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Good day to all, a beginner question again...

 

I have learned that C/G anglo is the most suitable layout for ITM and didn't really question it until recently. I don't know why suddenly I couldn't get my head around it, but when I look into tunebooks it seems most of the common session tunes are in key of G or D, and just a few in key of C or A.

 

Why wouldn't a G/D anglo, if we are talking about 20 button ones, be more suitable than a C/G anglo?

 

Cheers,

 

Ted

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This is a really good question, and using C/G 30b Anglo as the Irish default initially seems counter-intuitive. I'll leave it to others here to explain why it actually makes sense (I don't play much Anglo), but I'll draw a parallel in noting that Irish button accordion players use a B/C far far more than they use a C#/D or a D/D#, what one would intuitively expect.

 

You certainly can do Irish on G/D Anglo, no reason you can't really, though you'd be kinda forging your own path. I would suggest you might be able to take inspiration from button accordion played Tim Edey, a very talented dude who plays all kinds of buttonbox, but is known for his very unique passion for playing Irish trade on the D/G 2-row. Here's a little of his stuff:

 

 

 

 

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7 hours ago, Ted T said:

Why wouldn't a G/D anglo, if we are talking about 20 button ones, be more suitable than a C/G anglo?

 

If anything, it could be argued that a 20-key German concertina in G/D, like this yellow Scholer, is much more "traditional" than a 30-key Anglo in C/G - in that it's very typical of what the concertinas players of old, like Martin "Junior" Crehan's mother Margaret "Baby" Crehan (whose instrument I restored about 10 years ago), actually used...

 

But the price seems crazy to me - I can remember when they cost £5 ,, 5s new!

 

 

Edited by Stephen Chambers
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For Irish music on the C/G anglo it doesn’t pay to get hung up on the way in which the simple run of notes up the scale coincides with the button layout. The way to think about it is this;  in C and G most of the notes are in both keys, all except the f and f#.  Some of the notes are in one bellows direction in one row and the other in the other row. Choosing the note you want, not because of the row it is on, but either to continue the same bellows direction or to deliberately change bellows direction, aids in faster playing,  helps with air usage,  allows creative phrasing and allows you to emphasise rhythm, as you can choose the moment to change bellows direction, a manoeuvre which creates a slightly different feeling start on the note which is useful in rhythm denunciation. This method of playing is sometimes called “playing across the rows”.
 

If you just play up and down the rows in C or G, (or in G and D on. G/D)  almost every new note will be a bellows direction change and it will be hard to play fast enough, or to create the feeling you want. 
 

HTH

 

Chris

 

 

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Now, this is the very question many of us faced as we began to grapple with these devilish little machines.

 

I agree with the great suggestion that Tim E. is a role model for playing ITM on a box stamped "D/G" but he's a dedicated long-term practioner, who has genius on his side, I suspect.  At the other extreme, I represent the small percentage of concertina players too thick-headed (some say lazy, but I think we are all neurologically differently wired) to get very far in cross-row play.  So, to play Irish, I got Anglos in G and D.  I'll never be great, but I can keep up to session speed on a few tunes, and practicing yields progress.  The collateral benefit is for all other genres I dabble in, like Quebecois, "Old-Timey," "Americana" and other folk stuff.  As long as the key is G or D, my ear and fingers pretty quickly find the melody (mostly right side, but not always) and the chords on the other hand can be, dare I say, simple and automatic.  Singers seem to like the sound as accompaniment, which pleases me. If you started with the harmonica, that may make a difference....it did for me.  

 

Older ITM players did play more "along the rows," and I take some comfort in that.  

 

If you've the time, energy, aptitude and ambition, C/G for ITM is the standard.  G/D for some of us fits the (different) bill.

 

Mostly, have great fun.

 

David

 

 

 

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To Dave's point, I play a little single-row D melodeon for Irish and Appalachian tunes, and at one point I bought a two-row Hohner re-reeded in D/D#, thinking that way I'd be able to do the same thing but with added accidentals.

 

The very experienced button accordion player who sold me the Hohner asked "now, you aren't planning to just play this like a one-row with extra keys, are you? Because that would be just silly." And I'm thinking ummmmm... pretty much.

 

That said, heck with it, if you want to play up and down the rows, don't let anyone stop you. It's a valid way to play and probably a ton of folks in the tradition played that way before coalescing around the cross-row styles common these days. It's not like musical conventions are legally binding, so at the end of the day as long as you sound good and are having fun, more power to you.

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2 hours ago, TapTheForwardAssist said:

 It's not like musical conventions are legally binding, so at the end of the day as long as you sound good and are having fun, more power to you.

 

Spot on.

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@Stephen Chambers: really cool image!

 

And we're discussing this in another thread, but it vaguely appears that the Scholer brand (or at least badge) is revived and being made in Germany again, including in G/D. Liberty Bellows has them for $299, and at least one member here believes those would be new stock.

 

UPDATE: Liberty confirms they're New Old Stock and not a recent revival. So they have some affordable Scholer 20bs as of this post, but when they're gone, they're gone.

 

Edited by TapTheForwardAssist
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  • 2 weeks later...
On 1/24/2021 at 12:37 AM, TapTheForwardAssist said:

And we're discussing this in another thread, but it vaguely appears that the Scholer brand (or at least badge) is revived and being made in Germany again, including in G/D. Liberty Bellows has them for $299, and at least one member here believes those would be new stock.

 

Though as you find out later (on that other thread) these are actually old stock from a closed-down dealer, and we don't have any evidence at this point that these instruments are being made now.

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Hello all, sorry to have disappeared for quite a while. Thanks very much for your replies and they are inspiring.

 

My initial thought was - a G/D box has a range that is a better match with other instruments, such as flute or pipes. The combination as well puts F#, G, A, B, which are 3rd to 6th of D, on the magical direction-changing pairs of buttons that add colour to the playing.

 

However, in above thinking I have unconsciously assumed that Irish tunes always have D as root note, which is clearly not true. Another fact is that melodies are not bounded by rules but go freely as they like (the fascinating part of ITM). Turns out on a G/D box, the right hand will get super busy as the notes go from G4 to A4, B4 then C5 and higher. In contrast, a C/G box works with the "normal" playing range much better, with G4 - G5 easily accessible while none of the hands is overloaded.

 

The most interesting part about this tiny little instrument is, that led me to think about a D/A box which looked even better! Only when I looked again the button layout of C/G, it is basically a D/A with natural G if we swap push and pull......

 

(BTW, thanks TapTheForwardAssist for the great video from Tim. Though the melodeon button layout freaked me out...)

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I think if you are serious about learning ITM then get a C/G box and learn it well.  Even a 20B can make it's way around most tunes.

 

I think you will see/hear Concertina players play on different keyed boxes more for the tonal/tamber of the instrument and not to use just to play in a different key.

 

BTW - David, how did I know you would respond to this topic! 

 

Stay safe and healthy out there.

 

Doug

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On 2/2/2021 at 2:19 AM, Daniel Hersh said:

 

Though as you find out later (on that other thread) these are actually old stock from a closed-down dealer, and we don't have any evidence at this point that these instruments are being made now.

Thanks for the nudge, I have updated my post to line-out the speculation that was later disproven by my emails with the owner of Liberty.

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  • 2 weeks later...

It seems to me that this is the same argument that comes up in the b/c vs c#/d melodeons. The argument always seems to be bouncy/ rhythmic vs smooth.

 

but what it really comes down to is resources. It is far easier to find learning resources for a b/c box or a c/g ‘Tina.

 

Liam Clancy seemed to get by and got pretty far using an EC on itm..

don’t be afraid to think different. And try something.

 

 

 

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 1/21/2021 at 12:20 PM, Chris Ghent said:

The way to think about it is this;  in C and G most of the notes are in both keys, all except the f and f#

 

Don't all keys a fifth apart share exactly the same notes aside from 1 accidental?

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There are a lot of tunes in ITM. That seem to have been built for along the rows playing.  I figure perhaps they came from the melodion players.  They organize themselves beautifully around the push pull nature of that kind of playing, matching good phrasing and rhythm, as opposed to other tunes that chafe at being forced into that restriction.  C/G’s are very versatile given their pitch range which is similar to a fiddle and covers all the notes typically found in the whole ITM repertoire.  The common ITM keys are very easily learned on a C/G.

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