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carlovian

How to play simple chords for folk songs on anglo concertina

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Hi Folks,

 

I am new to the concertina (Anglo 30 key) and I have learned a few Irish trad tunes which is great.

I would also like to play a few Irish Folk songs and I am trying to find out is there a simple method to play songs on the anglo concertina. Is there any chord charts on the web ( there are loads for guitars etc but I cant find any for the concertina).

Or is the mehod a combination of chords and small melody runs - if yes, any tips would be very welcomed. Thanks:)

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Hi Folks,

 

I am new to the concertina (Anglo 30 key) and I have learned a few Irish trad tunes which is great.

I would also like to play a few Irish Folk songs and I am trying to find out is there a simple method to play songs on the anglo concertina. Is there any chord charts on the web ( there are loads for guitars etc but I cant find any for the concertina).

Or is the mehod a combination of chords and small melody runs - if yes, any tips would be very welcomed. Thanks:)

 

As one who awaits the arrival of a concertina, I'm twitching sat here waiting, so never having played one, my guess is - in the absence of chord charts - that you simply need to find the relevant notes to create your own fingering. Eg, for Major scale chords, the 1-3-5, for Minors 1 -b3-5, for Diminished 1-b3-b5. Etc. Theoretically this should work. No doubt someone will come along with better advice but I suspect some merit in this suggestion.

 

I assume the problem with chord charts is the inconsistent layout of the keyboard from different manufacturers. Anyway, all the best.

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I would suggest that you attempt to write down on two large sheets of paper the notes and the layout you have for your concertina Push and Pull

Left Hand and Right hand. You can then use any chord chart which shows the chord and the notes that make that chord.You will see straight away whether the chord you require is on the push or the pull.Sometimes the chord will be duplicated and available on the push or the pull ,if not then play the tune accordingly

using the accidentals.

Al

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As a fellow new player, I can recommend "The Anglo Concertina Demystified", by Betram Levy. (I ordered mine on-line from the Button Box) It is well paced and organized, and comes with accompanying CDs. I started out with the tutor that came with my Rochelle, but I'm not a strong sight reader, and am impatient to be playing tunes, and found it to be a bit theoretical. With the Levy book, I can follow the music as I listen to the CDs, which works better for me. There is some good info on chording and accompaniment, and I like the way he walks you through building up the tune from the bare melody, and adding base line and chords. Also some very useful advice on finger positions and fingering. I got Levy's book and my new Morse a few weeks ago, and feel like I'm progressing by leaps and bounds. For the first time I am playing a left hand accompaniment with a right hand melody, which I grew frustrated with when trying to figure it out on my own.

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I can only emphasise what Alan Day wrote - thats the way I did it. After writing down the chord and buttons and push/pull I took a tunebook and selected song I knew with simple chords - tried to play and sing in the beginning without trying to play meldoy or harmonies - just practicing chords. I tell you - I was persistent (the family closed all doors available). Afterwards I added melody and replaced full chords by harmonies.

 

And that is the real pleasure - to work out what fits the tune best. Have fun and good luck!

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I came late to the Anglo (I'm 69) after years on other instruments including folk and rock guitar. I recommend Roger Watsons' book for chord patterns . By the way I am no way a music theoretician, I was scared off for years, after being rapped on the knuckles with a massive blackboard ruler by a sadistic music teacher who also slammed the piano lid down on my hands when I was 5, until I went to a Roger Digby workshop at Whitby last year ( he slams a pint down on the bar) - (see his fakebook via this site!!! I think he's on www.concertina.com )

 

As Alan says, make a diagram of what's available on your box, showing the notes on push or pull ( I make a hexagon with buttons positions and use highlight pens for Push/Pull which I use to mark bellows movemets) and then set out the chords you can get on push or pull. I think for trad music you can miss out the 3rds to begin with - so G chord = G+D, C = C+G, D = D+A, Amin = A+E, Emin = E+B..

 

I think it is nice to vary the pitch of the notes to give 'inversions' so you can go up and down the octaves and pick and mix to your taste. What sounds good to you is your style, so develop it.

 

This 2 note ( 1,5) thingy allows 'modal' chords anyway which is very folky. On the melodeon I leave out the 3rds on the chords on the bass end.

 

(Any chord 'triad' is 1,3,5 e.g. G,B,D ( see Brian Hayden on concertina.com site) but 1,5 is the guts of it

 

I wish someone had told me all this when I was young!

All the best

Mike

Edited by michael sam wild

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That's the Mutt's Nuts! can anyone give it credit? All you need is which way you pull or push so as I say add the third dimension of colour coding ( = push/pull) Looks like red = push blue = pull. I'm limited by the colours of Highlight pens so I use yellow and red 'dayglow' colours. Nafff but effective.

Edited by michael sam wild

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That's the Mutt's Nuts!

Uh...is that good or bad?? :huh:

Not sure ,but I've had squirrels on my nuts all week and that's not good.

Al

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I don't know where I got this or what layout it's for. I hope it's helpful.

Anglo Chords

 

Hey, you old pirate, which dead man's chest did you get that treasure chart from? ;)

 

At any rate, I've saved it to my anglo files. For the beginners and waiters for concertinas: it shows the left side of a 31-button anglo with a C/C drone on the thumb button. No charts like that when I was learning - no Internet either.

 

I learned chords and harmonies hands on. That is, I worked out how to play the tunes of the songs I wanted to play (which was easy, because I'd played the mouth organ before), and then I jsut started pressing the 2 buttons to the left of the melody notes. When you're playing in the home keys - typically C and G - this almost always results in a harmony. If not, you'll soon learn when not to do it. Sometimes the harmony is not the one you want - in this case, omit the button immediately to the left of the melody button, and press those to the left of it. If that still isn't satisfactory, look for a button that gives you the same melody note in the other bellows direction, and try from there.

 

drbones' chart shows you more complicated chords that go over 2 or 3 rows of buttons - I had to find them by trial and error.

 

Don't get me wrong - I'm not saying we had to "learn the hard way" in the old days. The anglo is not hard to learn. Just let it help you, and you'll have fun :rolleyes:

It's just that, with these Internet things, you'll probably learn faster than I did.

 

Good luck!

Cheers,

John

Cheers,

John

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Hi Carlovian,

I don't know as I mostly play tunes but with name like that you must have links with the wee County Carlow???

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make a diagram of your concertina,then spend some time talkng to a decent guitarist.

 

Just curious, why a guitarist - is there something guitar knowledge can give to an aspiring concertinist?

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That's the Mutt's Nuts!

Uh...is that good or bad?? :huh:

 

 

V.good, The 'dog's b......'s ' is the ultimate accolade! Nearly as good as 'the vicar's knickers.'

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make a diagram of your concertina,then spend some time talkng to a decent guitarist.

 

Just curious, why a guitarist - is there something guitar knowledge can give to an aspiring concertinist?

yes, understanding of chords and chord substitutions.

But that's something any musician worth his salt - except, perhaps, a fiddler or a singer - could tell you :lol:

What a concertinist needs to know is what buttons to press to get what chord - and a guitarist is no help in that respect.

 

You may be idealising guitarists. The guitarists I know are of two types. On type explains harmony thus: "Duh! Well, Bob Dylan plays Blowin' in the Wind like this" (takes guitar and demonstrates chord shapes). The other type (usually a jazz player) leaves his guitar in its case and talks long and earnestly about diminished chords and 6 chords and pentatonics and ... and ... and ...

Neither of them can tell you how the chords are related to one another on your concertina system's layout.

 

Forget guitarists - ask a musician ;)

Better still, ask a concertinist (who is, of course, a musician. As opposed to a guitarist, who is just someone who fancies oversize tie-clips ... :lol: )

 

Cheers,

John

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But that's something any musician worth his salt - except, perhaps, a fiddler or a singer - could tell you :lol:

Except, perhaps, a musician who plays flute, clarinet, trombone, or ....

 

What a concertinist needs to know is what buttons to press to get what chord - and a guitarist is no help in that respect.

I will emphatically disagree with this. What buttons to press to get what chord is both the smallest and the easiest part of learning to play accompaniment. I can learn that from diagrams and charts; the mechanics of producing those chords are a matter of developing finger dexterity. Those are relatively easy and I can do those. Figuring out what chord to play and when is really, really hard. And that I can't do.

 

You may be idealising guitarists.

If you want to learn chording, it seems reasonable to me to talk to people who play chords. Pianists are possible though I don't know if the kinds of chords you play on a piano translate well to concertina. Melodion players have a chord button which means they aren't much help with things like which inversion should I play though what chord and when they may help with.

 

I had never really thought about it but guitar chording may actually be very close to concertina chording. Relatively few notes but with the flexibility to play partial chords, inversions, arpeggios, or whatever.

 

Given the original topic - simple chords for folk songs - guitar players are probably the largest and most accessible group doing exactly that.

 

Good advice, Dick. I will go hound my quitar playing friends...

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