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starting anglo concertina

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im starting 30 button anglo concertina and i dont know where to start.

I haven't bought any books or anything like that. as well as this I get

that this instrument is bisonoric. that being said how do I know

what will work on concertina? is there some sort of rule I an use

to go "ha this will work" on concertina?

 

although I bought it for irish reels i'd like to understand what else

I can do in terms of things with chords eg. oh susanna.

 

thanks!

 

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Posted (edited)

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The Anglo Concertina Demystified by Bertram Levy

Edited by David Barnert

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Hi, If you're mostly interested in playing Irish music on your new Anglo, I'd highly recommend joining the Online Academy of Irish Music and taking the concertina classes. There are several courses taught be 4 different concertina teachers. https://www.oaim.ie/

Have fun!

Susan

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Hi,
As a beginner I can recommend the Gary Coover books. I find them very clear and of progressive difficulty.
 

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Posted (edited)

If you're just doing melody lines, most anything will work on anglo - it's got a pretty wide range. I've yet to encounter a fiddle tune that wouldn't be possible on the concertina, even if I have to get a bit creative with the fingering sometimes.

 

Now chords of course will make things trickier, as you're limited in what notes you can actually play simultaneously - no matter how hard you try, you won't be able to play a C# at the same time as an F. But if you're willing to be creative, you can still manage quite a lot. Maybe you can't play a particular minor chord, but you can play it as an open chord, and that might be good enough. Or maybe you drop the chord briefly while you reverse the bellows to get the note you need for the melody. Or maybe you can get really creative, and throw in a new chord that wasn't there in the original score, but still sounds good. Or if all else fails, transpose the whole piece to a new key, and the chords might become easier.

Edited by Mjolnir

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18 hours ago, Mjolnir said:

If you're just doing melody lines, most anything will work on anglo - it's got a pretty wide range. I've yet to encounter a fiddle tune that wouldn't be possible on the concertina, even if I have to get a bit creative with the fingering sometimes.

 

Now chords of course will make things trickier, as you're limited in what notes you can actually play simultaneously - no matter how hard you try, you won't be able to play a C# at the same time as an F. But if you're willing to be creative, you can still manage quite a lot. Maybe you can't play a particular minor chord, but you can play it as an open chord, and that might be good enough. Or maybe you drop the chord briefly while you reverse the bellows to get the note you need for the melody. Or maybe you can get really creative, and throw in a new chord that wasn't there in the original score, but still sounds good. Or if all else fails, transpose the whole piece to a new key, and the chords might become easier.

well here's the thing some of the songs I'd like to play on anglo are songs like katyusha in dminor and other stuff and so I look into it and immediately start having trouble with it. the melody as you said is easy to figure out but trying to figure out accompaniment is really confusing.

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If you are both new to the Anglo and reading music...as I was and you want to play Irish music, as I did, I would recommend The Concertina Diaries by Heather Greer. It will give you session tunes to play right off, give you the buttons push/draw, the name of the note and show it on the stave lines so you can learn as much as you want. It also comes with a slowed down demo disc of all the tunes in the book, some 47 or so. 

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Agree with the Online Academy of Irish Music, I found great tunes that keeps me going ! You get online video + downloadable pdf music sheet (no tab) and mp3.

Concertina demystified is great too but not many tunes and get hard pretty quickly. But it gives information on chord/scale, also playing melody on right hand and accompaniment on left hand.

 

Nicolas

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I would also recommend starting with The Concertina Diaries great book starts easy and plenty of tunes to get you started.

Ron 

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I'd agree with Terence - Gary Coover's books are great as is Betram Levy's tutor.  The Irish tutor's are good even if in the long run Irish style playing is not for you as it teaches you where the notes are all over the instrument especially if you're playing across the rows.

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I have to disagree: The Levy and Coover books are not really set up for playing in the "Irish" style but more toward the "English" I am not familiar with the "Concertina Diaries" but did look over the free pages and disagree with some of the fingering choices but those choices can be a very personable thing.  .  The Online Academy of music is a good start and if you could attend a Noel Hill class or workshop that would get you going in the right direction.

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True those two aren’t for Irish style. But is Katyusha in D minor an Irish tune? I think it’s russian. 

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On 9/16/2018 at 6:43 PM, Doug Barr said:

I have to disagree: The Levy and Coover books are not really set up for playing in the "Irish" style but more toward the "English" ...

 

At least this one is dedicated to Irish music. Or do you mean his choice of fingering is not convenient for "Irish style" ? (there is no irony in my question, as I'm a beginner)

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1 hour ago, Terence said:

 

At least this one is dedicated to Irish music. Or do you mean his choice of fingering is not convenient for "Irish style" ? (there is no irony in my question, as I'm a beginner)

 

The terms "Irish style" and "English style" are convenient short hand, but can be misleading.

 

Irish style tends to be mainly a single note melody with occasional harmonies, and played across the rows for smoothness and speed.  On a CG, the musician may play in D or A using the accidental row.  Some teachers insist on particular ways of fingering the scale.  Think of the concertina as to some extent mimicking the fiddle: fast, smooth and lilting.

 

A more accurate term for "English style" would be "harmonic style".  The melody is mainly on the right hand and the left hand is mainly providing an accompaniment of chords and bass notes.  The melody crosses the rows in many different patterns depending on which chord sequences are needed (push or pull).

 

Actual traditional English style from before the revival used a lot of octaves and thirds and the harmonies were less conventional to the modern ear.

 

The above contains many simplifications for brevity.  I'm trusting people not to use twice as many words to correct those simplifications.

 

You can take an Irish tune and play it in the English style and get an excellent result.  You can take an English tune and play it in the Irish style and get an excellent result.

 

The design of the Anglo keyboard makes certain patterns of chords readily available.  That does not mean that you need to play those chords as chords.  Many tunes incorporate a lot of arpeggios.  That means that two or more consecutive notes of the tune will be the notes of the same chord.  A slight difference is where two or more consecutive "on beats" are notes of the same chord, although there are passing notes on the "off beats".   If you can learn to spot these, they will guide you to finding the smoothest fingering for any particular tune.

 

The Anglo is an incredibly versatile instrument despite its obvious limitations. Certain keys and scales are much easier than others.  Most players stick to the keys that suit the instrument best.  Some enjoy the challenge of finding tunes in the keys that are further round the cycle of fifths.  The more buttons you have, the easier this becomes.

 

Personally, I am not a big fan of learning someone else's arrangements from a book.  Tunes are readily available free online.  Try thesession.org where you will find the dots and can press a button to hear a tune "played".  The more tunes you learn, the quicker it will be to learn the next one.  The more you experiment, the more ways you will find to play each tune.   A change of fingering may suggest new ways of harmonising it, or may simply make it smoother and faster.

  • Thanks 2

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