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The Wide World of Anglo tablature


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2 hours ago, Steve Schulteis said:

Ok, this totally nerd-sniped me. Here's the Ma Normandie arrangement from above rendered in my proposed minimalist system (I probably made some mistakes, let me know if you find them). For noteheads, I left the C row standard, and the G row uses a down-arrow, since I think about the G row as being below the C row. For a 30-button, the accidental/bonus row could use an up-arrow notehead. I didn't do anything extra to indicate which hand a note is on - I found that in this case doing so was more confusing.

....

I haven't spent much time playing from this yet, but my initial impression is that it might be workable.

Well, that's very interesting. I like it. I would probably add some button numbers, but it didn't occur to me to change the shape of the note heads. That would make it so you only needed numbers 1 - 5, even for a 3-row instrument.

 

Just what we needed: another tablature system! 🙂

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11 minutes ago, MJGray said:

Just what we needed: another tablature system! 

 

Haha, yeah, I've resisted the temptation to make my own tab system for exactly this reason, but the realization that identifying the row is almost enough on its own was just too much.

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I think I'm seeing two types of Anglo tab from these discussions.

 

For those who are "paper-trained" and can read standard musical notation, it looks like there is a desire to fully map the Anglo to standard notation, utilizing various combinations of clefs and ledger lines and symbols. This includes trying to bend various software programs to help accomplish this, including the changing of note heads, stem directions, etc.

 

The second type is tablature for rank beginners who may have no musical training whatsoever but still want to get some tunes out of the Anglo, with a bare minimum of tab-assistance to get them started. This would also include wanting to easily markup already-printed single-line melodies, as well as notate arrangements to remember later.

 

Both are worthy endeavors, but definitely two separate paths, one of complexity and one of simplicity. 

 

Several years ago I posted on CNET a table showing over 30 different Anglo tab systems that have been used in the last 150 years - no wonder beginners are confused!

 

Gary

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9 hours ago, gcoover said:

[1] I think I'm seeing two types of Anglo tab from these discussions.

  .

[2] The second type is tablature for rank beginners who may have no musical training whatsoever but still want to get some tunes out of the Anglo, with a bare minimum of tab-assistance to get them started. This would also include wanting to easily markup already-printed single-line melodies, as well as notate arrangements to remember later.

 

...definitely two separate paths, one of complexity and one of simplicity. 

 

[3] Several years ago I posted on CNET a table showing over 30 different Anglo tab systems that have been used in the last 150 years - no wonder beginners are confused!

[1] Me too. I just hadn't realised it - thank you for pointing up the difference.

[2] Not just rank beginners 😎 I still go for the simple approach with a bare minimum of tab-assistance,

and find being in a position to easily markup already-printed single-line melodies is pretty much where I

want to be. I already used the word minimalist and  Steve Schulteis also used it in the context of modifying

that splendidly scary system he unearthed. Minimalism is 'good medicine' in my book.

[3] I think you will find this table here.

 

I've also been looking at the (fairly) minimalist adaptation of the ABT system which I've cobbled together,

and despite having said I wasn't planning to do it, I now see that if you have an ABC file (I'm an ABC user)

with a simple one-line tab system incorporated, it's a doddle to change from one button numbering

system to another. I've done it by applying a sequence of global edits to the tabbed ABC file, so you do

need to know how to use your editor. This was a 'proof-of-concept' exercise, and I'm definitely not

going to modify my software to allow for different button numbering set-ups - too fiddly, and I'm happy

with what I'm currently using.

Edited by lachenal74693
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The biggest problem with anglo tab seems to be deciding how to number the keyboard.  The difficulty is that this is split between the two sides, so there is no indisputably right way to number the buttons.  A guitar string has a linear sequence of frets along its length, a button accordion has single rows of buttons, and these can be logically numbered, but with the anglo there are choices.  Do you treat both sides of a row as a single unit and number them from low to high, or do you number the sides separately? Low to high, or high to low, which reflects how we usually think of our fingers.  All the systems are logical, but they are not consistent with each other and not always intuitive, the way guitar or melodeon tabs can be after only a little study.

 

The other problem seems to be that some systems (such as the one showed in the starting post of this thread) try to combine the tab with the musical stave, and it ends up looking cluttered.  The dots should show you what to play, the tab shows you how to play it.  I think it is clearer if these can be separated (guitar and CADB melodeon tab usually show the tablature as an entirely separate stave below the conventional notation).  Some systems do this better than others.  

 

 

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"but still want to get some tunes out of the Anglo, with a bare minimum of tab-assistance to get them started."

((quote GCoover)

This me think is Gary's gift to the Anglo community.  I have no idea this be true, but I guess that those tune books are at least partially responsible for Anglo likely outselling English, etc.  4 or 5 to 1 these past years. 

When us beginners can play a few tunes "right away" with the tabs + YouTube, one is SOLD.  You can play a melody and a chord and bass or 2 right away.

One can always learn dots, other tabs or whatnot next, but simple tabs of popular tunes + video = love. IMO.

 

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[Apologies in advance if this seems like a thread hijack.  I’m new to both C.net and the concertina, so I welcome any etiquette corrections if I should be posting this elsewhere]

 

My question is for the Duet players out there:  Do any of you use any kind of tablature, or is this just an Anglo thing?

 

I’ve just started teaching myself Hayden DC (Elise) over the past month.  While I’m not yet dealing with anything at all complicated, so far it seems like the simplest approach is to just use sheet music notation, with only the occasional fingering indication [using arabic numerals 1-4 — like piano sheet music, but 1= index finger, rather than thumb] when the “normal” Hayden fingering is unavailable.  

 

For example, on the RH of a Hayden, when in the key of C, both D and G are played by finger 2 — so a leap from D to G (or back again) requires some kind of non-standard fingering.  So far, I don’t have a universal heuristic for addressing these “double” fingerings — I either use a non-standard fingering before or after the double fingering, depending upon what’s going on in the melody.  The fingering indication can be useful for remembering the least-bad workaround I’ve come up with.

 

Although my hand independence still sucks (I don’t have any prior experience with piano or other “multi-voice” instruments), it seems like the best way for a beginner to notate a chordal (homophonic) accompaniment is using fakebook notation [eg, Amin, Dsus4, etc.].  I suspect that as I get more comfortable with the transposing nature of the Hayden, it may be more parsimonious to just switch to roman numeral notation.  Even farther over the horizon lies true polyphonic arranging, but it seems like the optimal notation for that will be standard grand staff notation [although the compass of the LH on the Elise straddles the bass and treble clef in a rather awkward way].

 

Since I’m figuring this all out on my own, I want to make sure that I’m not going down some kind of pedagogic cul-de-sac.  If there’s a standard tab system that DC players use in lieu of “dots”, I’d really appreciate being pointed in the right direction by those of you who have already walked this path.

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On 8/21/2021 at 6:38 PM, PortableOrgan said:

so far it seems like the simplest approach is to just use sheet music notation, with only the occasional fingering indication [using arabic numerals 1-4 — like piano sheet music, but 1= index finger, rather than thumb] when the “normal” Hayden fingering is unavailable.

Yes, that is what I do.  No tabs.

On 8/21/2021 at 6:38 PM, PortableOrgan said:

it seems like the best way for a beginner to notate a chordal (homophonic) accompaniment is using fakebook notation [eg, Amin, Dsus4, etc.].  I suspect that as I get more comfortable with the transposing nature of the Hayden, it may be more parsimonious to just switch to roman numeral notation.  

Yes to the chordal notation spelled out, I have never tried using roman numeral notation.  I rarely use more than a couple of notes of the chord in the left hand side as it is simply too loud to hear the melody.  I have recently started to add occasional chordal tones on the right hand side but I have a long way to go on that journey.

 

Transposing - wherever possible I try to imagine that I am still playing in the original key but starting at a different place on the keyboard.

 

On 8/21/2021 at 6:38 PM, PortableOrgan said:

polyphonic arranging, but it seems like the optimal notation for that will be standard grand staff notation [although the compass of the LH on the Elise straddles the bass and treble clef in a rather awkward way]

An alternative to the standard grand staff notation is to use (I think it is called) the octave clef instead of the bass clef.  Basically it is the same as the treble clef except the notes are sounded an octave lower so for the Hayden duet the button locations (not the fingers used) correspond from side to side.  This notation does have some drawbacks in that it kind of forces you to play a note on the side of the concertina that it is notated whereas the grand staff just tells you to play a note as it sounds wherever you find it.  On the other hand figuring out intervals between the two side is easier with the octave clef.  It is also only one clef to learn the note locations.

 

Brian Hayden's All Systems Duet Concertina Tutor uses octave clef notation although he calls it something else.

 

 

Edited by Don Taylor
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For  EC and duet systems there is no need for tablature, as each note on the stave maps to a single button (although duettists may have to cope with a small overlap).  Why would you learn a button numbering system, when it is more useful to learn where to find each note on the keyboard by name?

 

The reason tab is useful for anglos is that there isn't this one-to-one relationship between notes and buttons.  Most notes can be played on two buttons, and sometimes three, and in either bellows direction.  The player not only has to know which note to play, but which button on the keyboard is the best option for that note in that particular phrase of music.  The same note may be played on different buttons at different points in the tune, either to facilitate fingering or to fit in with the chords.  Tab is a way of recording these choices, either for teaching or as an aide-memoire.

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On 8/8/2021 at 2:22 AM, MJGray said:

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But for most of the tunes in the book, on upper and lower staves indicating the left and right hands, respectively. Note that the numbers are only put next to notes that have changed from the previous note or measure:

 

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I find this remarkably clear, it makes an easy-to-see connection between the notes in standard notation and their fingerings, and it's the only tablature system I've run across that I can come close to "sight-reading", although it's not that close. (I'm not that good a musician, really. I have fun, though!)

 

Thanks for the link to this tutor, which I found both interesting and amusing to read. However the second tune above had me stumped, because since the left hand is written an octave lower than normal, I wondered if it was for a sort of hybrid baritone/treble Anglo. However, the explanation is at the top of page 25, although I don't really understand why he didn't simply use an octave clef to indicate this. His musical catechism dialogue in the introduction is very comprehensive and this seems a striking omission.

A second thought is although I see the logic in writing the left hand an octave lower, why not do the same for the right hand to get rid of those multiple ledger lines? If you want to arrange music for the Anglo using bass and treble clefs, it's worth transposing both sides down an octave for this reason. Also, if you get can used to reading in this way, it opens up a lot more keyboard arrangements which tend to be written in this range.

 

Adrian

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Edited by adrian brown
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Glad you found it entertaining! I have to admit I didn't notice the left hand notes being transposed an octave down, because I learned to read music as a clarinet player in junior high and never had any cause to use a bass clef. 🙂

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This brings up one of the major stumbling blocks in trying to notate the Anglo in standard musical notation since middle C is in the middle of the left side. What to do about potentially excessive ledger lines (top and bottom) if notating both treble and bass clefs? Some use two treble clefs, some an octave low. 

 

I've made the conscious decision to only show the melody notes in real pitch, but Adrian makes an excellent point about being able to read an octave lower and being able to access a wide world of printed scores.

 

For my limited cranial capacity I think I'll stick with numbers and overscore lines!

 

Gary

 

 

Edited by gcoover
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