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mathhag

Practice and repertoire

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I am looking into Maine Fiddler Camp  now. Thanks for reminding me about it

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I’m in the same place you are.   About 2 years in.  I’ve been to Noel Hill’s school twice, and have taken a few lessons in person from Bruce McCaskey. I can play about 30 tunes with most memorized partially or totally.   I’m told I’m in about average for my time on the Anglo.  I’m also told that I need to learn tunes by ear and on the fly.  This from the local tune learning guru.  I will admit I have only half heartedly tried this without success.  I do think that this is the way to go and need to apply myself to it and would recommend you do the same no matter how intimidating it may seem.  That’s my $.02; of course I’m a no talent hack.

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I have always felt that the dots are there for when you're learning, and for when you need reminding, but the best playing is when you know the tune well enough to play "by heart".

 

It is not a test or a competition.  Whether your repertoire is 10 tunes or 100 tunes, and whether they are short and simple or long and complex, the only thing that matters is if you get joy from playing them.

 

I play a small part of my repertoire as near as possible every day.  I have played some of those tunes almost daily for many years.  Other parts of my practice repertoire change, either with a new tune, or one that I had forgotten suddenly surfacing in my memory.

 

My typical session is made up of happy thrash through some tunes I know well, followed by a couple of tunes I can play but which need polishing, followed by a few minutes on something I'm learning, then a happy thrash through some tunes I know well.  I occasionally include some scales (parallel octave work) and chord progressions.  Another palate cleanser is to translate tunes from G to D or vice versa.  I mainly play on my Dipper GD.

 

I gave up counting my repertoire a few years ago.  It is not wide by many peoples' standards but I would guess that I could play 30 to 50 tunes in a row from memory, and  find a few more with a bit of effort.

 

Each individual tune represents time spent to learn it, but the real learning comes when I can play the tune on autopilot.  Then I start to find new fingerings and new accompaniments.  No rendition is ever perfect, but I play tunes I have known for 10 years far differently from how I played them 5 years ago.

 

My personal preference is a fairly small repertoire played well, rather than a wide repertoire played in a generic style.  Each tune develops one or more arrangements as the more I play it, the more I really hear it.

 

Do not measure yourself against other players, and certainly do not see number of tunes or speed of playing as the sign of being a good player.   The one and only valid reason to play is for the joy it gives you.

 

My own repertoire is mainly Morris tunes and a few "session standards" but with occasional oddities.  I'm learning some Hank Williams tunes at the moment.  It's surprising how they require a different approach to the instrument.

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On 1/15/2020 at 12:43 PM, mathhag said:

 

Should I be adding tunes, which I love to do or working on getting the tunes I have better?

 

My rule of thumb: there is no rule of thumb. People have different ways of learning, different goals in playing music.  Finding your own way is a critical step.


For me, what works is doing both.  I maintain a weekly music to-do list that always includes learning, or at least trying, one or two new tunes; working to perfect some that I have tried and liked in the recent past; and finally, focused practice on tunes for the various bands I'm in.  I often find myself tilting toward the new tune side of things because I find it more fun than the hard work of actually practicing, but can usually strongarm myself back to the program.

 

And I maintain a spreadsheet of tunes I've worked on over the past 20 years, and often pick a point on the spreadsheet and try to play the tunes I've probably already forgotten.  The current spreadsheet is more than 800 tunes long, but I probably could't start more than 10 percent of them at a session without a crutch like notation.  But every week, I'll spend a half hour or hour just going down these old lists and playing.

 

I also look at tunes that I have a hard time distinguishing from other  tunes with similar qualities.  This week, I printed out notation for 3 Stephane Delicq I've been working on; they have a very similar feel, and I have a hard time keeping them straight, so I'll play all three back to back. hoping to burn them into my aging brain.

 

The other thing I do that seems to help: playing the same tune in different keys.  As Anglo players, we tend to get locked into patterns that emphasize muscle memory over memory of the actual melody.  For me, taking a tune I'm learning and doing it in multiple keys really helps me remember.

 

But it's all personal; everybody learns and remembers in their own unique way. I've been playing for many years and am stiil working on refining what works for me (and, of course working to overcome laziness)

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On 1/15/2020 at 12:43 PM, mathhag said:

 

Should I be adding tunes, which I love to do or working on getting the tunes I have better?

 

Hmmm.. how did my post get duplicated? Deleted.

Edited by Jim Besser

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If Jim is a lazy concertina player, there's no hope for me!

 

PS I removed your several more duplicate posts, where I presume were accidental!

 

Ken

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15 minutes ago, Ken_Coles said:

If Jim is a lazy concertina player, there's no hope for me!

 

PS I removed your several more duplicate posts, where I presume were accidental!

 

Ken


Ha.

 

The accidental posts were weird. When I hit "submit reply," I got a message about flow control and telling me to "wait 23 seconds and submit again."

 

I did so several times, always getting the same message (and not being returned to the page).  I gave up - and when I backed out, I saw my message had been posted several times.  23 seconds? What's that about?

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8 hours ago, Jim Besser said:


Ha.

 

The accidental posts were weird. When I hit "submit reply," I got a message about flow control and telling me to "wait 23 seconds and submit again."

 

I did so several times, always getting the same message (and not being returned to the page).  I gave up - and when I backed out, I saw my message had been posted several times.  23 seconds? What's that about?

Most forums have some sort of timer mechanism to stop spammers (or bots) making large numbers of consecutive posts.  Probably what happened is you accidentally pressed the send button twice in the first place and triggered this then got into some sort of a loop where you misunderstood what was on the screen and pressed send again, triggering the 23 seconds message again.  I had it happen to me once in a different forum.  Lucky you escaped — or you could still be there, slowly starving to death at your keyboard, clicking away every 22 seconds...

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I suggest changing up your practice occasionally.

 

1) Play through several of the tunes you already know, as a warmup.  This also serves as a refresher, so they will be more or less ready when you want them.

As for how many tunes: Play through just a few of your standards in any one day, but change them out from time to time so the ones you care for stay fresh.   As for how many tunes overall to maintain:  You mention 30 tunes you can "kind of" play with ABC notation, and 10 you can play by heart.  That is great.  I probably have only 10 I can play by heart at any one time, although there are a few more that I've learned and lost track of.  I suppose some I've just forgotten about, but might be able to play, or at least work back up to playing, if reminded they even exist.!  There are probably more than 30 I would be comfortable playing at speed while looking at notation, but in part that is because playing while reading music notation at speed is a skill I've worked on.  (see item 3)  Also I've been at it longer, although not practicing as diligently as you have of late.

 

2) Pick a tune (or two) and go deep.  A few different ways:

  2a) learn a tune by ear, as others have suggested.

  2b) if you learned the tune from some form of written notation, learn to play it without that, working on a phrase at a time.

  2c) try different fingerings, harmonies, variations.  Possibly different keys.

  2d) develop a "performance version" to perfect.  For example, three times through with preferred variations, fingering, and harmony for each repeat.

 Note that this is NOT an ordered list, just several different ways to exploring a tune.  There will be a lot of recursion - 2d) isn't really possible until you've spent some time on 2a,b,c but even then going back and trying new variations later is worthwhile.

 

and one I haven't seen mentioned above:

3) Occasionally go for a romp through a tune book, or some printouts of tunes, and sight read through a whole mess of new tunes!

 

A sight-reading romp offers pleasure and change of pace.  It can't be the only thing you do, and might not be something to do often, but it also has several benefits in addition to being fun.  This obviously stretches your ability to read music notation, but at the same time it also develops your ability to find notes on the instrument upon demand, rather than repeating a well worn routine.  Paradoxically, this second part of the skill can later help you to learn (other) tunes by ear, on the fly.

 

Another fairly obvious benefit to sight reading is getting to hear new tunes for which you might have only the notation available, but have seldom or never yet heard played or have no recordings for.  I find tunes on the internet and am curious about them, so I'll print them out, perhaps with a few variations if available, to try later when I have the opportunity.  Occasionally I find one of the new tunes really appeals, and is worth coming back to for a deep dive to really learn it.

 

I do see you mention playing from ABC notation, so perhaps sight reading from standard notation may be difficult at first, but it definitely gets easier if you persist.  I think ABC is a useful tool for transmitting and editing notation as a text file, but I find it really awful for reading at speed.   I strongly prefer to translate ABC back to standard notation before using it!  But then I have the advantage that I already was reading music from my experiences with piano lessons, then playing horn in school band/orchestra, and dabbling with other instruments in the decades since then, before coming to the concertina.  On the other hand, perhaps you are comfortable with sight reading from ABC notation at speed?  If so, then you have a skill I don't possess.  I do think it is valuable learning to read standard music notation well, but my point on sight reading is to encourage you to occasionally try lots of new tunes, not discourage!

 

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Hi Tradewinds Ted, 

I was really pleased when I read your suggestions. Most of them are how I am proceeding. Right now I have an alternating day process. I have two songs that I am working on by ear and I spend most of my time on them . Usually I have one other that I am just starting and spend just a little time on it. On the alternate days I play through most everything else either with notation or without if I know them well enough. Sometimes I take a day to try something new like you suggest with some tunes I know well, different fingerings or check out how I am holding and playing. I also look at other tune resources I try some things out. 
so that is what I am doing right now and it is enjoyable and I feel like I got out of the rut I was in just playing the same tunes over and over.

Thanks for your thoughtful comments,

Susan

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Hi Jim, 

I have also decided doing both works for me.

I also just started a spreadsheet for my tunes this week . Right now I have four columns : Tunes I can play by heart, Tunes that I can almost play by heart, only with notation, just started or I just can’t get.

I think I understand how to transpose a tune to another key but I haven’t tried it yet. May become a future personal challenge.

Thanks, 

susan

 

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This is an interesting thread for beginners like myself. Thanks for starting it.

 

Transposing  often happens by accident when you're trying to start a tune and you do it on a different row....

Do you practice scales? I know some ppl hate the discipline of scales - it's a personal preference. But I like to warm up my fingers and it also gets me using buttons I rarely touch and so I actually learn what they are. I play a G/D and this morning I discovered a lower octave for D maj scale, making it a 3 octave scale - and I'd been thinking all along the limit was 2 octaves!

 

As an alternative to a spreadsheet you might find a practice app useful if you have a smart phone. I'm currently using 2 - I can't decide which one is best - both have drawbacks and pluses. Sessions is a free practice ap that allows you to follow other musicians. Not much interaction, but you can comment on their practice sessions if you like (but no one does). I'm the only concertina player listed in the App :)  I think it's mostly classical music students that use it (sporadically).

Pros - finding other musicians to follow - their practice times spurs you on a bit to keep at it - Cons - too many ppl listed who only tried it out once 6 months ago and never used the App again. The developers need to clean it up.

 

Instrumentive is another practice App that is probably more useful. Pros: You can enter multiple instruments for keeping up your practice schedule with them all, and you can create a library of what you practice, and apply filters to see them all. There's also a recording feature and metronome.  Cons: Interface is a little confusing at first - every screen tries to do the same thing. Inputting tunes into the library and assigning them to an instrument so that you can apply filters isn't as streamlined as it should be.  You can set goals, but they way the goals feature works best would be to have a goal of say : play for 30 days straight -  then it will count each time you practice that instrument and automatically update. If you were to make a goal of learning a piece by heart - that's too open ended and you end up manually adjusting the goal settings to see your progress instead of the App updating your goal progress.  

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On 2/25/2020 at 10:42 PM, Breve said:

Transposing  often happens by accident when you're trying to start a tune and you do it on a different row....

 

Do you practice scales? I know some ppl hate the discipline of scales - it's a personal preference. But I like to warm up my fingers and it also gets me using buttons I rarely touch and so I actually learn what they are. I play a G/D and this morning I discovered a lower octave for D maj scale, making it a 3 octave scale - and I'd been thinking all along the limit was 2 octaves!

The simplest possible transposition on an Anglo is when you can play a tune along the row.  Change to the other row and "Hey presto!" You've transposed it.

 

However, that is only possible or desirable on a certain sort of tune.

 

If you play across the rows, it follows that if you change the row for the starting note, you will inevitably have to change some of the fingering.  This sounds complicated at first — indeed, it sometimes is — but it opens up a world of possibilities on the instrument.

 

Imagine a 30 b CG Anglo:

 

Play a tune that starts on C and goes up the scale of C.  If you swap rows and start on G, that's the simplest transposition.  (Or vice versa, of course.)

 

However, play a tune that not only goes up from C but also goes down below the tonic, and some of the melody has to be on the left hand.  This puts all sorts of constraints on any accompaniment you play.

 

But if you take that same tune, swap rows, and start on the G, and when you go below the tonic, you can do so by borrowing right hand notes from the C row.  That leaves your left hand unconstrained for playing a full chordal accompaniment.

 

Now take another tune that starts on C and goes up beyond high C into the very squeaky notes on the G row.

 

Instead, start it on the G on the left hand of the C row (or the left hand of the accidental row) and you can play it in G, and when you get to the high part of the tune, you will still be in the comfortable part of the register.

 

 

More than that, the differences in fingering open up and suggest different accompaniments.

 

I find that playing in C on a CG encourages me to play a full and rich accompaniment.  However, the same tune transposed to D may have a more sparse accompaniment, with more bass notes, octave notes, pedal points and isolated "stabs" at individual notes or pairs.  As a result, although the arrangement is less "full and rich" it often feels more fresh and alive.

 

 

 

My main instrument is GD, and when I started, I loved playing in G but was quite intimidated by playing in D.  Now, I prefer it.  It brings out more of an Anglo feel and sound.

 

(As an aside, another way to achieve this sparse but fresh and alive accompaniment and "Anglo feel and sound" is to play on a 20 b.)

 

The next step of transposing on a CG is to move into F or D.  If you play mainly a single line of melody with little or no accompaniment, this is just a matter of learning fingering patterns.  If you want to do more complex accompaniments, it may take a lot of work.

 

An enjoyable half way house is to play tunes like Rakes of Kildare that are modal: the key of the second note of the major scale (so playing in D on the C row.  These tunes often need few or no accidentals.  They can be a real palate cleanser after playing a lot of tunes in the major key.

 

Another approach to transposing is to take music written in, say, G, D or A, but sight read it as if it were in C (or whatever the primary key of your instrument is.)

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8 minutes ago, Mikefule said:

The simplest possible transposition on an Anglo is when you can play a tune along the row.  Change to the other row and "Hey presto!" You've transposed it.

 

However, that is only possible or desirable on a certain sort of tune.

 

If you play across the rows, it follows that if you change the row for the starting note, you will inevitably have to change some of the fingering.  This sounds complicated at first — indeed, it sometimes is — but it opens up a world of possibilities on the instrument.

 

Imagine a 30 b CG Anglo:

 

Play a tune that starts on C and goes up the scale of C.  If you swap rows and start on G, that's the simplest transposition.  (Or vice versa, of course.)

 

However, play a tune that not only goes up from C but also goes down below the tonic, and some of the melody has to be on the left hand.  This puts all sorts of constraints on any accompaniment you play.

 

But if you take that same tune, swap rows, and start on the G, and when you go below the tonic, you can do so by borrowing right hand notes from the C row.  That leaves your left hand unconstrained for playing a full chordal accompaniment.

 

Now take another tune that starts on C and goes up beyond high C into the very squeaky notes on the G row.

 

Instead, start it on the G on the left hand of the C row (or the left hand of the accidental row) and you can play it in G, and when you get to the high part of the tune, you will still be in the comfortable part of the register.

 

 

More than that, the differences in fingering open up and suggest different accompaniments.

 

I find that playing in C on a CG encourages me to play a full and rich accompaniment.  However, the same tune transposed to D may have a more sparse accompaniment, with more bass notes, octave notes, pedal points and isolated "stabs" at individual notes or pairs.  As a result, although the arrangement is less "full and rich" it often feels more fresh and alive.

 

 

 

My main instrument is GD, and when I started, I loved playing in G but was quite intimidated by playing in D.  Now, I prefer it.  It brings out more of an Anglo feel and sound.

 

(As an aside, another way to achieve this sparse but fresh and alive accompaniment and "Anglo feel and sound" is to play on a 20 b.)

 

The next step of transposing on a CG is to move into F or D.  If you play mainly a single line of melody with little or no accompaniment, this is just a matter of learning fingering patterns.  If you want to do more complex accompaniments, it may take a lot of work.

 

An enjoyable half way house is to play tunes like Rakes of Kildare that are modal: the key of the second note of the major scale (so playing in D on the C row.  These tunes often need few or no accidentals.  They can be a real palate cleanser after playing a lot of tunes in the major key.

 

Another approach to transposing is to take music written in, say, G, D or A, but sight read it as if it were in C (or whatever the primary key of your instrument is.)

What food for thought and ideas for fingers. I play mostly melody without accompaniment so I might try something here.

 

(as a side note hope you write another book)

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Mikefule, I know you're a much more experienced player than me, but let's not muddle up the meaning of transposing in music. I have a childhood piano background and while I'm far from expert I do have some music theory to draw on (you didn't know that of course, I'm just putting it in context). That background shapes how I approach playing instruments and thinking about the notes. A beginner player with no musical education, who can't read music etc will get confused by the meaning of "transpose" as you tried to use it. Transposing is changing the key of a tune, so that a tune written in the key of C major is changed to a different key, either it modulates up or down, it could be transposed E major or G major for eg.  The melody is the same - as in the intervals of the notes  - and how they relate to each other, but the key has changed so to our ears it sounds different to the original version - we can definitely tell it's different - but we can still recognize the tune easily.  Your examples seem to muddle up the two concepts - actual transposing of the key a tune is in - and shifting where a tune is played on the button layout.

 

If a tune played on one row ends up being uncomfortably squeaky high is shifted to the other row to be played, as you described,  it was moved down an octave (interval of 8 notes).  I suppose you can technically call it transposing an octave, but because the shift was 8 notes, but  it stayed in the same key. That's the important part to remember.   It's not transposing a tune by changing where you play it on the buttons if it stays in the same key you originally learned it in, such as C major, or D major. You're just finding other ways to play it on the concertina and new fingerings to explore.

 

"Play a tune that starts on C and goes up the scale of C.  If you swap rows and start on G, that's the simplest transposition.  (Or vice versa, of course.) "  This is changing the key of the tune eg from C to G major.

 

"However, play a tune that not only goes up from C but also goes down below the tonic, and some of the melody has to be on the left hand.  This puts all sorts of constraints on any accompaniment you play.

But if you take that same tune, swap rows, and start on the G, and when you go below the tonic, you can do so by borrowing right hand notes from the C row.  That leaves your left hand unconstrained for playing a full chordal accompaniment."

 

This is implying a cross row style where you have shifted to the G row for your fingering, but haven't changed the key your tune is played in. Am I correct?

 

"I find that playing in C on a CG encourages me to play a full and rich accompaniment.  However, the same tune transposed to D may have a more sparse accompaniment, with more bass notes, octave notes, pedal points and isolated "stabs" at individual notes or pairs.  As a result, although the arrangement is less "full and rich" it often feels more fresh and alive."

 

Have you transposed the tune from C major to D major here in this comment?  Is the sparser arrangement due to fewer notes in that new key of D major are available to you from the button layout, plus restrictions of push/pull note conflicts between left and right hands?

 

My main instrument is GD, and when I started, I loved playing in G but was quite intimidated by playing in D.  Now, I prefer it.  It brings out more of an Anglo feel and sound.

(As an aside, another way to achieve this sparse but fresh and alive accompaniment and "Anglo feel and sound" is to play on a 20 b.)

 

Can you describe a bit more what you mean by an "Anglo feel and sound"? At this stage were you a melody only player or were you also trying to learn accompaniment?

 

The next step of transposing on a CG is to move into F or D.  If you play mainly a single line of melody with little or no accompaniment, this is just a matter of learning fingering patterns.  If you want to do more complex accompaniments, it may take a lot of work.

 

Another approach to transposing is to take music written in, say, G, D or A, but sight read it as if it were in C (or whatever the primary key of your instrument is.)

 

These are the same aren't they? You're taking music in the original key you learned it in and transposing it to another key. eg, transposing from C major to F major. Or from A major to C major.    It's a real skill to do this mentally on the fly, sight reading. I can't do it - I have to write it out first. Much respect to you if you have this skill.

 

Last question - what do you mean by "pedal point"?

 

 

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I don't think I can offer anything new to all the brilliant comments above, just to say it's all about "purposeful practise".  By all means play, and enjoy playing the tunes you know already, but you'll grow as a player by learning new tunes.  Someone suggested learning them in your head before you pick up your instrument - good advice.  I learned literally thousands of tunes by ear, only referring to music if there's a particular phrase I can't hear clearly.

The main thing though is to enjoy it, and play with others if you can.

Good luck!

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On 3/2/2020 at 7:00 PM, Breve said:

1)  If a tune played on one row ends up being uncomfortably squeaky high is shifted to the other row to be played, as you described,  it was moved down an octave (interval of 8 notes).

 

2)  Me: "However, play a tune that not only goes up from C but also goes down below the tonic, and some of the melody has to be on the left hand.  This puts all sorts of constraints on any accompaniment you play.

But if you take that same tune, swap rows, and start on the G, and when you go below the tonic, you can do so by borrowing right hand notes from the C row.  That leaves your left hand unconstrained for playing a full chordal accompaniment."

 

2)  You:  This is implying a cross row style where you have shifted to the G row for your fingering, but haven't changed the key your tune is played in. Am I correct?

 

3)  Me:  "I find that playing in C on a CG encourages me to play a full and rich accompaniment.  However, the same tune transposed to D  [typo] may have a more sparse accompaniment, with more bass notes, octave notes, pedal points and isolated "stabs" at individual notes or pairs.  As a result, although the arrangement is less "full and rich" it often feels more fresh and alive."

 

3)  You: Have you transposed the tune from C major to D major here in this comment? 

 

4)  Me:  My main instrument is GD, and when I started, I loved playing in G but was quite intimidated by playing in D.  Now, I prefer it.  It brings out more of an Anglo feel and sound.

(As an aside, another way to achieve this sparse but fresh and alive accompaniment and "Anglo feel and sound" is to play on a 20 b.)

 

4)  You:  Can you describe a bit more what you mean by an "Anglo feel and sound"? At this stage were you a melody only player or were you also trying to learn accompaniment?

 

5)  Me:  The next step of transposing on a CG is to move into F or D.  If you play mainly a single line of melody with little or no accompaniment, this is just a matter of learning fingering patterns.  If you want to do more complex accompaniments, it may take a lot of work.

Another approach to transposing is to take music written in, say, G, D or A, but sight read it as if it were in C (or whatever the primary key of your instrument is.)

 

5) you:  These are the same aren't they? You're taking music in the original key you learned it in and transposing it to another key. eg, transposing from C major to F major. Or from A major to C major.    It's a real skill to do this mentally on the fly, sight reading. I can't do it - I have to write it out first. Much respect to you if you have this skill.

 

6)   Last question - what do you mean by "pedal point"?

 

 

You have interspersed my comments with yours in such a way that it is difficult for me to separate them in a way that allows me to reply clearly point by point, but I'll do my best.

 

1) If you change rows and keep the same fingering, you are not merely changing octaves.  The two rows are a 5th apart.  This is the simplest transposition on an Anglo: play along the C row to get C. use the same fingering on the G row and you've transposed to G.  Or vice versa.

 

2)  No.  Quite the opposite.  With very few exceptions, you can't change rows in a cross row style and keep the same fingering.  What I'm saying is (on a CG) that if you find that a tune needs the melody to stray down below the tonic onto the left hand when you play in C, transpose it to G.  This means that you can find the notes below the tonic by borrowing them from the right hand C row.  This way, you've changed key (from C to G) but you've gained the ability to keep the melody all, or mostly, on the right hand and the accompaniment on the left.

 

One of the tricky challenges for the harmonic player is when you need to play the melody and the accompaniment on the same hand for part fo a tune.  It can be done, but the instrument presents challenges and limitations on what can be done.  Here's where a cross row style enables you to find a solution.

 

In real life, if you play with other musicians, you can't just change key to make it easier.  However, if you have more than one instrument, you have choices.  I play mainly a GD instrument.  If I learn a tune in G where the melody goes down onto the left hand, I can transpose it to D to keep the melody mainly on the right.  If I then transfer that new fingering to a CG box, I am back into G (like all the other musicians in the session) but still with the melody on the right hand and accompaniment on the left.

 

3)  My mistake.  I am used to thinking in terms of the GD instrument that I play most of the time and I wrote "D" when I meant to write "G".

 

4)    With the exception of a few specific tunes, I have never been a melody only player.  I set out to learn a harmonic cross the row style from day 1.  As for the Anglo "feel and sound".  For me, compared to other squeeze boxes, the distinctive sound of the Anglo is when the quirks of the keyboard require you to paint the accompaniment with a few brush strokes rather than colouring it all in with full chords.  This is particularly the case when playing in the "second key" (G on a CG, D on a GD, etc.) and even more the case if you move further round the cycle of 5ths — for example, D on a CG.  The accompaniment then includes a lot of parallel bare octaves, or part chords made up of pairs of notes, rather than full rick chords.  Add this to the inherent "crunchiness" that comes from the push pull of the bellows and that is the Anglo sound.  Of course, there are others who prefer to play single lines of melody, and cross the rows to keep bars or phrases in a single bellows direction, and they get a different sound.

 

5)  No, two separate things.  The first is specific to the instrument: the challenge of taking a tune in D or A and playing it on an instrument that is optimised for C and G.  The instrument imposes various limitations on the available harmonies.  The second is specific to the musician: having a set of dots in front of you in one key, but playing them in another.

 

6)  A pedal point is a note that is sustained (or repeated) as the underlying chord changes.  For example, the note G appears in G major, C major, and E minor.  If a phrase of a tune has those chords in succession, but you play a low G throughout the phrase, that would be a pedal point.  Although you are playing the same note, it sounds different because at one moment it is the root of the chord, at another moment it is the 5th, and at another moment it is the 3rd.  Same note, different function.   Similarly, the note D can be the root of D major, the 5th of G major, or the 3rd of B minor, so you might play the note D throughout a phrase that passes through those 3 chords.

 

 

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