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John_D

Where to start with a 20 Button C/G Anglo

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So, last I posted my C/G Stagi is not in the greatest condition. Some reeds are sharp and some other valve issues but I believe it's good enough to practice on until I get one in better condition. So where do I start? What books should I be looking for and is there anything else I should know about a 20 button C/G anglo?

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It is possible to learn without a book.  Using a book is only one of many options.

 

The 20b is less versatile than a 30 (obviously) and a bit harder to play, but it's very rewarding.  I own two 30s and two 20s, and they all get played.

 

Find the main cross row scale options.  Experiment.

 

Always try to release the button and press it again when playing two notes on the same button, whether in the same bellows direction or not.

 

Pick out tunes by ear: simple ones like When the Saints, Oh Susanna, Red River Valley, Donkey Riding, Lord of the Dance, English Country Gardens.

 

Practise for a few minutes every day.  10 minutes a day is better than 70 minutes once a week.

 

Most of all, have fun.

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1 hour ago, Mikefule said:

It is possible to learn without a book.  Using a book is only one of many options.

 

The 20b is less versatile than a 30 (obviously) and a bit harder to play, but it's very rewarding.  I own two 30s and two 20s, and they all get played.

 

Find the main cross row scale options.  Experiment.

 

Always try to release the button and press it again when playing two notes on the same button, whether in the same bellows direction or not.

 

Pick out tunes by ear: simple ones like When the Saints, Oh Susanna, Red River Valley, Donkey Riding, Lord of the Dance, English Country Gardens.

 

Practise for a few minutes every day.  10 minutes a day is better than 70 minutes once a week.

 

Most of all, have fun.


Well, I can read music. If that helps. The only trouble is I'm going from a Wind instrument (Trumpet). So learning the notes of the buttons will be half the battle. The scales on this thing include C, G, A minor and E minor right?

 

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If I may indulge in a shameless plug or two, you might find Easy Anglo 1-2-3 helpful, since the book starts with 1-row tunes, then 2-row tunes, then 3-row tunes (for when you upgrade someday?). 

 

All 60 tunes in Civil War Concertina can be played on a 20-button instrument. Every tune is linked to a YouTube video via QR code.

 

You can find some free samples from both books here in the cnet forums, and Amazon's "Look Inside" feature should also include a few freebies as well.

 

Although the 20-button is somewhat limited, you can still play an amazing number of tunes and accompaniments - I was really surprised to learn how versatile it can be.

 

Enjoy your voyage of discovery!

 

 

Gary

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Posted (edited)

If you already read music, and play an instrument, you might want to cast about on the internet for tunes...

 

Are you familiar with ABC notation? Many (most?) internet sources use this system in addition to printable scores.

 

Jack Campin's 9 Note Tune Book might be worth a look? Mix of keys - you may have to transpose?

 

There are a million tune books out there - for example, most of the tunes in Nick Barber's 80 English Dance Tunes are

accessible to a 20-button (again, you may have to transpose - most are in 1- or 2- sharps?). Mr Barber has very kindly

made an ABC transcription available (link at the bottom of the page), though, as he says, it would be a nice gesture to

buy the book as well. 😎

 

There's loads of stuff like this out there.

 

There are a few tunes for 20-button on the Australian Bush Traditions site with an explanation of the button numbering

used (there are different numbering systems, unfortunately - this one is symmetrical, which I personally find easiest).

Might be of interest?

 

Concertina.net guru Don Taylor has a zipped copy of Alan Day's tutor available here.

Edited by lachenal74693

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John D, I give a +1 for Easy Anglo 123.  Unless you have someone nearby to explain "why" the anglo is the way it is, button-wise, you will start with the notes but not get the "idea" of how the diatonic magic works for (and against) you.  Learning notes and scales is really no fun.  Garys 123 book will have you playing a tune in 15 minutes.

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Posted (edited)
15 hours ago, Devils' Dream said:

John D, I give a +1 for Easy Anglo 123.  Unless you have someone nearby to explain "why" the anglo is the way it is, button-wise, you will start with the notes but not get the "idea" of how the diatonic magic works for (and against) you.  Learning notes and scales is really no fun.  Garys 123 book will have you playing a tune in 15 minutes.

Well if they're any other Concertina players in Vermont I'd love to know!

Edited by John_D

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20 hours ago, John_D said:


Well, I can read music. If that helps. The only trouble is I'm going from a Wind instrument (Trumpet). So learning the notes of the buttons will be half the battle. The scales on this thing include C, G, A minor and E minor right?

 

Being able to read music helps, but you need to compensate for the fact that the dots may be written in any key, but your instrument will only play in a limited range of keys.  You need to adapt and overcome.

 

Put simply, you have C major, G major, and the associated "modes".  By "modes" I mean you can play tunes such as "Drunken Sailor" or "Rakes of Kildare" in a sort of D on the C row, even though you do not have all of the notes of a proper D minor key.  A full D minor scale has a B flat in it.

 

However, the real trick is to learn how to borrow notes from the "other row".  As someone referred to above there is a magic in the keyboard layout that works to help you, but sometimes seems to be an obstacle.

 

The more you play the 20b, the more you will understand the instrument, and how music works.  It's amazing, rewarding, and frustrating.

 

Mathsy bit:  If you take the 8 notes of the C major scale, starting with the note that sounds the same as the C push on 1st button on the C row, right hand, there are theoretically 128 ways of playing the C major scale over 1 octave.  That is, every note except F natural appears twice, so there are 2 x 2 x 2 x 1 x 2 x 2 x 2 x 2 = 128 combinations.  In real life, you will only tend to use snatches of 4 or so consecutive notes from a handful of these options.

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Anglo 1-2-3 is excellent, so here's another vote for that. I also got a lot out of the Australian Bush Music site.

 

A lot of the historical concertina instructionals available are for 20 (or sometimes 10) button instruments, if you can manage the slog through the 19th-century style pedagogy. Here are a couple examples I found useful in one way or another:

https://archive.org/details/merrillsharmonic00merr/page/18/mode/2up

https://archive.org/details/imslp-book-for-the-use-of-learners-of-the-german-concertina-minasi-carlo/page/n1/mode/2up

 

Finally, I found the last chapter of Dan Worrall's The Anglo-German Concertina immensely helpful for understanding how "cross-row" playing actually works and the value of playing in octaves: https://archive.org/details/bub_gb_JKZO1aevsiIC/page/n237/mode/2up

 

Have fun!

 

Mike

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Posted (edited)
10 hours ago, MJGray said:

(1) ...I also got a lot out of the Australian Bush Music site...

 

(2) ...A lot of the historical concertina instructionals available are for 20 (or sometimes 10) button instruments, if you can manage

the slog through the 19th-century style pedagogy...

 

(1) The Australian system is my favourite, based on the symmetrical style, simplicity, and (relative) ease with which the tablature can be

added to an existing score...

 

(2) There's a lengthy bibliography of Anglo tutors here. Several of them (33, 36, 40, 50, 117) are downloadable. The link to 115 is broken,

but you can find it (them - three articles by John Kirkpatrick) here.

Edited by lachenal74693

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On 3/16/2020 at 8:15 PM, Mikefule said:

you can play tunes such as "Drunken Sailor" or "Rakes of Kildare" in a sort of D on the C row, even though you do not have all of the notes of a proper D minor key.  A full D minor scale has a B flat in it.

Mike, careful with the terminology!

The scale between D and D on the C row is not a "sort of D" scale. It's a proper D Dorian scale, or the "scale of re," as I saw it named in an old Irish fiddlers' book. The "full D minor" scale you mention (with the Bb in it) is the melodic minor, or Aeolian mode ("scale of la"), which would be the scale from D to D on the F row of a concertina that had an F row.

Cheers,

John

 

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13 hours ago, Anglo-Irishman said:

Mike, careful with the terminology!

The scale between D and D on the C row is not a "sort of D" scale. It's a proper D Dorian scale, or the "scale of re," as I saw it named in an old Irish fiddlers' book. The "full D minor" scale you mention (with the Bb in it) is the melodic minor, or Aeolian mode ("scale of la"), which would be the scale from D to D on the F row of a concertina that had an F row.

Cheers,

John

 

 

I absolutely agree.  However, I was responding to a thread started by a complete beginner, and was trying not to distract with terminology.

 

But I said that you can play [tunes] in "a sort of D of the C row" and this was not false or incorrect, merely lacking in detail.  The "sort of D" is the Dorian sort!  

 

As a harmonica and Anglo player, owning various instruments in different keys, I simply think of Dorian as "on the pull".

 

In folk music, we know and understand the concept of the modes, even if we can't remember all the Greek names.  For comparison, I have known people who studied music more formally and claim never to have come across the concept of modes.

 

I am aware that the formally defined melodic and harmonic minor scales exist, although I have never learned them rigorously.   I am also aware of the existence of the 8 modes although, as I hinted, I'd have to look up which one's called after which ancient Greek cultural stereotype.  Only 2 of them seem crop up regularly in my mainly Morris repertoire: Ionian and Dorian — on the push and on the pull. ;)

 

 

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56 minutes ago, Mikefule said:

...In folk music, we know and understand the concept of the modes, even if we can't remember all the Greek names.

For comparison, I have known people who studied music more formally and claim never to have come across the

concept of modes....

 

Correct! I can think of three such musically trained folks without trying - one of whom (quite seriously!) accused me of

'making it all up', just to impress him. Give me strength...

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7 hours ago, lachenal74693 said:

I can think of three such musically trained folks without trying - one of whom (quite seriously!) accused me of

'making it all up', just to impress him.

Well, just try quoting Alexander Pope at him:

 

A little learning is a dang'rous thing;

Drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring:

There shallow draughts intoxicate the brain,

And drinking largely sobers us again.

 

Seriously, though, I believe that musicians with a "classical" training are led astray by the often-used Greek terms for the modes, and think they must have something to do with mediaeval Church music, and regard them as superfluous for a person trained in the classical music of the Age of Enlightenment. 😁

 

Cheers,

John

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57 minutes ago, Anglo-Irishman said:

Well, just try quoting Alexander Pope at him:

 

A little learning is a dang'rous thing;

Drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring:

There shallow draughts intoxicate the brain,

And drinking largely sobers us again.

 

Seriously, though, I believe that musicians with a "classical" training are led astray by the often-used Greek terms for the modes, and think they must have something to do with mediaeval Church music, and regard them as superfluous for a person trained in the classical music of the Age of Enlightenment. 😁

 

Cheers,

John

 

Interesting idea.  My former partner sang in a cathedral choir when she was  young girl, and did reasonably high grades on violin and piano and as an adult she could play piano quite well.  She said she'd never heard of "modes" and it must be some sort of "weird folky stuff" (or words to that effect).

 

I now have a (step)son who took lessons (not leading to grades) in bass with a view to playing jazz, jazz funk, and the like.  His lessons were very detailed but not following the formal syllabus, and he covered modes extensively.

 

I had no musical education at all — we didn't even have a record player in the house until I was 17 — and came across modes only by looking it up after someone described a tune to me as "modal".  As an adult, I have learned theory piecemeal, reading a bit, trying a bit, and concentrating on the parts that seemed most relevant to what I was trying to achieve.  The idea of modes interests me largely because of the maths/physics involved, but as a musician I have only found 2 modes to be relevant to my repertoire on a regular basis.

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Posted (edited)
9 hours ago, Anglo-Irishman said:

(1) ...Well, just try quoting Alexander Pope at him:

(2) ...I believe that musicians with a "classical" training are led astray...

 

(1) He would only have quoted Moriartys Police Law, or Chitty on Torts back at me - he was a broken down old legal hack

who specialised in studying subjects (bee-keeping, flour-milling, baking, music) and then setting himself up as an expert!

He told lies all the time, but of course, as a lawyer, he had the gift of the gab, and people believed him. It was a seriously

weird, albeit extremely comical experience. Rumpole of the Bailey had nothing on this geezer...

(2) My nephew and his wife, orchestral French horn players (currently trying to get back to their orchestra - in China!), tell me

that they studied 'modes' during their professional training, but it was largely academic - French horners don't have much

need for 'em...

 

8 hours ago, Mikefule said:

(1) ...he covered modes extensively.

(2)...I had no musical education at all...came across modes only by looking it up...The idea of modes interests me largely

because of the maths/physics involved...

(1) The aforementioned French horner also plays jazz keyboard with his dad, and for that, he has learned about modes

(2) Yeah, I 'knew about' modes in a qualitative sense for 30+ years before ever picking up an instrument. Thank you Bert

Lloyd for the explanation in Folk Song in England! As you say, the maths is interesting too...

Edited by lachenal74693
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Posted (edited)

Oops! Incorrectly posted. Deleted. Sorry!!!

Edited by lachenal74693

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