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VERY new to concertina


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I have been  playing stringed instruments (mandolin, guitar and old time banjo) for years but have also been captivated by the concertina.  I have decided, at my late age, (I really like learning stuff) to give it a try.  I have a Stagi, anglo, 30 key G/D on its way to me and I have been trying to learn all I can from reading and searching the network and this forum.  How does standard music notation apply?  Is there a chart that shows the standard notation as it applies to each of the keys? Can one use standard notation melody lines and apply it to playing the concertina? I would appreciate your thoughts and comments on how best to proceed and begin the process of learning the concertina.  Blessings,

 

 

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Welcome, Arktrav.

 

You asked a lot of questions. I may know the answers but I think it's better for you to get a copy of Gary Coover's Easy Anglo 1-2-3.

 

While waiting for it (if you don't order the Kindle version), check out this site:

 

Anglo Concertina

 

Among other articles, it has a tutor for the chromatic concertina.

 

For a note chart, go here.

 

I'm just curious: why did you order a G/D vs a more common C/G?

 

Edited by pentaprism
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(Unfortunately?) there are several 'tablature' schemes used with the concertina - Coover, BramichABT,

Sherburn, Ives, etc.

 

I looked at all of the systems above 5-6 years ago when I started concertina. Further down the road, I also

looked at Watson and Kail. The two for which I have supplied links in the list above are the best in my opinion.

 

Bramich's books are very easy (maybe too elementary for some-one with previous musical experience?).

They are oriented towards C/G concertina, but that shouldn't cause too many problems. If you have a

30-button, I would recommend Absolute Beginners Concertina and In Between Anglo. I started with the

Bramich books and progressed to:

 

The ABT system: which is similar to the Bramich system (not immediately apparent), and is also geared to

C/G concertina (again, this shouldn't cause too many problems?). It transfers easily to G/D concertina, and

is  my personal choice. I have adapted it (very) slightly for my own use, and I use it every day. It is simple,

concise and unambiguous. It also has the advantage of being both free and immediately accessible, as

the whole tutor is right there on the web site. The tablature is presented in conjunction with standard staff

notation, so you can see how the two are 'merged', and there are examples of tunes in both C and G, which

(I think) addresses a couple of your other points.

 

There's also Alan Day's audio tutor (maintained by a concertina.net user) here. Again, it's C/G oriented,

but it might be helpful...

Edited by lachenal74693
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Hi, @Arktrav,

I seem to detect a certain affinity here!

Like you, I've been playing mandolin, guitar and banjo (folk/classic style) for a very long time. I also had some experience with the mouth organ as a child. However, unlike you, I added the concertina to my musical toolkit at an early age. It was a simple, 20-button East German "Anglo." Perhaps it will help if I tell you how I "got into" the concertina - YMMV, of course.

 

The combination of mandolin, guitar and OT banjo hints at a folkie who plays predominantly by ear or memory - certainly this was the case with me. When I had ordered my Anglo concertina, I resolved to catch up on the music theory I had missed hitherto, and learn to read sheet music, which I couldn't up to then.

When the Anglo arrived, I unpacked it and the simple tutor I had bought with it, played the scales of C and G, and realised that this contraption was just two mouth organs cut in half and fitted to a bellows. I completely forgot about sheet music, and just started exploring. It's amazing how much more you can find do with a 20-button Anglo than with two harmonicas!

Mandolin is good training, as it gives you a feeling for carrying a melody; guitar is good, as it gives yiu a feeling for the 3-chord trick and chord changes; and banjo is good, because it teaches you to use sparse, uncluttered chords.

 

You'll do fine!

 

Cheers,

John

 

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Wow!  Thank you all so much!  I got the G/D because I thought if I ever learned to play some tunes they were, a lot, in G or D and if I every sang, fok songs or hymns,  those keys seemed comfortable.  And there is also the added point, I just did it without a tremendous amount of thought.  The tab systmes I will look at and see how they fit when I get the instrument.  I have also tried harmonicas over time and use the harmonic tab some and the relation to that seems to help me pictue in my mind what I am doing.  Anyway, thanks for the input and I look forward to the journey!  Blessings

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One other thing from me, is that I just found this link ( https://www.bushtraditions.org/tutors/concertina.htm ) I like the way it is presented and wonder if any of you very learned people could lead me to a site like this for the 30 key G/D anglo?  I suppose I could also dtranspose the music on this site to the G/D tuning.  Anyway, I appreciate your input.  Blessings

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2 hours ago, Arktrav said:

One other thing from me, is that I just found this link ( https://www.bushtraditions.org/tutors/concertina.htm ) I like the way it is presented and wonder if any of you very learned people could lead me to a site like this for the 30 key G/D anglo?  I suppose I could also dtranspose the music on this site to the G/D tuning.  Anyway, I appreciate your input.  Blessings

That is the 'Australian Bush Traditions' (ABT) concertina tutor to which I referred in my earlier post. I should

have identified the site a bit more exactly in that post! As far as I know there is no exact equivalent for C/G

concertina but transposition shouldn't be a problem. You can just apply the same fingering on your G/D,

and the tunes on the site will be magically transposed from C to G and G to D without any further effort on

your part (but I guess you knew that anyway...).

 

Alternatively as you have (or will have) a 30-button (ie: with accidentals), you can work out the (different)

fingering on on your G/D for the C/G tunes on the site. That's the point really, it's a very flexible system and

you can quite easily frig it to fit your own requirements...

______________

I know that the author of that site is planning to expand the range of tunes on the site. I don't know how far his plans are

advanced, or when he intends to start. I don't know if he intends to add tunes tabulated for G/D concertina. Maybe

I will ask...

Edited by lachenal74693
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Is the C key row the same on all C instruments.  Or, is the G row on a C/G instrument the same as the G row on a G/D instrument?  How much note/pin variance is there between different instruments with the same Wheatstone layout?  I have two printed layouts, both Wheatstone, and the first D key for left hand says it is F# over A and the other says it is F# over E.  Just asking but for a NOOB it seems confusing.  thanks

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Arktrav

On a 30 key instrument, the C row is the same on "most" CG instruments.  There are likely to be some variations on larger instruments for the buttons outside the core 30 key pattern.

 

The G row on a CG is not the same as the G row on a GD.  The lowest notes and highest notes (little finger) are almost certainly different values and the whole row is an octave lower on a GD than on the CG

 

Wheatstones tended to be a lot more "standard" than Jeffries, but variations are possible, particularly on the accidental row or at the upper end of the range either as customs from original or as modified by players over the years to suit preferences

 

F# over E is the standard for a Wheatstone GD in that position, but F# over A is common on a Jeffries and preferred by some players who may have swapped the A in there or had Wheatstone put it there originally

 

No such thing as a daft question!

 

Alex West

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11 hours ago, Arktrav said:

Is the C key row the same on all C instruments.  Or, is the G row on a C/G instrument the same as the G row on a G/D instrument?  How much note/pin variance is there between different instruments with the same Wheatstone layout?  I have two printed layouts, both Wheatstone, and the first D key for left hand says it is F# over A and the other says it is F# over E.  Just asking but for a NOOB it seems confusing.  thanks

Using the button numbering from the on-line Australian Bush Tradition tutor which you mentioned in one

of your earlier posts:

 

On my C/G Lachenal, the G on the gR1 button is the same as the G on the R4 button of my G/D Marcus.

 

In other words, the G-Row on a C/G is one octave higher than the G-row on a G/D, which ties in with

AW's observation (I was in the middle of composing this when AW posted).

 

I hope that answers your general point - I also hope I got it right! It is confusing. It confused the s**t out

of me when I first had both a C/G and G/D sitting in front of me...☹️

 

I think AW also answered your point about the F#/A and F#/E button configurations?

 

The main point is to keep squeezin...😎

Edited by lachenal74693
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May I indulge you once more?  As I mentoned back there, I have 30 button G/D anglo.  Where can I go to see what notes on the musical steaff apply to each key/button?  I can read music, a little, and want to be able to see the musical notation and play the simple melody of songs.

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Arktrav

This attached PowerPoint file won't be identical to your layout I'm sure but might give you a clue and a starting point.  The stave represents the treble clef and the note values from G2 upwards) are as you get from a Peterso tuner

 

Good Luck!

 

Alex West

32 Key GD Jeffries.pptx

Edited by Alex West
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21 hours ago, Arktrav said:

May I indulge you once more?  As I mentoned back there, I have 30 button G/D anglo.  Where can I go to see what notes on the musical steaff apply to each key/button?  I can read music, a little, and want to be able to see the musical notation and play the simple melody of songs.

Assuming that you have a smartphone, how about installing a tuning app? They are primarily intended for telling you whether a note is sharp or flat of its correct pitch when you are tuning an instrument such as a guitar, but they also tell you what the note is. One example is https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=ru.aterlux.guitartuner

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Thank you Richard, I appreciate your time and thought.  What I am wanting is where that particular is located on the treble clef, or musical notation.

 

Thank you Alex.  the instrument I have is a Stagi, Wheatstone.  But the layout you sent seems very close.

 

blessings, to all

 

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On 4/29/2021 at 2:18 PM, Arktrav said:

May I indulge you once more?  As I mentoned back there, I have 30 button G/D anglo.  Where can I go to see what notes on the musical steaff apply to each key/button?  I can read music, a little, and want to be able to see the musical notation and play the simple melody of songs.

The interesting challenge is that almost every note appears twice on the instrument, and in some cases 3 times.

 

For example, on a 30 B GD, you will find the same note D on push button 3 on the right hand G row; push button 1 of the right hand D row; and on a pull button on the accidental row.  (Which one depends on which tuning you have chosen.)

 

On a GD, the notes that are not repeated are the C natural and the C#.

 

This is part of the versatility of the instrument, but takes some getting used to.  I suppose the equivalent for a string player is that you can find the same note on different strings by stopping/fretting further up the finger board on the thicker strings.

 

In theory, on a GD 30 button, there are over a hundred different ways to play a simple G major scale over 1 octave.

 

In practice, of course, you do not need to learn them all.  However, most tunes are made up largely of snatches of arpeggio or short sections of the scale.  Therefore you will gradually discover some "best routes through the maze" for the melody, depending on which is the best harmony, and what came immediately before, and what comes next.

 

The main point is don't think of a 1:1 relationship between the notes on the stave and buttons on the instrument.

 

In the early days, the Anglo can seem illogical.  Why is it push pull?  Why is it that on the left hand the lower of the two notes on one button is on the push, and on the right hand the lower is on the pull?  Why are there "missing notes" low down on the left hand?  Why is there so much duplication of notes?  Why do the notes that define the difference between the two main keys only appear once each?  It makes no sense.

 

However, the more you play, the more it makes perfect sense.  You will find that the note you need will nearly always fall comfortably to hand.  It doesn't fit the logic of a theorist (like an English or duet, where the patterns are consistent) but it perfectly fits the logic of a folk musician used to playing by ear.

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On 4/30/2021 at 8:20 PM, Arktrav said:

Thank you Richard, I appreciate your time and thought.  What I am wanting is where that particular is located on the treble clef, or musical notation.

 

Thank you Alex.  the instrument I have is a Stagi, Wheatstone.  But the layout you sent seems very close.

 

blessings, to all

 

Do you mean that you don't know which note is signified by each line and space on the stave? If that's your problem, see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clef . When I was a small child my grandfather taught me the mnemonic for the five lines of the treble clef: Every Good Boy Deserves Fruit.

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