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Chords questions, notation, playstyle


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Hello I am starting to learn about chords and have some questions. 

 

When a music sheet has the letter of the chord on top does that mean you play the chord for the same length of the note below it? Is there anything special that needs to be done if the melody line includes the note in the chords?

 

I noticed that in the Gary coove Easy Anglo 123 book that the c chord is notated as being 4 notes C-C-E-G.  I believe that it is only C-E-G? Is there a reason to include the extra C?

 

I have attached images showing examples of it.

 

 

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When playing from the tabs in Gary's books, you don't need to worry about the chord symbols to begin with. Everything you need to play to sound like the youtube recordings is already captured in the button numbers, note durations, and bellows direction. The chords are a bit of extra description, explaining part of the outcome of playing the tabs. They can also be used as a starting point for developing your own harmonies.

 

The way the chords are given isn't specific to concertina tabs - it's typical of lead sheets. When a chord is given, it's generally assumed to persist until a different chord is given. That doesn't mean you need to hold down all the notes of the chord for that entire time, but the harmony being played in that interval should generally support that chord. In the example you posted, the C chord is being played in an oom-pah style, alternating between the root note of the chord (left hand 3) and its remainder (left hand 4 & 5). And sometimes there's some cheating (or gaps in the chord notation, depending on your perspective), as in that pull 4 & 5 that aren't actually part of a C chord.

 

As for the notes that make up a chord, yes a C chord is C-E-G, but it doesn't entirely matter which octave C, E, and G you play, and you can double up on any of them as well. That's what Gary's chart is showing - any combination of the buttons he's highlighted will sound like (or at least be compatible with) a C chord. You could add the left hand button 2 to the mix as well, but you'd need an extra finger to play all of those buttons at once! There are various reasons to pick different combinations of these notes when playing a chord, but the short version is that they sound different from each other while still sounding like the chord, and they give you options for moving smoothly (or not) between chords as well. If you want to get more specific than that, it's time to look for resources to learn some basic music theory.

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You can find  harmonizing notes by tying out button combinations and listening to how well they do ( or don't sound ) to your ears! Without needing to be overly scientific about the process. Play about and find out good sounding notes in combination yourself, by pressing several buttons together.. and you will eventually learn by experience. Genetally on Anglo if you press two buttons together same time you already make a 'third' simple sort of harmonising notes.  Press three together and you have a chord.

 

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The chord symbol will tell you which notes will "fit".

 

So, for example, the chord symbol C means that any of the notes C, E, or G, in any combination, will support the melody.

 

That does not mean you have to play any, or all of them.

 

A simple steady accompaniment is the "oom pah".  The root note as bass, followed by the top two notes.  So play C, then play EG.

 

(In waltzes, the equivalent is either "Oom pah pah" or "Oom (gap) pah".)

 

However, if you play oom pah at the time, it can get repetitive, and there will be occasional phrases where it won't work at all.

 

Other options include single notes, pairs of notes, and runs of notes.

 

You also need to be aware that other harmonies may work as well or better.  The note G in the melody can harmonise with the chords:

C major (CEG)

G major (GBD)

E minor (EGB)

And also with A7 and Am7

 

Which is best will depend on the key, the genre, the place in the tune, and taste.

 

As a general rule, start off by keeping it simple and not too crowded.  Leave daylight between the notes.  Too many notes too close together at the same time can sound muddy.

 

As you expand your repertoire of tunes, you will gradually extend your palette of accompaniment options.  You can then revisit the tunes you learned earlier and apply your new techniques to get different effects.

 

Also, it is perfectly legitimate to play melody only.  Surprisingly, although this is "simpler" (less complex) it can be more difficult to make it sound musical.  Without the interplay of melody and accompaniment to add interest, you need to work on dynamics, volume, timing, attack, fingering options and so on.

 

There are a few wrong ways, and many right ways to play.

 

 

 

However

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  • 2 months later...
On 4/9/2024 at 3:51 AM, Steve Schulteis said:

When a chord is given, it's generally assumed to persist until a different chord is given.

Thanks for that insight, helps to explain why my attempts at playing chords break up rather than support the tunes

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On 4/13/2024 at 7:30 AM, Mikefule said:

the chord symbol C means that any of the notes C, E, or G, in any combination, will support the melody.

Another useful insight, thanks again

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On 4/8/2024 at 10:51 PM, Steve Schulteis said:

When a chord is given, it's generally assumed to persist until a different chord is given.

 

True, but that doesn’t mean you hold all of the notes of the chord down until the next chord is called for. If you do that you’ll drown out the melody. As I said last week in another thread (I was talking about duet concertinas but it applies just as well to Anglos):


 

Quote

 

On 6/6/2024 at 10:59 PM, David Barnert said:

 

The reeds on the left are lower in pitch, therefore larger in size, therefore louder than the reeds on the right. You can’t change any of that, but you can address it with your technique. Just because chords have 3 or more notes doesn’t mean you have to play them all at once. Bounce back and forth between chord notes, playing only one (or sometimes two) at a time. If a note in the chord is present in the melody that the right hand is playing, leave that note out of the chord that the left hand is playing. Also, shorten the notes the left hand plays: leave some “daylight” between one note (or chord) and the next. This will decrease the total amount of sound coming from the left and allow the melody on the right to shine through.

 

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  • 3 weeks later...
On 4/9/2024 at 2:52 AM, Victor F said:

Hello I am starting to learn about chords and have some questions. 

 

When a music sheet has the letter of the chord on top does that mean you play the chord for the same length of the note below it? Is there anything special that needs to be done if the melody line includes the note in the chords?

 

I noticed that in the Gary coove Easy Anglo 123 book that the c chord is notated as being 4 notes C-C-E-G.  I believe that it is only C-E-G? Is there a reason to include the extra C?

 

I have attached images showing examples of it.

 

 

 

There are many ways to play a C chord (I'd only use that bottom C sometimes if I wanted some extra bassiness).  You don't have to play all the notes, or you could double up some of the notes (as done here).  No rules really - just use whatever you think sounds good or feels good.  You don't have to play the third of the chord (the E here in a C chord) or you could just play the C and the E and no G (especially, say, if you have the G in the melody).  

 

It's funny you say this, because I was literally only yesterday showing someone the suggested chords in this book - they're a really good starting point but there are often many ways to play the same chord on an anglo.  Even on a 20 button.

 

For example - if you want a C chord, you could basically mash together any notes on the C row and make one!  Or play cross row and choose your C from the C row, the G immediately below it on the G row and then the E next to the C - a nice triangle shape of buttons! (Triangle chords as I call em!  If you play that pattern of buttons up and down on push and pull you can find other chords!)

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  • 2 weeks later...

General the most folksongs start (and end) with the chord in whitch scale they are written. This means also phrases (or parts of an song).

 

Lets say, the song is written in C major, the first and the last chord is most C major (the 1). Normally you also need the 4 (F major) and the 5 (G major). These are the chords for playing most Songs written in C major.

 

Instead the 4 (F major) or 5 (G major) you can also try the parallel minor (3 down!), this is instead 4 (F major) the 2 (D minor) or instead the 5 (G major) the 3 (E minor). Also try the parallel of 1 (C major). This would be the 6 (A minor).

 

Try it and look, what fits into. Time tells you, where what is fitting in this or that situation.

 

Sorry about my helpless english language. I would like to write in German, but i am afraid German is in deet the foreign language here in this forum. Sorry sorry.

Edited by b13
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You can take the 1 + 4 + 5 (and all other parallel steps) into every scale.

 

For example if the song is written in G major (1 #), the 1 is G major, the 4 is C major and the 5 is D major. The parallels also 3 down: For G Major it would be E minor, for C major it would be A minor and for D major it would be B minor (German "H Moll").

 

This works in every scale.

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Ah, of course: For Songs with minor-character just try the parallel major-chords (3 up) of the (normal) fitting minor-chords.

Edited by b13
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