 2 other notes to make a chord, and often a single note will convey the sound you want.

 

The Anglo is designed to make chords intuitive, so a big part of it is just trying it and seeing what works.

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It's a long time ago, but I remember the same problem with jigs.

 

My solution was a very simple exercise.

 

Assuming you have a CG box:

 

On the right hand, play the notes CDE CDE CDE CDE repeatedly in triplets. It helps to play it slightly accented, with more emphasis on the C.

 

Now bring in the left hand:

 

Play low C in time with the C of the triplets. ("Oom") Use the left little finger.on button 1.

 

Play EG with your first two fingers of your left hand, buttons 4 and 5, in time with the E of the triplet. ("Pah")

 

So on the right hand, you have "DI du lee, DI du lee" etc. and on the left hand you have "Oom (and) Pah, Oom (and) Pah" etc.

 

When that starts to work, develop the right hand into CDE EDC, CDE EDC etc.

 

This gives you the basic timing and coordination without the confusion of (a) playing a full melody and ( B) having to keep changing chords to fit the melody.

 

Once you have the timing, it will be much easier to start to use the 3 chord trick with simple jigs. After that, there is a whole world of more interesting things to do, but you need to get this basic thing right first.

 

Good luck.

 

Thank you! This is exactly the kind of thing I was looking for. Much appreciated.

 

I'll give this a shot and report back.

 

Mike

 

EDIT: That did the trick! Once I found the feel for the bounce in the left hand, it falls into place. Knowing how it's supposed to be counted did wonders. Thanks for the tips!

 

As a side note, I'm finding the rhythmic separation of left and right hands to be the most challenging and interesting part of learning the Anglo. I'm coming from a background string instruments where the two hands are almost completely dependent on each other, so this is definitely laying down some new neural connections for me. Tons of fun.

Edited by MJGray

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