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Writing for two instruments

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It was that topic on this net. just of recent about composer wishing to write for concertina, and the flood or more 'ocean' of our enthusiastic responses in assisting their wishes. [They must therefore have been nearly 'drowned' in the myriad of advice received?!]

Then I have also found in recently writing for two instruments [ in form of duo] not 'duets'.  the Anglo to me is ideal in achieving this format.  I think it is because of its left, and right-hand keyboard set up, with the bass notes to left, and higher notes to right which allows me to hear where one voice can go with another, on the one instrument.  And then there's that characteristic way you can create a second voice by use of left hand whilst playing the right on melody line, as you go along. I see it very much as also a 'means to a goal' to achieve a creative objective, in music, just as anyone may well use a guitar and strum away, or keyboard.  Also, I believe that in making your first new tunes on a different instrument you do find a different and novel way of approaching musical ideas, that maybe would not have become so apparent on the standard setup.

My own 'duos' are really for any instrument combination, but I start them off on my trusted Anglo concertina often [with exception of lower tonal range tunes where I write them with my wooden chalumeau on occasions].

Either way writing using alternative instruments is a good way of seeing and hearing the world of music in a completely refreshing manner that I can only encourage, based on, and from my own experience.



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As you no doubt have, I find the C/G anglo right hand side particularly can sing out over the top of other instruments.  I find that all the time playing live and when I've layered anglo with piano accordion.  I've also found this with melodeons, which can be loud and dominant instruments.  A fellow piano accordion playing friend, who also writes tunes, said that he'd thought the anglo would have got lost in with the piano accordion, resulting in a big sort of free-reed "mush".  But he was surprised how distinct the timbre was.


Here's an example of anglo/piano accordion writing.  This one only uses the anglo as a single-line melody/countermelody instrument. So, it's a simple way to start.  The piano accordion has a lot more variation in how it plays and what role it takes when. Since then I've played with a piano accordion by using the anglo as a more rhythmic instrument and also playing smooth, interesting chords underneath a single line on the piano accordion.   The trick with accordionists is that they often like to do everything on their instruments (I can say this, because I play it and know the urge!), so it can be hard to get them to pare things back.  It's knowing when to take turns by doing single line melody, countermelody, when to do rhythmic jabs, when to play smooth washy synth-like chordal accompaniment.  It's also knowing when you might overwhelm the other instrument - how to give it space.



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Thanks, Kathryn, for that lovely dual performance.

So full of happy melodious sound, and cheerful throughout.

I have also been doing double 'takes'  of instruments, and it is quite a test of coordination in putting them together convincingly.

It's even more tricky when you use alternative instruments alongside.. for example my simple wooden Chalumeau, ( early wooden clarinet in simplest form).. because it has a cane reed, and a wavering quality to it, so when combined alongside steadier metallic tone of concertina reed, you get a very unusual mix of sound resulting.

I also use my late Father's two row melodeon/ accordion, which is tuned in the key of C sharp.

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