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David Colpitts

Getting “off the rows” on a G/D Anglo

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Hello, All. 

 

I am some 6 years in to my Anglo journey, and play G/D along the rows exclusively, despite all the thoughtful suggestions (warnings?) early on about how limiting that choice would be, particularly for Irish music.  Now, while I am very pleased with my progress on the instrument, and quite comfortable with my choice (rather than going with G/C in traditional way) I recently re-discovered the (to me) mad genius of Tim Edey playing amazing music on a D/G melodeon.  This led to a link offering his teaching DVD, wherein he shows how to do lots of interesting stuff on a thus-tuned box.

 

So.....Does anyone (probably who plays both accordions and concertinas) have any idea if that kind of instruction might have “cross-platform” applicability for the Anglo?  I am beginning to think I might just do some cross-row as a modest expansion, but can in no way imagine starting completely over in G/C to do it the “right” way, exclusively.  I am at-to-near-session speed on some polkas and hornpipes in D and G, and of course can also play simple (automatic, almost) harmonies when I play other genres, so I am (as my Italian friend says) “just a keepa go” on the G/D, but curious.

 

Thanks for any input, and regards,

 

David

 

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Hi David, with the melodeon crossing the rows sticks to the home keys to a large extent I seem to recall, so it might depend whether you'd want to explore new keys (I wouldn't expect so many things in common among the instruments here) or to play in the home keys more fluently and versatile (where I've indeed been able to benefit from my melodeon skills when taking up the Anglo).

 

Best wishes - 🐺

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Thanks, Wolf.  I suspect you’re correct, and I guess I would settle for more fluency to add to my “along the rows,” but adding keys (A and?) on my D/G would be a boon.  And, perhaps ornamentation help, too.  Really, I wonder how Tim does what he does, I guess, and if anybody “stuck” to G/D can play Anglo like he plays accordion.  I know it’s apples and oranges, but....

 

Regards,

 

David

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Simple answer would be no David as the pitch of the GD rows on your concertina are reversed on the DG melodeon. You can however adopt any or all of the available teaching materials for the CG Anglo re irish music to your GD with the acceptance of the obvious key differences. Good luck All the Best mory

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Thank you, Mory.  I suspected as much, but didn’t really know it, nor want to believe it.  But, the option you suggest is enough to move me off square one, I think.  I bet if the available instructions talk about “playing the key of A on the GC, then I can learn it and I’ll be actually playing in the Key of X on my G/D.  That it?  I’ll give it a try.

 

Thanks again, and regards,

 

David

Edited by David Colpitts
Automatic typo. Sorry

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I know a few people that play both Melodeon and Anglo, and they all say the same thing- one would think that there would be cross row common ground, but there really isn't.  I found that myself in my brief stab at playing melodeon.  However, adapting the cross row style from C/G instructional material can be very useful.  The C/G fingering for key of D major gives you A major on a G/D- useful & easy!  Other than that, I would suggest looking at a button-note diagram for your instrument, and noting where the duplicates and reversals are, as well as the notes that you only have in one place and in one direction.  Then when you are learning a tune, try out different patterns to see which is easiest/suits the tune, etc.  For instance, you have the middle D & E in 3 places, and both directions under your left hand, and a push and pull G on the right and left ends.  I use those duplicates all the time to smooth out and maintain tempo when playing fast jigs and reels.  And I often use the pull D in the 3rd row on the right end instead of the push versions in the middle and inside rows to help get my fingers around a phrase more fluidly.

Edited by Bill N
typos

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Thanks, Bill.  That about says what I will try:  I’ll learn to play “A” on my G/D, as if I were playing “D” on my C/G.  Come to think of it, then I’d be able to play “D” on my C/G, like everybody else! If I can get fluent in the one more key, then I may not need to go get an accordion in ADG so I can play all three at the Irish, Quebecois and Old-Time sessions I frequent.  So far “A” has made me reach for the harmonica with that stamped into the comb!  As a true non-sophisticate, I don’t even know the names of the buttons, but just find the tune when I know what key it’s in.  More work I better try to do....

 

And, Graham, thanks.  Nice playing (and a great instrument)   What key?  Thanks for the offer of a slower version, but my task now is clear to me:  Mary Had a Little Lamb, etc., in A until I can reliably “sing A with my fingers” in that key.

 

What a great resource this site is.  I appreciate the thoughtful responses very much.

 

Regards,

 

David

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Wakker G/D. For me I try to play as much of the tune with my right hand. Main keys G D, A and E minors, B minor, A C,  G and D minor, F in order of ease and use. 

 

I feel Irish style C/G requires a strong left hand, so I wouldn't use C/G ''D'' fingering, it would end up an octave lower than I would like to be. A good tune to start with is Atholl Highlanders. It is all on the D row, no g#, but gives you the feeling of being in A ( 2nd position?) 4th part you only need fingers 1 and 2 on right hand:

B g row| c#ac#c#ac# (all pull d row and g row}|dbddbd (all push)| c#ac#c#ac#| bgbbgb ( all push g row)|c#ac#c#ac#|dbddbd|eeef#ed ( all d row)|c# ba|

.  Blackthorn Stick in A is another good starter tune.  

 

Graham

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Thanks again.  I have my work cut out for me.  Thankfully, it’s fun, and I am retired, so have time.

 

Regards,

 

David

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I don't play Irish style, although I play a few Irish tunes.  I used to play melodeon and gave up soon after I took up Anglo.

 

The melodeon and Anglo have important differences as well as superficial similarities.

 

You can think of a single row of an Anglo, across both hands, as a single row of a melodeon, cut in half and shared between the two hands.

 

If you play most of your melody on the right hand on an Anglo, you are in effect playing in what would be the higher octave on a melodeon.  The pull note is lower than the push note on each button.  Most melodeonists play most of the time on the lower octave where the pull note is higher than the push note.

 

The other big difference is that the two rows of a DG melodeon are a 4th apart (D is lower than G) whereas a GD Anglo is a 5th apart (D is higher than G).

 

These differences, combined, make the melodeon fee; "inside out" for an Anglo player.

 

Yes, of course, it is possible to play both, and English and duet too, if you are so minded, but you need to remember that the apparent similarities between melodeon and Anglo can be misleading.

 

Or, to put it another way, I would not try to learn Anglo using a melodeon-based resource.

 

The other big difference, as others have pointed out above, is that most (but not all) melodeon players play a DG melodeon mainly in G and D and the related minors/modes.  Irish style Anglo players (by which I mean mainly single note melodies emulating a fiddle) tend to use the 3rd row a lot so that they can explore further round the circle of 5ths.

 

Because of the limited bass/chord options, especially for minor chords, melodeonists are sometimes forced into one particular key by their instrument.  This may not be the ideal key to play the same tune on an Anglo.

 

I started playing Anglo with a definite plan to learn "across the rows" and I'm glad I did.  However, I have concentrated almost exclusively on the harmonic style and therefore tend to stay in the two home keys of the instrument (and the related minors/modes).  What I do know is that moving away from "along the row" will expand your horizons, whichever style(s) you play.

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I'm not sure if this applies to the anglo but with the Jeff duet (same or similar fan shaped button pattern) a lucrative scale is created on the top row as an artifact of "centering" the instrument in C.  By shifting one's brain and hand position upward, selecting a tonic from the top row and reaching down for other notes as needed, the fingerings for playing in G#,C#,Eb and F# come readily to hand.  This probably won't be of help in session playing but makes things a lot more interesting.  I don't know but I suspect this may also be true for anglo, at least to some extent.

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7 hours ago, lukmanohnz said:

Noel Hill's

Thanks, lumanohnz.  Feels like coming full circle;  this is exactly what I’ve been resisting in my hardheaded way (or, maybe just so stuck in my “harmonica along the rows” mindset) for years.  I am going to try “baby steps” as in this discussion, before I brave the “deep end.”

 

4 hours ago, Mikefule said:

 

Or, to put it another way, I would not try to learn Anglo using a melodeon-based resource.

Thank, Mikefule.  That seems to sum up the answer to my original question!

 

And, thanks, too, Wunks.  Something to add to the mix.

 

Regards to all, 

 

David

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8 hours ago, David Colpitts said:

Thanks, lumanohnz.  Feels like coming full circle;  this is exactly what I’ve been resisting in my hardheaded way (or, maybe just so stuck in my “harmonica along the rows” mindset) for years.  I am going to try “baby steps” as in this discussion, before I brave the “deep end.”

David

I started on harmonica too.  Strangely, I can still translate between harmonica and concertina, possibly because I play more harmonica tunes in the top octave.

 

A couple of simple exercises in crossing the rows on a GD.  Try these on the right hand:

 

1) Play G A B C on the G row, then repeat the exact same fingering and bellows pattern on the D row and you will get the rest of the scale, D E F# G..

That gives you a scale that is push pull push pull all the way up.

 

2) Now, a slight variant: play G A B C D on the D row, then E F# G on the D row.

That gives you a scale that is push pull all the way up.

 

3) Now try both of those, but finishing on the usual push G on the G row at the top of the scale.

 

4)  Now try going up the G scale with both of these options (3), and back down in the "normal way" along the G row.

 

5)  Now try (1) and (2) above, but then go back down the scale starting with that pull G on the G row, then going to the pull F# on the G row, and continuing down the G row along the row.

 

With slight adaptation, all of these exercises can be transferred to the left hand.  The bellow directions will be the same, but of course the pull notes will be offset one button to the right, and some of the variants will cross tot he right hand for one or two notes.

 

These are some of the most common approaches to crossing the rows playing in G major on a GD box.

 

Now, starting on the D row, do a normal scale up and down on the right hand along the row.  When you've got back down to the D, continue:

pull C# on the same button, then

B A G F# on the G row right hand, then

E pull on the left hand on the G row, then

D PULL on the left hand, 4th button on the accidental row.

 

Then work back up the same scale starting on the D pull 4th button accidental row.

 

This should get you started with the idea of crossing the rows in the 2 main major keys.  You can build on this as you develop your confidence.

 

When you're confident with the above, the first "accidentals" to find and incorporate are the D and E which are on the accidental rows and in the opposite direction to the equivalent notes on the standard rows.

 

 

 

 

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Another one I forgot to include although it is one of my favourite short cuts.  Playing G major, use all the notes on the G row EXCEPT the F# which is available as a push on button 2 on the D row.

 

A nice way back down is G on the G row, F# on the D row, then E push on the accidental row, then D back onto the G row.  That's the top 4 notes of the scale all as push notes.

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Thanks, Mikefule!  What a great bunch of new to do.  I will try in the morning, as soon as herself is off to work.

 

Regards, 

 

David

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