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Frustrated playing chords


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I'm new to the anglo and I"m having trouble understanding just how to play simple chords along with a song.  I've attached the song I'd like to play.  I know the fingering for the chords shown and can play each of them.  The problem comes from trying to play them with the song  - always run out of air and the result sounds choppy and disjointed.  For example, in the song I've attached, the chords go C - F - C - Am - C - F - C - G7.   That's six measures on a push!  I was wondering is anyone could do a quick video of this up to the G7 chord so I could see and hear how it should be played.

 

BTW - I've gone thru all the technical talk about playing chords and I'm sure that will all be clearer to me as I get more experience.  Right now I'd just like to know how to play chords as background to a song.

FiddlersGreen.PNG

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Accompanying singing on the Anglo is an art I have not mastered myself (coordinating the bellows and my lungs independently is a challenge), so hopefully someone more expert in the art will chime in. However, both the F and G left hand chords can be done quite nicely on the pull, which may help you out some here. (Buttons 1a-4-5 and 1-2-3, respectively.)(Edit: There’s an Am on the pull, too, although it’s a little high: 8-9-10)

 

It may also be useful to think about how many buttons you need to be pressing at any time and for how long. Brief pulses or oom-pah patterns take less air than held notes. Two notes can suggest a chord effectively.

 

I like the sound of playing the melody without ornaments in octaves under a voice line, but that may be a slightly unfashionable opinion (and avoids your actual question).

Edited by MJGray
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Running out of air is a usual problem on the Anglo. There are a few ways to get over this .Is it possible for you to play one or two chords on the pull ,that you are currently playing on the push.

The other method is to introduce a grace note  in the opposite direction so that you can drag air into the bellows.

Play the tune quieter this reduces the amount of air you are using and enabled the listener to hear your voice.

Al

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Running out of air may be partly due to the concertina you had. I used to have a Concertina Connection Rochelle, and that thing took a lot of force and air to play. I still have to manage air with the Morse Ceili I now have, but at least I'm not having to fight the instrument to do so :)

 

Playing softer and faster helps conserve air.

 

Also, mastering the technique of playing a note and pressing the air button at the same time is very useful. It allows your bellows to take a big gulp of air before a bunch of notes in one direction.

 

For a 3/4 time song, you'd probably be playing om-pah-pah chords on each measure as MJGray suggests. Also, the advice to keep the chords short will help with the air.

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The important thing is not to play every note of the chord at the same time, all of the time.

 

A chord can be played as 3 notes together, or even 4: often called a block chord.

 

The chord can be "represented" by a bass note, often but not always the root or 5th note of the chord.

 

A chord can be played as a pattern: all of the notes once each.  (Arpeggio)

 

A chord can be played as a pair of notes, with the melody note either making the missing note, or simply duplicating one of the notes.  (Try not to duplicate the 3rd note too often.)

 

A chord can be implied by just the root and 5th note played together, perhaps with the 3rd note filled in on the next beat.

 

Apart from that, the chord does not have to be full and rich.  If you hold down lots of buttons for a long time, you will need lots of air.  As well as reducing the number of buttons held down at any one time, you can reduce the duration by playing short "clipped" chords, almost like a tuned percussion.

 

The other thing is to find the chords in the opposite bellows direction.  Many, but not all, are available in both directions.

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On 3/20/2021 at 11:11 AM, dmksails said:

 

 

BTW - I've gone thru all the technical talk about playing chords and I'm sure that will all be clearer to me as I get more experience.  Right now I'd just like to know how to play chords as background to a song.

 

 

I'm really just a beginner so take this will a grain of salt, but here is how I would go about playing chords on that song. (I play a G/D, so hopefully I won't get the C/G fingering wrong).

 

I'd first transpose the song up one octave so that you're playing the melody on the right hand.

 

Looking at the second measure, that would make the fingering on the right hand (using Gary Coover's system): 1 2 2.

 

To go along with that I would play a C chord (C, E, G) on the left hand. I'd break that into C on the push, G on the pull, and then E & G on the push: 1 4a 4+5.

 

If you're not familiar with Gary's notation, 1 2 2 on the right hand is push the middle row button closest to you, pull the second button closest to you in the middle row, push the second button closest to you in the middle row. 

 

On the left hand 1 4a 4+5 would mean push the middle row button furthest from you, pull the top row button that is 2 away from you, and then push together the two middle row buttons closest to you. You're doing this in a om-pah-pah rhythm.

 

Again, I can't hear how this sounds since I don't have a C/G concertina, but it gives you a sense of how a newbie like myself might go about figuring out the chords.

Edited by Ethan Ham
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A bit more detail about what I described above. 

 

So for the left hand accompaniment for 3/4 time you want to play om-pah-pah every measure. (For 4/4 or 2/4 time it would be om-pah om-pah every measure). I try to make the om a lower note from the chord using one button and the pah be higher notes in the chord using 2 buttons. Ideally the two pahs are the same two notes, but a lot of compromising needs to happen to make it work on an Anglo.

 

I liked the Teatree Waltz that got posted recently, and have been trying to work out the left hand accompaniment for my 30 button G/D jeffries layout. Attached is what I have so far. The melody sneaks over the left hand occasionally. You could play this on a C/G by just ignoring the sheet music and playing the notation (which would transpose the music), adjusting the 2a if you're on a wheatstone layout.

 

Again, just a beginner here, so I may be off in my advice and my arrangement probably isn't the best :)

 

 

Screen Shot 2021-03-22 at 7.49.04 AM.png

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  • 2 weeks later...

At the risk of adding too much advice, I would suggest not doing om-pah-pah all the time. It's OK some of the time but can get very wooden. For Fiddler's Green you could for example do om-pah-pah on alternate bars and om-nothing-nothing on the other bars.

 

I could try to explain what I do with my left hand but it would be probably be too much information at this point on your learning curve.

 

I do suggest making some chord charts, i.e. for each of the main chords for your two main keys, which buttons on the left hand side are in each chord for both directions of the bellows. For most chords there will be plenty of buttons in one direction and few in the other, depending on how many buttons you have altogether. Then your left hand can start to learn the chord shapes, as a guitarist does.

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  • 1 month later...
On 4/1/2021 at 10:12 AM, Richard Mellish said:

At the risk of adding too much advice, I would suggest not doing om-pah-pah all the time. It's OK some of the time but can get very wooden. For Fiddler's Green you could for example do om-pah-pah on alternate bars and om-nothing-nothing on the other bars.

 

I could try to explain what I do with my left hand but it would be probably be too much information at this point on your learning curve.

 

I do suggest making some chord charts, i.e. for each of the main chords for your two main keys, which buttons on the left hand side are in each chord for both directions of the bellows. For most chords there will be plenty of buttons in one direction and few in the other, depending on how many buttons you have altogether. Then your left hand can start to learn the chord shapes, as a guitarist does.

 

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