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considerations re the idea of a Duet concertina


Wolf Molkentin
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10 hours ago, Anglo-Irishman said:

 

I must say that my Lachenal Crane/Triumph is not at its best in the folky, meditative area. Being a chromatic instrument, it's tuned to equal temperament, which makes richer harmonies rather "edgy" or "uneasy," unless you're careful to avoid certain intervals. ...

 

 

A Crane doesn't have to be tuned to equal temperament. I've got one tuned to fifth comma mean tone and it's wonderful. It does restrict you to the six keys or modes between two flats and three sharps, but I suspect most of us could live with that. Certainly I can. (More on this in another thread, when I can get round to it!)

 

LJ

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20 hours ago, Wolf Molkentin said:

 

Hi John, thank you so much for taking up the discussion of my, possibly all too cryptic, remarks - I hoped that you, among others, would chime in!

 

Maybe I should start with your comparison of four different approaches - from which I seem to prefer the third and fourth - as they're sounding really sweet to my ears ...

 

 

You're welcome, Wolf!

 

Interesting you should prefer the third and fourth versions. As a matter of fact I do myself. Versions 2, 3 and 4 all have exactly the same chord structure. The only difference between 2 and 3 is that version 2 sticks to root position chords whereas version 3 introduces some first inversions to add variety and to produce a more interesting bass line. (Important to me as a bass player and bass singer.) The only difference between 3 and 4 is that version 3 uses vamping ("oom-pah") chords where version 4 uses straight two-note chords (fifths and sixths).

 

I'll let you into a secret. I started on English concertina, and used the version 4 style accompaniment exclusively. (I couldn't master anything more complex.) When I moved to the Crane system I continued with that for many years and only relatively recently taught myself vamping style. I now tend to use vamping for faster tunes (not fast tunes - I don't go there!) and straight 2 or 3 note chords for slower tunes. I also intersperse these with short countermelody phrases which might be parallel sixths, octaves or tenths, but not necessarily. You can find examples of each here.

 

LJ

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7 hours ago, Wolf Molkentin said:

the chords I‘m drawn to as a start are spread, such as 5 - 3 - 1, 3 - 1 - 5, 1 - 5 - 3

So, just to be clear, a C chord played like these would be:

G3 - E4 - C5,  E3 - C4 - G4, C3 - G3 - E4

Is that right?

 

If playing oom-pah then which note is the oom?  The root note or the lowest note?  Or can I pick any note in the chord that gives me a nice bass line?

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3 minutes ago, Don Taylor said:

So, just to be clear, a C chord played like these would be:

G3 - E4 - C5,  E3 - C4 - G4, C3 - G3 - E4

Is that right?

 

Yes, exactly.

 

3 minutes ago, Don Taylor said:

If playing oom-pah then which note is the oom?  The root note or the lowest note?  Or can I pick any note in the chord that gives me a nice bass line?

 

As I'm not that experienced with using oom-pah accompaniment, I'm not sure about this. My guess would be that always the lowest note would have the oom, and eventually there might be a choice between the nice bass line and the nice line on top of the chord to be made. Of course a chord might then be spread even more or condensed in order to optimally serve both lines.

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1 hour ago, Wolf Molkentin said:

 

Yes, exactly.

 

 

As I'm not that experienced with using oom-pah accompaniment, I'm not sure about this. My guess would be that always the lowest note would have the oom, and eventually there might be a choice between the nice bass line and the nice line on top of the chord to be made. Of course a chord might then be spread even more or condensed in order to optimally serve both lines.

"Inverted" oom pah is definitely a thing, especially to facilitate an interesting bass line.  Piano accompaniment uses it a lot.  The only limitation with concertina would be a smaller range to work with to avoid stumbling into the melody.  It seems to sound best to bring oom and pah close to each other before crossing over in either direction or use a short run as a transition.

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On 11/19/2018 at 9:24 AM, Little John said:

I'll let you into a secret. I started on English concertina, and used the version 4 style accompaniment exclusively

 

Sounded very familiar to me indeed - however bass runs or counterpoint can be added with the EC as well. But the Duet appears in fact to be capable of so much more - and I find myself playing well-known tunes in different keys, f.i. shifting the melody up a fourth (from Gmaj to Cmaj) with entire chords on the LHS, including sweet-sounding bass patterns, and smaller harmonies on the RHS. Everything much spread and orchestral so to speak - I just love it (as I continue to love my ECs! and even the TT feels so handy now...).

 

Best wishes - ?

 

P.S.: Of course I had already listened to all of your fine Insta stuff - besides, would videos run longer if logged in? I get often a very sudden termination, right in the middle of the tune, with an instant restart of the same sequence...

 

Edited by Wolf Molkentin
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6 hours ago, Wolf Molkentin said:

 

P.S.: Of course I had already listened to all of your fine Insta stuff - besides, would videos run longer if logged in? I get often a very sudden termination, right in the middle of the tune, with an instant restart of the same sequence...

 

 

Thanks for that, Wolf. Instagram is limited to 60 seconds which, on the whole, I like. You know when you're watching something that you won't have to wait five minutes for a climax that doesn't appear!

 

I think of my videos as illustrations rather than concert pieces. Generally I've tried to tailor them to fit within the time limit, but I've been a bit lazy in a couple of recent ones; hence the abrupt ending. Sorry for that! I'll try to do better in future.

 

LJ

 

PS Of course, if you did log in to Instagram you would be able to leave comments and questions!

 

Edited by Little John
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My reasons for choosing a MacCann duet are as follows:

 

I quite liked the idea of being able to play some kind of accompaniment whilst playing a melody. As I have played English concertina for a long time, my first thought was to look for a Tenor Treble - until I saw the price being asked for a nice one and felt a bit weak about the knees.

 

I then thought about an Anglo (I have played a little bit of one row melodeon in the past, so the push/pull idea didn't scare me). Then I saw the price of good anglos and I had to lie down for a while to recover.

 

I then looked at duets. The Jeffries system looked pretty impenetrable, so I ruled that out. 

 

As an English player, the Crane system was appealing. Theo (of this forum) is a friend and lives near me and he kindly let me have a small Crane on trial for a few days. I found that I could play a scale of C just by having seen the layout on paper. I could also pick out simple melodies pretty easily, more or less straight away. However, the left hand of the small Crane didn't go very low at all, which I didn't like. I made enquires about bigger Cranes and was told by a few people that they are very scarce, which seemed to rule it out as a possibility.

 

A friend then lent me a 67 button MacCann. Although I found the first steps less intuitive than the Crane, I found that I could actually pick out simple tunes relatively quickly. I also found it possible to add something on the left hand once I had learnt a tune thoroughly. Larger MacCanns are relatively easy to find, so I decided to stick with this system.

 

I have very recently received a 69 button MacCann which has been beautifully restored, inside and out, by David Robertson. It cost about half the price being asked for a Tenor Treble so, according to my warped logic, I have some money left over to buy a smaller MacCann in case I ever want a transportable one.

 

I have posted a picture in the "What our concertinas look like" topic and the new MacCann is included.

 

As for my accompaniment "style", my tendency at this very early stage is to work out chords to fit the melody, then play notes from the chords on the left hand. I try to avoid playing octaves below the melody as they tend to blend in too much. My hope is merely to be able to "vamp" with my left hand so that I can build up a bit of a repertoire. If I have to work out a detailed accompaniment to any new melodies,it would be a huge struggle to build up any kind of repertoire.

 

Steve

Edited by Lofty
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Hi Steve, interesting to learn about your - different - motifs. I have in fact bitten the bullet and aquired a Wheatstone TT which is much to my liking, distinct and brilliant but not harsh or shrill (as opposed to my "mean" - this is adapted from fellow EC-player @Geoff Wooff - Model 24, which I just want that way!).

 

Luckily I have been able to buy the beautiful (in any respect) Crane "on top", and - as pointed out - am looking for different styles and options here. However, the Duet seems to be perfectly well suited for playing things like with the TT - and for the faster tunes we have our ETs anyway...

 

Best wishes - ?

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Speaking as a beginner with little or no musical nouse, but who is quite good at 'Monkey see, monkey do', some videos of some basic stuff would be very much appreciated by way of tutorial.  There is a dearth of simple beginner / early intermediate Crane stuff out there to view.  As much as I worship at the feet of GL, I'll be beggered if I can get the hang of what he does with that oomp pah and a little fiddly diddly dee of tune on the right hand.  I don't want to be an impresario player, I just want to back up a bit of singing but there isn't much to learn from.  I can play the tunes I can play on one hand or both in Octaves apart and have the basic chords in my hands, but it doesn't sound 'right when I try to integrate it.  The only tutorial I can find on-line re. the Crane is via a site where  tune is built up on both hands an octave apart, which isn't very inspiring.  Lack of buttons on my part doesn't seem to be too big an issue as watching what is out there not many tunes go out of the mid range by necessity.

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13 hours ago, Don Taylor said:

 

GL being Geoff Lakeman?

 

Have you taken a look at Brian Hayden's All Systems Duet Tutor?

I have Don, I have it and the Sally Ann one printed off and I do my best with them, but, having self-taught the guitar to an 'improving' standard, I know that working from video tutorials accelerates my learning and I think the number of such options out there for other instruments reflects their value, especially to those of us who struggle with reading music.  I can do melody by ear but it's the over-laying ( or under-laying! ) with "other" stuff that remains a bit of a mystery......

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53 minutes ago, Sprunghub said:

but it's the over-laying ( or under-laying! ) with "other" stuff that remains a bit of a mystery.....

 

I'd suggest you try parallel sixths (which pattern would have the same major/minor alteration as parallel thirds "built in") below the melody for a start - you wouldn't need a hint as to which buttons, would you? Otherwise, do you have the curved Crane/Lachenal or the Crabb chevron layout?

 

Best wishes - ?

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12 hours ago, Wolf Molkentin said:

I'd suggest you try parallel sixths (which pattern would have the same major/minor alteration as parallel thirds "built in") below the melody for a start - you wouldn't need a hint as to which buttons, would you?

What I admire about so many forum members is the cerebral way you have of talking about what should "feel right." The down side of these recommendations is that each method is described as if it were THE way to harmonise. Because, for me, all these harmonisation methods form a sort of arsenal from which I can choose the "weapon" for a particular phrase of a particular piece. I can quite conceive of using a drone, parallel octaves, parallel thirds, block chords or oom-pahs at different points in the same arrangement.

 

As I see it, the duet concertinist has basically the same capabilities as the pianist, in that all the notes are available at any time - low notes left, high notes right - and the combinations are limited only by the dexterity of the player. Now, I'm not first and foremost a concertinist, but a singer. And in my singing lessons, I got to know Franz Schubrt pretty well. For me, he's the absolute master of accompaniment. So whenever I have to harmonise a tune, or find an accompaniment for a song on the Crane, I always find myself wondering, "What would Schubert have done on the piano?" And between Erlkönig and Am Brunnen vor dem Tore I find a wealth of lush, sparse, loud, soft, fast, slow, homogeneous and heterogeneous accompaniments. And most of them can be used as models for a Crane accompaniment.

 

Listening is the start of learning, as far as I'm concerned!

 

Cheers,

John   

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26 minutes ago, Anglo-Irishman said:

each method is described as if it were THE way to harmonise

 

John, you wouldn’t mean to adress me here, would you?

 

I just felt like suggesting an easy entry to harmonising a tune to a fellow Cranist who didn‘t seem to be able to solve the „mystery“ of going beyond just octave harmonies...

 

I thereby dare say not more than sixths sound sweet to many ears, and are not that harsh in ET tuning either, so they might get people started (as mentioned in my post).

 

However I second your suggestion re listening - but it can be fine to listen to oneself‘s playing in certain situations too: and thus you‘d have to find something listenable first...

 

Best wishes - ?

 

Edited by Wolf Molkentin
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1 hour ago, Anglo-Irishman said:

I can quite conceive of using a drone, parallel octaves, parallel thirds, block chords or oom-pahs at different points in the same arrangement.

 

 

Indeed! I couldn't agree more. Except you've omitted parallel sixths, parallel tenths, counter-melodies and a few other options. But seriously, I really do agree with the principle you're expressing. Most traditional tunes were written without any thought of accompaniment so each short section needs sensitive, and possibly different, treatment when adding it in order to complement the tune and not fight it.

 

LJ

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On 11/21/2018 at 9:33 AM, Wolf Molkentin said:

 

I'd suggest you try parallel sixths (which pattern would have the same major/minor alteration as parallel thirds "built in") below the melody for a start - you wouldn't need a hint as to which buttons, would you? Otherwise, do you have the curved Crane/Lachenal or the Crabb chevron layout?

 

Best wishes - ?

Wolf ( and everyone else..... ) thanks for the input.  May I ask, are 'parallel sixths' the same as "Successive 6ths" as per terminology in the S.A. Tutor, I am presuming they are ?

 

I have that page from the Tutor written up in my own form of ABC ( which is literally ABC ! ).  I sat for some time trying to work out Tie 'Em Up yesterday afternoon as per the 'sat on a boat at Sidmouth' version and I am getting somewhere, I think.  Having my instrument in the same tuning as what I am hearing through the speaker helps.  I think most of that accompaniment sounds as if it is being played in paired 3rd's and 6th's?  It is, in truth probably done quite simply, but none the worse as a performance for that.... 

I have Shoals of Herring under my fingers as a right hand only and octave apart tune on both hands, without the high note flourishes of some EC versions. 

 

My only actual 'accompaniment', thus far, which soon runs out of steam as I go 'up' the right side, is to build the notes of the G chord on the left as I play the melody on the right and then 'try' to do the same in a few 'accidental' 3rd's, 6th's etc.  That is not the 'accidental' in the musical sense, per se, although some may be, but accidental in the 'by accident' of playing a suitable pair of  notes.  

 

++++

Having just re-read through the posts above and found John's link to his videos...and Parsons Farewell in particular, which is a tune I know from Bellowhead, as a case in point, because I have the tune in my head, pretty much note from note, I have been able to pick it up and play a 'simple' right hand version almost immediately on my small box - even in two keys.  Knowing what the 'left hand' is doing remains a mystery.   

As an example, anyone who is familiar with JustinGuitar's tutorials will know the value of a string by string, fret by fret ( button by button ) input as a teaching aide.  I appreciate that, that is NOT the purposes of John's videos and would probably not be much (any!!) fun for him to try to produce,  but it is a shame no one seems to be.

 

 

Edited by Sprunghub
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59 minutes ago, Sprunghub said:

 

++++

Having just re-read through the posts above and found John's link to his videos...and Parsons Farewell in particular, which is a tune I know from Bellowhead, as a case in point, because I have the tune in my head, pretty much note from note, I have been able to pick it up and play a 'simple' right hand version almost immediately on my small box - even in two keys.  Knowing what the 'left hand' is doing remains a mystery. 

 

 

 

Sprunghub - if it helps, I'm playing Parsons Farewell in G minor. The accompaniment is all open fifths based on G, F, D and Bb; except at the beginning of the B music where I vamp a Bb major chord for two bars (because the melody isn't doing much). Here's the sequence:

 

G  | F  | G  |  D  |  (repeat)

Bbmaj  | Bbmaj  | Bb  | F  | F  | G  | G  D  | G  (repeat) [The penultimate bar has two chords - it's not a mistype!]

 

In actual fact, open fifths is a good place to start with left hand accompaniment.

 

Good luck!

 

LJ

 

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