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French tunes and/or campfire songs


Librarylucy
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I have really been enjoying learning songs/tunes from Gary Coover's books. I was wondering if Gary might consider doing a book of some traditional French songs like "La Vie en Rose" by Edith Piaf and "La Mer" (Somewhere beyond the sea), etc. Another suggestion is campfire songs like You Are My Sunshine, This Land is Your Land, . . . Lucy

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Glad to hear you are finding the books helpful! Unfortunately the songs you reference are still very much under copyright, which is a huge pain to track down, and then the big music publishers typically want $150+ minimum per song for print permission. That's why there are no Cyril Tawney songs in any of the sea songs books, really sad.

 

If a song was written pre-1924 it is in the public domain and free to use, so that's why I mostly concentrate on traditional material or tunes where I can contact the composer directly. Barbara Steinger at Akkordeonschule Aarau in Switzerland is working on a book of traditional tunes from that area so maybe it might include a few French tunes.

 

If anyone wants to work up a bunch of tunes from any of the Malicorne albums that would be wonderful!

 

Gary

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Thanks, Gary, I understand. I can figure out the melody of those songs but it's the accompaniments (the left hand) that sometimes vexes me. And yes, I love your books and your arrangements! 

Edited by Librarylucy
Misspelling
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One thing you can do for starters is search the internet for the sheet music or lyrics with the chords - they probably won't be in the key you want so you'll have to transpose everything. And then that might not fit your instrument or have the notes you need in the same directions so you'll have to transpose again until you find something that works.

 

You can also use something like the Amazing Slow Downer program (which definitely lives up to its name) to try and figure things out by ear by easily changing the pitch and/or the speed. I've used both methods to work up things like "Over the Rainbow", "Moulin Rouge", "Love of My Life", "Eleanor Plunkett", as well as some of the J-rock tunes of SCANDAL like "Shunkan Sentimental".

 

And then once you know what the chords are, find the corresponding buttons and through a lengthy-but-fun process of trial and error, find where the notes are and in which direction, decide how much of the chord to play, when to play the various notes high or low, or maybe no thirds or maybe only one or two or three of the notes. You don't want to overpower the melody with a big heavy chord, so sometimes just a few notes or an arpeggio of sorts will do the trick. Sometimes you hold off and add some notes of the chord later to fill in some gaps in the rhythm. When you don't have the right notes in the right direction, you can default to no chord at all or maybe play some octaves instead and everyone will think you did it intentionally just to add some variety! And there will likely be times you will need to change the direction of the melody notes to fit the chords you want to play. 

 

Playing along with the recording (at varying speeds) will really help you focus on maintaining the rhythm and feel of the tune, and by ploughing through regardless you'll make mistakes that might lead to ways that work better. Nothing wrong with a little (or a lot) of experimentation!

 

At the end of the day it boils down to what works and what sounds good to you - and that will probably change as you play the tune and learn more about it and how you want it to sound. It's not an easy process, but it is a great voyage of discovery that can have some really surprising results that will teach you a lot about what you and your instrument  are capable of. 

 

Gary

 

 

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Thanks for all those great tips! That is so helpful! I got a 20-key Anglo concertina a few years ago and it's such a fun little instrument. I got your Easy Anglo 1-2-3 book at the same time. At first, I thought, I'll never get this, then I kept practicing and finally something clicked and I continue to get a little better as I practice. I also have your Civil War, Christmas, and Sea Songs concertina books. Drunken Sailor is one of my favorites to play. My husband plays with me on the mandolin. Thanks again for all the great tips! Lucy

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In case you might be wanting to compile your own collection of French songs, allow me to point you towards these sources:

1) "Les Fraises et les Framboises" which has a good, rousing chorus. Words my offend some folk, since they include euphemisms for sexual activity. Still, it's fun to play. Transpose to C for your 20-button instrument: http://abcnotation.com/tunePage?a=trillian.mit.edu/~jc/music/abc/Contra/NEFRT/0038

2) "Ah! Si mon Moine Voulait Danser" notes in several keys (C, G, F): https://www.google.com/search?lr=&as_qdr=all&source=univ&tbm=isch&q=notes+ABC+OR+score+"Si+mon+moine+voulait+danser"&safe=images&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwiRmbq2--rxAhWWbc0KHTyjDvEQjJkEegQIGhAC&biw=1286&bih=664#imgrc=WjTthkTy7_8dvM

The following book has words & notes for "Ah! Si mon moine..." pp.82-83.

3) If it's still in print or available as a used book (it's small, pocket-size, spiral binding) this is a really nice collection -- "Les 10 Plus Belles Chansons" pub., 1956 by Entreprises Culturelles, Inc., 399, rue des Conseilleurs, porte 17, La Prairies [Québec] J5R 4H6   ISBN-2-7614-0061-5 or perhaps ISBN-13: 9782761400619

Available in Europe : https://www.abebooks.fr/servlet/BookDetailsPL?bi=22876375904&searchurl=sortby%3D20%26tn%3D100%2Bbelle%2Bchansons&cm_sp=snippet-_-srp1-_-image3

and in N. America [specifically, Gene the book peddler in Winchester NH], sold thro' ALibris (different ISBN, i.e., ISBN-13: 9782761400619) for $30: https://www.alibris.com/musicsearch?mtype=M&keyword=ISBN-2-7614-0061-5&hs.x=41&hs.y=21

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  • 4 weeks later...

Hello Lucy,

 

One of the French songs you mention in your op - La Mer has several accidentals in in (C#,G# & A#) so it may not sound exactly correct on your 20 button.  I have yet to find a decent version of La Vie en Rose.  If you have, would you mind sharing?  If you need La Mer.  I can scan my version and send it to you - I have ABC'd it below the notation.  I also have Moon River-it's in C-no accidentals!

 

 

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I have this version of La Vie en rose. I'm not sure of the copyright situation - this post may need to be removed.

 

Edited by John Wild
removing attachment for possible copyright question.
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8 hours ago, John Wild said:

I have this version of La Vie en rose. I'm not sure of the copyright situation - this post may need to be removed.

 

It seems (from Wikipedia) that the composer Louiguy died in 1991, and UK copyright lasts for 70 years post mortem, so I believe it will enter the public domain in 2062.

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Thank you Alex.

 

I do not want to cause problems for anyone, especially concertina.net

I think it best to remove the file I posted earlier.

 

I'm not sure if I will be here to celebrate my 113th birthday in 2062, so I might delegate the task of adding it back then to someoene else.🙂

If anyone shows definitely that there is no copyright problem I can add back the attachment

Edited by John Wild
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