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Anyone Playing German Folk Tunes On A C/g Anglo?

Canary Bird

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Hello to all! I am really enjoying and learning soooo much from this very informative & lively forum with lots of perspectives and years of experience behind what is written.


I am a harmonica player and ready to launch out in learning a free reed instrument with bellows. The C/G Anglo seems like it could be my best bet (for learning, resources available, Irish tunes that I love), but I don't want to give up those German tunes that I play on my harmonicas.


Anyone playing German folk tunes on a C/G Anglo?


THANK YOU for any ideas or thoughts that you might have.

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Everything you can do on a C or G harmonica you also can do on a 20 button (or more) C/G anglo. Playing anglo will give you more harmonic freedom. The anglo concertina should be ideal for playing German folk tunes, or any major key tunes, and it allows you to add more harmony than you could on a harmonica. The greater harmonic possibilities arise because you can find the same note in both directions. For example suppose you are playing "Muss I Denn" in the key of C: [CDE,EGF, etc... ] Try playing the melody on the right hand C row. To harmonize the F note in the melody, you can play a full F chord in the left hand by using the C note in the G row. That is a simple example; I'm sure you will find many more. With a 30-button anglo the possibilities are greater because you get a G on the draw, A on the press, and a low F on the draw in the top row.

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  • 5 weeks later...

A small word of warning ..... some of the really good German tunes were 'appropriated' during WWII and had new words set to them. Luckily for me a friend recognised the tune I was happily playing with gusto was no longer known as 'The Adventurer', a song from the late 1800's, but had had new lyrics to it by Horst Wessell and was used as the Nazi party's song!! I'm told it's still illegal to play the tune in Germany ....... Having slightly older friends with good memories can be a blessing, all 'new to me' German folk tunes/ songs are now run past them and vetted to avoid causing offence.

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  • 2 months later...

Hi, Canary Bird,


Just reading through this thread again, it occurred to me that you can see most things in two dfferent ways.


In this case, my first view is that you can play anything you like (within reason) on whatever instrument you happen to play.


My second view is that if you want to play music from a specific genre, it would be most appropriate to play it on an instrument that belongs to that genre.


I do both.

Which I do, depends on whether I want to showcase my instrument, on one hand, or the authentic music genre, on the other hand. If I'm just playing for my own pleasure, or to entertain others with pleasant music, I tend to stick to the instruments I can play best, occasionally switching from one to the other, whichever is easier or more appropriate for a particular piece.

(With 5-string banjo, concertina and autoharp, I've got pretty well all bases covered. My public music-making is mostly singing, anyway, and the accompanying instrument is not in the limelight.)


The main thing is that the musical material - the melodic and harmonic character - can be made to work on your instrument. The Richter Scale that is used in the Anglo was, of course, invented in Germany, and is the German concertina's contribution to the Anglo-German configuration. So German folk music fits very well on the Anglo.

Just a bit more authentic in look and sound would be a 20-button German concertina with double reeds, such as Sebastian plays, but the Anglo is not far off!


I play and sing German folk songs for the elderly here, but the instrument I use for that is the German Waldzither - a close relative of the English Guittar and the Portuguese Guitarra, but nevertheless uniquely German. On the other hand, I use the Waldzither to accompany Robert Burns songs, because it so closely resembles the English guittar that was played in polite circles in Scotland in the late 18th century.


At any rate, just do it and have fun!




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