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Phew, this theory thing is hard work.

But well worth the effort.


Answer to the original question, by the way, is that if you have a C/G and someone else has a Bb/F, to play the same fingerings, your playing will come out one whole step higher. What he plays in F, you'll play in G.

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  • 2 years later...
It's me again B)


I have Jason O'Rourke's cd and quite fancy trying my hand at learning the breton tunes. He says that he is playing them on a Bb/F.


Now I know I am going to come up against a fair amount of different tunings of concertina being used. How do I find out the original key signature so I can play it on my C/G?


I can play it as it is on my C/G (not yet) but I would rather know what the notes would correspond to if played on the C/G rather than Bb/F, then find out if it is a session friendly key or not. If not, then I would have to move it up/down until it was.


I suppose I need to find some way of having a layout of different buttons on different tunings, so i could see what note I would get on which button, so that I could work things out from there.


I have only a basic knowledge of music theory, and I mean BASIC. So I need really simple explanations such as button layouts, etc. Or even how many steps I would need to move each concertina tuning until I get to my C/G. Then I could work out if it was a session friendly key or not and move accordingly.


If you think you are confused with my ramblings, just think what state I am in :rolleyes:


Hope you can help.







Hi Sharron


If you're playing it on a C/G system, start it on A. I couldn't tell you what the original key was for it, cos the guy I got it off (the composer, 'Patou') played it on a bombard, which is in Eb or Bb. That's a nice one to work out ;-) PS Patou told me that when he played the CD to his father, he cried (he didn't tell me whether this was a good sign or not). All the best, Jason

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I am trying to understand why you want keyboard layouts for different key concertinas. I am guessing that you want to identify the starting note of the tune, and then work out which button is being played on a Bb/F box, in the hope that if you start playing on the corresponding button on your own box, you will be able to play the tune in a more friendly key. This seems very complicated!


The secret to transposing tunes by ear is to understand the relationships between the notes of the tune ie where they fit in the doh-re-mi scale. If you can work out which note of the scale the tune starts on, this can then be applied to other keys.


To take a simple example, if someone is playing "Three Blind Mice" in the key of F, the starting note is A. By singing or playing the scale of F major, you will find that this is mi, the third note of the scale, and the first phrase is mi re doh (A G F):


doh F

re G

mi A

fa Bb

sol C

la D

te E

doh F



This is important, because no matter what key you play in, "Three Blind Mice" will ALWAYS start on mi.


(If you don't know the key being played, it's a little more difficult. You'll have to experiment with different keys until you find the one which matches the notes of the tune. If you can play chords, this can help to determine the key. Remember, the point of this is only to find the key note (doh), so you can then work out where in the scale the starting note comes).


Once you know this, you can then play up the scale of the key you want to play the tune in, until you come to mi. This is the starting note of "Three Blind Mice" in that key, and from there you can work out the rest of the tune.


For example, in the key of D, mi will be F#, and the first phrase will be F# E D:


doh D

re E

mi F#

fa G

sol A

la B

te C#

doh D



In G it will be B (and the first phrase will be B A G):


doh G

re A

mi B

fa C

sol D

la E

te F#

doh G


Hope this helps.

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