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Rowing With One Hand - Ye Banished Privateers (Anglo)


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Hello again,

I've been on a roll these past few days, and I'd like to share another Ye Banished Privateers song I have managed to arrange for the concertina; Rowing With One Hand.

I had pretty much zero issues with this song; all the bellows directions matched the chords perfectly, I found I wasn't overextending the bellows or running out of air, and even the awkward B chords fit perfectly with everything else.

The song itself is an entertaining one; see if you can figure out what the song is about from this verse:

Rowing in a rowing boat
A trail behind me left afloat
I'll raise the level of the sea
Enjoying my own company

I have attached a PDF, and you can view it via MuseScore here.

Thanks for reading if you got this far, and have a good day!

Rowing_With_One_Hand.pdf

Edited by TehRazorBack
Submitted too early, forgot the link/attachment
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I don’t play Anglo, so the tablature numbers mean nothing to me, but where did those chords come from? I would replace the D chords in the first 3 measures with A minor chords. You don’t want the bass line moving from E to D while the melody is moving from B to A.

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Hey David, thanks for your reply.

My music theory is rather limited, mainly learned through the Music Matters YouTube channel. My method of arranging this tune was to get the melody by ear (attempting to stay within C or G if possible), determine the key (in this case Em), start with an Em chord (as the first note is Em), and try to figure out the rest of the chords by ear from there. My understanding is there are usually 3 chords you can use from a key for any given note, and D sounded the most like the original tune.

I gave Am a quick try, but it didn't quite sound right. That could also be because the rest of the chords are based around the D chord, and maybe the rest of the chords need changed too?

I've attached a recording of me playing the piece, so you can see how it sounds. Apologies for the quality; I'm still fairly new to playing the concertina, I have a cheaper instrument, and I'm recording with a potato phone mic.

Here's a YouTube link to the original song as well:
 


Martin

rowing_with_one_hand.mp3

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On 7/6/2021 at 10:22 PM, TehRazorBack said:

My understanding is there are usually 3 chords you can use from a key for any given note, and D sounded the most like the original tune.

 

You seem to be mixing a few ideas here.

 

There is the famous three chord trick.  In the case of a simple tune in a major key, a basic accompaniment can always be constructed from 3 chords: the major chords built on the 1st, 4th and 5th notes of the scale.

 

So if this tune was in G major as the key signature suggests at first glance, you would use G major, C major and D major.  However, this tune is not in G major.

 

This 3 chord trick will always work on a simple tune in the major key, but it is not always the best or most imaginative method.

 

However, this tune starts with the chord E minor, so that 3 chord trick is irrelevant.

 

You may also be referring to the fact that any simple chord is made of 3 notes.  Therefore, any given melody note could theoretically be accompanied by one of 3 chords.  The melody note could be the same as the first, third, or fifth note in the chord.

 

So applying this theory, the note C in a tune in C major could be accompanied by C major (CEG) A minor (ACE) or F major (FAC).  However, the note C is  also part of C minor, F minor, and a number of other possible chords that are less relevant to the key of C major.

 

But that does not mean that you have free choice between those various chord options.  There will always be one option that is best, and sometimes a second option "that will do".  Most of the others would just be inappropriate.

 

I haven't tried this particular tune, but on a quick reading, I think I'd be looking to build my accompaniment around E minor, A minor, and G major.

 

I also would not be making those chord changes on the fourth beat of the bar.  Not every note has to be harmonised, and I see no place for a D (major or minor) chord in this tune.

 

The tune is not in G major (despite the single sharp key signature) but in a mode based on E.  I think it's Aeolian: that is all the same notes as G major, but using E as the tonic.

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Hello Mike, thanks for your reply,
 

3 hours ago, Mikefule said:

You may also be referring to the fact that any simple chord is made of 3 notes.  Therefore, any given melody note could theoretically be accompanied by one of 3 chords.  The melody note could be the same as the first, third, or fifth note in the chord.

 

So applying this theory, the note C in a tune in C major could be accompanied by C major (CEG) A minor (ACE) or F major (FAC).  However, the note C is  also part of C minor, F minor, and a number of other possible chords that are less relevant to the key of C major.


Sorry if I was confusing, but yes, this was what I was referring to; each note having 3 chords within the Key (I guessed the key was Em) that could accompany it. In my chord testing, for the most part I wasn't straying to Cm, Fm, Bb, or any other chords not part of Em. The only bit's where I had to stray was with the A and B; it took a while to figure out those chords as they're not within Em. But maybe that's what you were getting at with it being Aeolian (I don't know what that means yet, but maybe it would explain this?).

I have played the tune, swapping out D for Am, and it does sound tonally correct, but I personally don't feel it matches the same sound as the original tune (linked above). That's not to say I don't agree with you; although my music theory is limited, everything I have learnt tells me that Am should be the chord to use here, and it was the first one I tried when testing accompanying chords. I tried Am, D, and F, as all contain an A, but I personally felt D better matched the original tune as I heard it.

I hope this clears things up. I don't disagree that, just looking at the sheet music, Am should be the chord used here. However, as I hear it, D matches the sound of the original tune. By all means feel free to switch it out with Am if you plan to play the tune, as long as you have fun playing I don't mind :)

Martin

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I know the recording of me playing the song wasn't the best, so to help hear what the song sounds like with the D chord, I have transposed my tablature to a bass clef, and uploaded to MuseScore here: https://musescore.com/user/37659330/scores/6861479

Give the play button in the top left of that page a press, and see how you feel. Again, if you feel Am fits better, by all means switch it out. It's all personal preference at the end of the day, as it's my unofficial arrangement.

Have a good day,

Martin

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6 hours ago, TehRazorBack said:

But maybe that's what you were getting at with it being Aeolian (I don't know what that means yet, but maybe it would explain this?).
 

Think of the white notes of the piano, no sharps or flats.

 

If you play a scale of 8 notes, C D E F G A B c that is a major scale.

 

If you play the same notes (no sharps or flats) but start on D and end on d you get a different sounding scale.

 

Ditto if you play E to e, or F to f, or G to g, or A to a or B to b.

 

So using the same 8 notes (no sharps or flats) but starting your scale on a different note, you get a different sounding scale.

 

Exactly the same principle could be applied to any major scale with flats or sharps in it.  For example, you could use the notes of G major (only 1 sharp) and build your scale on any of those 8 notes.  This is what this tune does: it has a G key signature, but the home note of the tune is E.

 

These different scales are called "modes".  They each have Greek names.

 

The Greek names were historically based on the perception of the "personality type" of people from each place, and how this links to the sound of the scale.

 

You can look up modes in more detail here.

 

As the arrangements of tones and semi tones is different in each of the modes, the selection of chords is different too.

 

I believe that it is formally correct to write (for example) E Aeolian with the conventional key signature for E major, and then to add sharps and naturals as accidentals when needed.  However, in the folk world, it is common to use the key signature that gives you the right sharps and flats, and avoid having to write the accidentals.  I think this perhaps comes from the prevalence of DG melodeons and the novice's perception that "this tune is on the G row" or "this tune is on the D row".

 

I'm not formally trained myself, so the above is not necessarily a perfect explanation.

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Hey Don and lachenal74693,

Sorry the reply in getting back to you. These are some weighty reads, and will take me a while to fully get though. I appreciate your help with all this. Music theory has certainly piqued my interest in the last year; I think it was having the circle of fifths explained to me that really got me interested, as it explained why my accordion's bass buttons were in the order they were.

I suppose my thoughts here are to clear up the main point of contention. As far as I understand it it's with the use of D instead of Am. As I've stated above, I agree with the music theory others have expressed; if this was a new song we were composing, or we were looking at the sheet music objectively, then music theory would suggest that Am would be the most appropriate chord here. Again, I agree.

However my point is that the original tune does not use an Am, but instead uses a D (as far as I can tell through listening to it) (again, here is a link to a version I made with the chords on the bass clef to help hear how it sounds, to help when comparing to the original tune). Unless I have misread others posts, I feel my point is maybe being missed.

I am trying to get my rendition as close to the original as possible. I am not disagreeing with Am because I disagree with the music theory side of things. I am disagreeing with Am because it is not the chord used in the original tune, as I hear it. I could very well be wrong, my musical ear is pretty amateur. But I haven't heard anyone engage with that point and say they hear an Am in the original song; only that if they were looking at the sheet music objectively that they'd use a Am, not a D. Maybe I have missed this in the posts, and people are engaging with that point, and if so I'm sorry.

I hope this clears up my confusion here, and hope you're all enjoying the same sunny weather we've got in Scotland today,

Martin

TLDR: I feel others are taking an objective look at just the sheet music, and not focusing on the sound of the original tune.

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6 hours ago, TehRazorBack said:

TLDR: I feel others are taking an objective look at just the sheet music, and not focusing on the sound of the original tune.

Martin

 

Well, to be fair to David, you did not post a link to the original tune until after he replied to the post of your notation.

 

Perhaps 'Music Theory' should have been called something else, this gives it an aura of certainty that I don't think that it pretends to have.  It is more like a distillation and codification of the best practices demonstrated by the musical giants of the past.  If you follow these guidelines then it will sound good (and familiar) but there is nothing to stop you making any sounds that you like.  I think that David looked at your melody line and chord progressions and was basically telling you that they do not follow these best practices.

 

The links posted by Lachenal6493 and myself are not really about 'Music Theory', they are both guidelines for ear players on how to choose chords - again, you are quite free to pick chords that are not recommended, but these selections work for many traditional tunes.

 

If you want to get an idea how music theory works in selecting chord progressions then take a look at this link - quite a bit more analytical.

 

 

 

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Thanks, Don.

 

I’d been keeping quiet since viewing the video, since it is so contrary to anything I have any interest in, I figured “Who am I to say?” Yes, it has the D chords with the resulting parallel 5ths (so, by the way, does “What Shall We Do With a Drunken Sailor,” a song that I feel pretty much the same way about).

 

Have at it, Martin. Go nuts. Just make sure it’s danceable.

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Morning Don and David,
 

14 hours ago, Don Taylor said:

Well, to be fair to David, you did not post a link to the original tune until after he replied to the post of your notation.

You're absolutely right, I did not take this into account with my post. I am sorry, David.

And I'm sorry if I came across as disrespectful or rude. I did not mean to be. Looking back, even a day later, I kinda wish I didn't send it tbh. I was just in a place where I was re-reading the messages (to find the links you guys sent), and it felt like I was being told off for something I didn't do. Having little sleep - it is unseasonably hot here in Scotland - doesn't help either XD

I have nothing but respect for all you guys, especially with all the helpful links you were sending me. I am new to these forums (thanks for having me) and the instrument, and although I don't often post, I do often lurk around reading lots of the forum posts.

 

10 hours ago, David Barnert said:

Have at it, Martin. Go nuts. Just make sure it’s danceable.

Oh lordy, I'm trying! I'm already at the stage where I think a better instrument would seriously help some of the fast in-out movements of the bellows required for a lot of songs.

I hope to chat to you all in another thread sometime soon :)

Martin

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18 hours ago, David Barnert said:

Yes, it has the D chords with the resulting parallel 5ths (so, by the way, does “What Shall We Do With a Drunken Sailor,”

So, like it or not, I imagine that the tune ("Rowing with One Hand") was written by a professional who was told that the video needed something like "Drunken Sailor" and who then figured out why "Drunken Sailor" sounds the way that it does.  And, like it or not, "Drunken Sailor" has stood the test of time.

 

So, Martin, you have your answer.  Don't give up on the tune but understand that it has its own idiosyncracies that are not common to many other tunes.

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