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how do i make a song playable on concertina?

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hey guys :) there are some songs which i'd love to play on concertina and I just cannot figure it out and always end up reverting back to what has been already played and trying to figure it out by ear. I own a 40 button stagi…. (unfortunately lol. oh well better than nothing) and so I have some reversals as well. but i'm really not sure how to go about it. at the moment I want to learn haul away joe and have tried transposing it (sry im not sure which key I tried it in as I think iv'e only just understood what the key of the song means) but cannot figure out the best way to play it with an oompah rhythm on the left. iv'e also tried playing other songs but have the same problem. i'd love it one of you guys can help me with this one song and also how to try and play these songs. thanks also my concertina is a cg

 

I have started saving up for a duet about a month ago so hopefully I wont have this sort of problem for much longer but for the time being i'd appreciate your help :) 

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You have a CG Anglo so you can use Gary Coover's books. 

 

He does Haul Away for Rosie-O in the Pirate book and I think that is (almost?) the same tune as Haul Away Joe.

 

 

 

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Are you singing these songs (hopefully)?  If so, find the key that is comfortable for your voice.  For accompaniment,  a simplified melody and a rolling drone bass line would compete less with the vocals and you could then hoist 'er up and "haul away" between verses.  This is (was) a work song.  An oom-pah in 6/8 time would've sent these poor souls to Davy Jones in short order!   😲

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1 hour ago, John, Wexford said:

Have you considered an introductory course in music theory.

well when I say I think I understand what a key is I think a key is what the melody line is made up of eg. if it only uses c d e f g a b then it's c major and as for the chords they don't matter too much.

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»how do i make a song playable on concertina?«

40 buttons are far to many to get a good understanding of the concertina. You should consider a 20 button concertina.

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2 hours ago, John, Wexford said:

Have you considered an introductory course in music theory.

 

Tons of information in this regard on the internet too...

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Oom pah is only one way of accompanying a tune, and may not be suitable for accompanying a song.

 

If the song only uses the notes C D E F G A B C, and comes home to land on C, you're playing in C major.

 

The main chords you will need, in this order of importance, are:

C Major: the notes C E G available on the push on the C row.

G major: the notes G B D available push on the G row or pull on the bottom 3 notes of the C row.  (add the fourth button pull to get G7)

F major: the notes F A C, available on the pull, with notes from both rows.

 

In addition, you can add flavour using E minor (E B D) and D minor (D F A)

 

The notes of the tune that are one the beat will usually be the ones t choose the chords for.  The chord will include that note.

 

Experiment with handfuls of notes, rather than oom pah.  See what sounds right.  Sing with chords under your voice.

 

It will take time, effort, and practice.

 

Use YouTube and Wikipedia to find out about the basics of music theory.  It's all there for free.

 

The mroe tunes you can find by ear, the quicker you will be able to "guess" (work out, intuit) the right chords.

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15 hours ago, Mikefule said:

In addition, you can add flavour using E minor (E B D) and D minor (D F A)

 

I would certainly add A minor (A-C-E)

 

[and occasionally choosing D major (D-F#-A) instead of D minor (as a so-called secondary dominant, in a basic type of modulation)]

 

You can just try out anything...

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This tune I'd play in A minor because it's easiest on main rows of C/G and has most options for chording. Also you can play in the middle octave across both hands, or the upper octave to leave the left free for accompaniment. I wouldn't do an oompah bass, that doesn't fit it to my ears either. Maybe some drones and occasional chords for punch.

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19 hours ago, accordian said:

well when I say I think I understand what a key is I think a key is what the melody line is made up of eg. if it only uses c d e f g a b then it's c major and as for the chords they don't matter too much.

Hi, @accordian,

I think perhaps a bit of theory might help you after all! But I would steer clear of classical, chromatic, academic theory and familiarise myself with the simple, diatonic, eminently practical theory that folkies use.

You'll notice that, when it comes to accompanying folk songs, the chords do matter a lot! And you'll notice that a melody that uses only the notes cdefgab just might be C major, but it might also be A minor or D dorian mode, or perhaps G mixolydian mode. Which of those it is, depends on which note  - C, A, D or G - the melody "comes home" to, and depending on that, the chords you need will be different. The chord chart that @John, Wexford linked to is useful, and you'll soon find out which chords you need for which "home note" and which mode.

For a start, you can use the guitar chords that are printed over the stave in most modern song-books, and each tune you learn will make the next one easier, because you'll develop a feeling for when the chord changes come - and there's only a limited choice of appropriate chords for each key and/or mode.

 

Have fun!

Cheers,

John.

 

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