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Posted (edited)

I've always considered Stephen Foster's "Oh Susanna" to be a great introductory tune for learning the Anglo since it can be played on only three buttons.

However, while working up some tunes for a new book (to be announced shortly) I've run across a tune that can be played on only two buttons on the Anglo.

Yes, that's right, only TWO buttons! It's "Poor Old Horse" (see attached). Sorry for all you EC and duet players out there, but you'll need twice as many buttons to play this!

Which of course has me wondering, are there any other two-button wonders out there?

 

Gary

 

PoorOldHorse.pdf

Edited by gcoover
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A soul, a soul, a soul cake,
Please, good missus, a soul cake,
An apple, a pear, a plum or a cherry,
Any good thing to make us merry.
One for Peter, two for Paul,
Three for Him that made us all.

(As sung by the Watersons)

It's just the first three notes of the minor scale.

Six years ago I handed John Roberts a toy concertina with zero buttons, rubber bellows, and one diatonic reed on each side, just to see what he'd do with it. This was at the intermission of a Nowell Sing We Clear performance, in the theatre lobby. And he immediately launched into the souling song, and it was perfect.

 

532577_596445965382_2029340282_n.jpg

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Posted (edited)

two quick remarks

1. too bad for Gary that the advantage of the Anglo over the English or Duet is shrinking to a poor 2:3 ratio here 😎

2. very interesting (albeit possibly regular?) to hear this simple song sung in this chromatically altered Lydian harmony* can‘t get it outta my head 🤪

thanks for posting!

Lydian through the minor above the major third, but with the raised second in the alto

or

* just major with an immediate shift to a diminished chord on the root note, thus indicating a far-fetched (the 8th, actually) dominant with no resolution then - like occurring in some Italian song I use to play, but just back and forth here - phew, I guess soon I‘l be ready to sleep on... 😴 

**********

final (?) remark for now: folk music doesn’t always come that simple...

back again to add: a harmony so well-suited for the English system, Gary 😁

 

Edited by Wolf Molkentin
oversimplification replaced with full analysis 😇

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Posted (edited)
9 hours ago, Wolf Molkentin said:

t. too bad for Gary that the advantage of the Anglo over the English or Duet is shrinking to a poor 2:3 ratio here 😎

2. very interesting (albeit possibly regular?) to hear this simple song sung in this chromatically altered Lydian harmony* can‘t get it outta my head 🤪

thanks for posting!

Lydian through the minor above the major third, but with the raised second in the alto

or

* just major with an immediate shift to a diminished chord on the root note, thus indicating a far-fetched (the 8th, actually) dominant with no resolution then - like occurring in some Italian song I use to play, but just back and forth here - phew, I guess soon I‘l be ready to sleep on... 😴 

**********

final (?) remark for now: folk music doesn’t always come that simple...

 

Folk music is rarely as simple as many people think it is! I simplified my explanation of the "three melodic notes" to "scale tones 1,2,3 of a minor scale" just to quickly describe the melody but you're right, technically it's NOT that, and whatever it is, the "complicated whatever" is what makes the Watersons' recording so good. I want to sit down with this at some point and figure out what the Watersons are actually doing sometime. The simpler the tune, the more varied the ways you can mess around with harmonies... 

Another three-note tune (maybe song? are there lyrics?) that's similar (at least thematically in title) is "Hot Cross Buns", which might be Suzuki book 1 tune 1 or 2, one of those things kids learn at age three and then never play again.... Christian religious baked goods seem to get celebrated with three-note melodies for whatever reason!!! (Anyone know a three-note song about communion wafers?)

For a Christian religious baked goods song with many more notes in the melody, seek out Rosie Hood's recording of "Baker's Oven" (the only recording I or Mainly Norfolk know of this song; lyrics here though to hear it I think you'll have to buy the album or song, or better still hear Rosie live sometime - all worthwhile experiences, especially if you catch her current dual-bill tour with Cohen Braithwaite-Kilcoyne, to work some concertina content into this post).

 

Edited by wayman
*typo fixed

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1 hour ago, wayman said:

 

Folk music is rarely as simple as many people think it is! I simplified my explanation of the "three melodic notes" to "scale tones 1,2,3 of a minor scale" just to quickly describe the melody but you're right, technically it's NOT that, and whatever it is, the "complicated whatever" is what makes the Watersons' recording so good. I want to sit down with this at some point and figure out what the Watersons are actually doing sometime. The simpler the tune, the more varied the ways you can mess around with harmonies... 

Another three-note tune (maybe song? are there lyrics?) that's similar (at least thematically in title) is "Hot Cross Buns", which might be Suzuki book 1 tune 1 or 2, one of those things kids learn at age three and then never play again.... Christian religious baked goods seem to get celebrated with three-note melodies for whatever reason!!! (Anyone know a three-note song about communion wafers?)

For a Christian relgious baked goods song with many more notes in the melody, seek out Rosie Hood's recording of "Baker's Oven" (the only recording I or Mainly Norfolk know of this song; lyrics here though to hear it I think you'll have to buy the album or song, or better still hear Rosie live sometime - all worthwhile experiences, especially if you catch her current dual-bill tour with Cohen Braithwaite-Kilcoyne, to work some concertina content into this post).

The Watersons - yes, it's incredible what they've been able to do, espescially in the very early recordings. Guess I'll take this little song as a hint to go back to them and explore their approach a little further.

Best wishes - Wolf

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Posted (edited)

Some years ago, Brian Hayden compiled a set of tunes for beginners on the duet concertina. It starts with a one-note melody, then 2-note melody, increasing by one note with each tune. The left hand accompaniment is also simple. I hope Brian will not mind me sharing this here.

scan0001.pdf

Edited by John Wild
typing corrections
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No of course not John.

The idea of these tunes was to encourage Duet players to get their fingers on both sides of the instrument right from the beginning; rather than running away with the right hand, and then trying to add the left hand several months down the line.

Inventor.    

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