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Difference between the playing styles of English and Anglo concertinas

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So, I was just glancing at a book of traditional music that the author wrote from the viewpoint of playing the English concertina. Now my question is, what is the main difference in playing styles between the English and Anglo? Can they really do basically the same thing? Can an Anglo player play all the tunes in a book written from the viewpoint of an Anglo player?

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Wicked, wicked lad ye are! The blood has barely dried on the deck from our last punch up. This one has potential.

 

EC and AC are each played in numerous styles. Both have limitations and advantages. Some are more prevelent and preferred in one genre of music over another. Certainly the AC enjoys a wider popularity due mainly to the explosion of interest in Irish trad.

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The English can play chromatically (i.e. in any key) with relative ease - the anglo, on the other hand, becomes progressively harder to play as you move further away from its home keys. So with the English one can easily play music outside the folk genre such as classical music and jazz, whereas I've not come across many anglo players doing this.

 

On the other hand, they do say that the quick and constantly bellows direction changes involved in anglo playing give it a certain punchy, rhythmic sound that makes it particularly appropriate to Irish folk - the EC doesn't have this sound, or at least not unless the player puts effort into imitating it.

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I guess, with all the jokes aside, if Anglo Music is written with left/right melody/accompaniment, it may not be possible on the English at all.

On the other hand, if Anglo Music is written in one stave, with lots of notes borrowed from other rows for legato feel, it's really an English Concertina music.

If English Concertina Music is written in one stave (how else?), but with lots of melody/accompaniment parts - it's really an Anglo Concertina Music.

If Music styles demands rapid in/out on one button or three buttons - producing tonic/dominant chord effect in lightening succession - Impossible on English even if you have four hands and two instruments at once.

But EC player may drive AC player into depression by easily changing keys or playing from any source of music.

On the other hand, if you want to do bellows shake without Tonic/Dominant clatter - EC is the one to do it with.

But if you want rigorous in/out, EC will tire you as it's ERGONOMICS don't allow it at all.

As for easy keys, both, Anglo and English are centered around home key(s), and the farther you go from them, the less straight forward fingering gets.

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So, I was just glancing at a book of traditional music that the author wrote from the viewpoint of playing the English concertina.

Care to name the book?

 

Is it simply a compilation of tunes? Or is it arrangements of those tunes?

 

On any instrument, there's a big difference between playing the first and playing the second. And there's far greater disparity in the relative ease/difficulty of playing arrangements, because it's a rare arrangement that doesn't favor a particular instrument, though a different (and equally attractive) arrangement of the same tune might favor another instrument.

 

Now my question is, what is the main difference in playing styles between the English and Anglo?

Depends on who's doing the playing. Try comparing styles on the Anglo International CD set with those on the English International CD's. Can you identify a universal difference?

 

Can they really do basically the same thing?

As others' responses have noted, there are a few things that are "basic" for each that are much more difficult on the other (though I don't agree with all the particular claims), but at least when it comes to melody playing, I would say there are very few.

 

Can an Anglo player play all the tunes in a book written from the viewpoint of an Anglo player?

Some can, and some can't. But I think you meant "English player" for that second "Anglo player". ;)

 

Even then, I would say that unless the tunes for the English were specifically selected to be difficult for the anglo, then they shouldn't provide any severe challenges on a 30-button anglo if the player is willing to learn to use all the buttons.

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EC and AC are each played in numerous styles. Both have limitations and advantages. Some are more prevelent and preferred in one genre of music over another. Certainly the AC enjoys a wider popularity due mainly to the explosion of interest in Irish trad.

Larger, yes.

Wider? No.

The interest in Irish trad is huge, but quite narrow. B)

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this is a really complicated question (and i second the assertion that it could be the death of us all). i dont really know anything about the specifics of playing on the english, i.e. what chords are realistically possible with what melodic notes, what are the limitations, etc. both systems have their trade offs.

 

one problem with the english is that since it is so much more logical for the fingers, it is much more difficult to do such things that the english style of anglo playing is very good at, namely is playing a high melody and low counterpoint/vamping. this is because the notes are evenly distributed on both sides on the english, unlike the anglo where they are generally low on the left and high on the right.

 

of course, us irish players tend to have to fight this same battle, anyways... we have to play melody and chords with the left hand... so one could say us irish anglo players have an english problem! :lol:

 

but one thing is for certain... a full chromatic set of major and minor scales is possible on the english, but not so on the anglo (much to my consternation).

 

On the other hand, if you want to do bellows shake without Tonic/Dominant clatter - EC is the one to do it with.

 

what is your definition of bellow's shake?

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However, on English, octave notes change hands each time, so it's quite straightforward to play diads and triads underneath melody, since most of the notes you want an octave below are on the other side.

 

IMHO, it's easier to play English in an Anglo style than vice versa. People have commented that they think I play both systems for morris: smooth graceful legato with swells and lifts for Fieldtown and Sherborne corner dances and punchy melody over snappy chords for Headington dances, for example. Actually, of course, it's all English.

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However, on English, octave notes change hands each time, so it's quite straightforward to play diads and triads underneath melody, since most of the notes you want an octave below are on the other side.

 

On the other hand there are odd things that really quite awkward on the English as a result of the particular pattern of buttons, that might not be obvious until you actually pick up and start playing - sequences involving repeated fifths or tenths are very awkward, and playing parallel lines in octaves or sixths I find very awkward because switching from hand to hand means you lose much sense of the logic of the tune.

 

But it's extremely easy to playing parallel thirds on the English - lots of classical arrangements for the EC make considerable use of this (for example this arrangement of a piece from Mozart's Magic Flute), but it can sound good in folk music as well. And the ease of playing accompaniment an octave lower works for any pair of octaves, whereas on the anglo (I assume) it's only easy within the specific right hand range/left hand range that it's designed for.

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EC and AC are each played in numerous styles. Both have limitations and advantages. Some are more prevelent and preferred in one genre of music over another. Certainly the AC enjoys a wider popularity due mainly to the explosion of interest in Irish trad.

Larger, yes.

Wider? No.

The interest in Irish trad is huge, but quite narrow. B)

 

Point taken Jim.

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one problem with the english is that since it is so much more logical for the fingers, it is much more difficult to do such things that the english style of anglo playing is very good at, namely is playing a high melody and low counterpoint/vamping. this is because the notes are evenly distributed on both sides on the english, unlike the anglo where they are generally low on the left and high on the right.

 

Reading this and other posts, it seems that what distinguishes AC and EC is the respective drawbacks. Isn't this the reasoning that is often used to explain the emergence of the duets?

I've found that the Crane system, at least, combines the advantages of both, while avoiding the drawbacks of either. :rolleyes:

 

Cheers,

John

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Care to name the book?

 

A while back I was asking for simple session tunes and Simon H gave me a link to Paul Hardy's Session Tunebook. I had forgotten to put that I play Anglo and this book was done from the viewpoint of an English player.

I asked this question because I was wondering if I could play all the tunes from this tunebook and because I had never really found out what the key differences were of how these two instruments are played.

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A while back I was asking for simple session tunes and Simon H gave me a link to Paul Hardy's Session Tunebook. I had forgotten to put that I play Anglo and this book was done from the viewpoint of an English player.

I asked this question because I was wondering if I could play all the tunes from this tunebook and because I had never really found out what the key differences were of how these two instruments are played.

 

It should work out, assuming folk friendly keys.

Edited by Mark Evans

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Care to name the book?

 

A while back I was asking for simple session tunes and Simon H gave me a link to Paul Hardy's Session Tunebook. I had forgotten to put that I play Anglo and this book was done from the viewpoint of an English player.

I asked this question because I was wondering if I could play all the tunes from this tunebook and because I had never really found out what the key differences were of how these two instruments are played.

 

i just did a quick skim of the entire book (it's online for free), and yeah, there are no tunes in there that you cannot play on the anglo. actually, i find the tune book very anglo friendly. it stays mostly in D and G. there are some tunes with some accidentals that might be a little difficult if you've never played in them, but they are not notes or arrangements any anglo player would shy from.

 

here are some notes about things that may be take some work, but are still very doable on the anglo (from front to back of book).

"ashokan farewell" goes a little low, all the way to low G.

 

carolan's draught has Eb.

 

danny boy goes to low A.

 

there's some tricky stuff in green sleeves. if you know where low C# and D# are then you should be fine.

 

grogan's favorite has a high G#. this is pretty standard in anglo playing, if you play in A.

 

jump at the sun has some difficult stuff. Bb, high Eb. not too bad.

 

king of the fairies goes up to high d on the right hand. not a problem. just something you might not be used to.

 

leaving of liverpool G#

 

liberty bell--Eb, Bb, G#.

 

miss mcleods goes up to high c.

 

nathaniel gow's lament--some tricky G#'s and some written-in chords. for the [AC] chord, use the push A on the accidental row.

 

niel gow's lament (sad family, eh?)--goes to low G and tricky rhythm. yowza~!

 

princess royal--G#

 

rule britannai--G#

 

tam lin-low B

 

trumpet hornpipe--Eb

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one problem with the english is that since it is so much more logical for the fingers, it is much more difficult to do such things that the english style of anglo playing is very good at, namely is playing a high melody and low counterpoint/vamping. this is because the notes are evenly distributed on both sides on the english, unlike the anglo where they are generally low on the left and high on the right.

 

Reading this and other posts, it seems that what distinguishes AC and EC is the respective drawbacks. Isn't this the reasoning that is often used to explain the emergence of the duets?

I've found that the Crane system, at least, combines the advantages of both, while avoiding the drawbacks of either. :rolleyes:

 

Cheers,

John

 

Unfortunately a drawback of the Crane is it's lack of compactness, leading to larger size and smaller range. It's the reason MacCann was used by professionals, despite it's less logical layout. It looks that English system has winning ratio between ease of reach, compactness and range. It could be the only reason for it's existence. Drawing from that conclusion (perhaps wrong) we can deduct that those who aspire to play more seriously, having all the notes within relatively uncompromized reach and larger range - should choose English. If left/right is important, and your hands are smallish, or you want to play standing, or rhythm is concerned - Anglo. If you want more complex accompaniment and other, then folk music - Duets. After that, whatever best instrument you can find - get it, it doesn't really matter whether it's logic Crane, "quirky" McCann or easy-to-transpose Hayden. Those are little niceties, if you have the time.

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.

 

Now my question is, what is the main difference in playing styles between the English and Anglo?

Depends on who's doing the playing. Try comparing styles on the Anglo International CD set with those on the English International CD's. Can you identify a universal difference?

Certainly after Approx seven hours of the two collections you will know exactly the capabilities of the Anglo and English systems. As Jim suggests some of the playing is hard to distinguish the difference.

Al

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So, I was just glancing at a book of traditional music that the author wrote from the viewpoint of playing the English concertina. Now my question is, what is the main difference in playing styles between the English and Anglo? Can they really do basically the same thing? Can an Anglo player play all the tunes in a book written from the viewpoint of an Anglo player?

 

English players can achieve a smoothness, a fluidity, that is very difficult on the Anglo, which is why it's preferable for classical music and other genres.

 

Anglo players can achieve a punchiness that can be very hard on the English, which is why it's the dominant concertina for morris dancing.

 

While there are exceptions to both rules, I can usually identify who's playing what by that standard.

 

Listen to George Marshall's playing on any Wild Asparagus CD; listen to Jody Kruskal on the Grand Picnic CD. They're both fantastic players in the contra dance genre; the former plays English, the latter Anglo, and it's incredibly obvious which is which, it seems to me.

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Unfortunately a drawback of the Crane is it's lack of compactness, leading to larger size and smaller range.

 

My 48 button Crane is almost the same size as a treble EC and has a 3 1/2 octave range from the C below middle C to the F 2 octaves above middle C, more like my somewhat larger baritone EC. It is quite compact and has a useful range. I don't see the disadvantage you are talking about.

 

As an EC player I'd say that the disadvantage of a Crane is the need for independent action of right and left hands (I don't tend to think of left hand as for chords and right for melody). Another disadvantage is their comparative rarity.

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