Chords on tunes

Chords on tunes

I play the accordion, and i have ( and it is not always easy ) to find chords for my left hand…
I think it can be a good idea to set the chords on tunes, and that can help lots of musicians, particurlaly beginners.

Sorry for my english, i come from brittany🙂

Re: Chords on tunes

Hello! I have a feeling someone her will tell you that no, you do not have to find chords. They may also tell you that there are no set chords in Irish music, just melody lines. You will find some notation here with chords on it, and you will have people arguing over them.

There are no chords in Irish music, just melody lines. The chords that ‘backers’ play are done in the key of the tune and with the rhythm. The chords come naturally from knowing the tune they are trying to back and the key of the tune. I think your left hand may need to learn how to sit still and be quiet when playing Irish music, but I’m a fiddler. I’m sure they’ll be a box player along shortly with more insight.

Good luck to you!

Re: Chords on tunes

"Someone HERE", sorry.

Re: Chords on tunes

Maybe you can help me with something. Our session for tonight was just canceled & I will not see our box player.
On a button accordion do you sound a drone note with one button on the left hand & chords by pressing more than one button (on the left hand)?

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Re: Chords on tunes

I often play alone, and i need to set chords on left hand. I find the result more dynamic..
In a lot of case, I Don’t have any problems to find the chords, but it can be really difficult on some tunes.

You sayed :
"The chords come naturally from knowing the tune .."

So you mean that we can associate chords to each melody ? And why not write them on the abc tune.. For those who want to use chords, they can read its on the tunes, the others musicians are not required to read chords if they don’t want to..

Re: Chords on tunes

TheMuse

For your question, it depends on the accordion. In classical music, accordion used function as you say. One button for a drone, and more than one button for the chord.

I play chromatic accordion and i have drones +
M
m
M7
one button for each chords / drone

On diatonic accordion, the chords are more limited and depends on the Key of the instrument.

Re: Chords on tunes

Thanks! I believe his is diatonic. It is a Castagnari ~ same as Sharon Shannon’s. Mostly he plays melody but lately has added a drone note on some tunes.

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Re: Chords on tunes

Castignari ~ apologies to Sharon Shannon & all!

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Re: Chords on tunes

Some backers like to find their own chords, to use creative ones that still sound good. I wish I could explain it better. Also, notating chords is frowned upon by certain folks. I’m trying to report here, I wish I could be of more assistance.

Basically, when chords are on the notation, people fight over them, because there is no surefire set of chords to be played.

Of course, then you get that whole group of folks on here who will ask why you are reading the music anyway and not learning by ear.

Your faithful reporter.

Re: Chords on tunes

There are a number of Irish tune books that have chords that could be utilized by guitars and accordionists, but I know of no good web source for the chord information. As has been stated above, many accordionists in Irish music ignore the chords altogether, or play them sparingly. Part of that is driven by the fact that the chords available on a diatonic accordion are not always handy, since notes are different on the push and draw, and so are the chords. Our accordions also have less chords and bass notes available, generally four bass buttons (8 notes, as they are different on the push and draw), and four chord buttons (4 chords). Generally, chords are modified by blocking or removing a reed so that the third note of the chord does not sound, so it can function as either a major or minor.
Some people use their chord buttons in Irish music to great effect, but more often than not, you will find Irish players ignore them.

Re: Chords on tunes

Oops, I meant "four chord buttons (8 chords)."

Re: Chords on tunes

Come to think of it, under my left hand, there are two notes available on both the push and draw, so I think there are only six different base notes and six different chords available on my accordion. And there are no definitive guides on what chord goes where as many folks use different chords in different spots, so those chords in the books are more suggestions than hard and fast.
I am not explaining this well, so I will stop now……..

Re: Chords on tunes

Muse, some "ignaramus" must have informed you. You had it right first time - Castagnari (pronounced "-nyari", James Keane please note 🙂 )

Re: Chords on tunes

Count me as someone who would rather not see chords up here for most tunes (although a few of the trickier ones might help out some folks).


Also, I’m not God’s gift to comping or anything, but I will sometimes play a tune twice one way, and then the third time around, totally reharmonize the B part. Not Totally - but I’ll use a D chord to sub for an A minor in an A minor tune, and work from there.


One of the joys of trad for me is seeing the very different ways compers interpret the tune. It’s bad enough we have a gazillion people doing John Doyle impersonations. If this site included chords, we’d have a gazillion John Doyle impersonations all playing the same chords designed to appeal to the least common denominator.

Then again, it doesn’t HAVE to be that way. Jazz players routinely memorize changes - and then they don’t play them the same way, either. I don’t see most beginner/intermediate players being familiar enough with trad music to pull that off, though. Jazz players spend more time actually studying harmony and chord substitution.

There are some books out there that don’t provide just one set of changes for Jazz tunes, but layer several different possibilities across the top of the staff, for turnarounds, substitutions, etc.

Something like that would be good, I think, for guitar, zouk and piano players.

Re: Chords on tunes

Here were are at a worldwide website and who do I see but some character I’ll probably be playing with on Sunday.

When Mr. Van Steenwyk speaks about playing the ol’ geetar, listen up. The man plays fiddle and plays guitar, and when he plays guitar, he plays THE TUNE.

See ya Sunday, Jason? - Ian

Re: Chords on tunes

How to put Corduroy to Irish Music

And did those keys in ancient time

chord upon Ireland’s melodies green?

And was the holy chord of God

on Ireland’s pleasant ditties seen?

And did the accordion divine

shine forth upon our clouded hills?

And was a harmony builded here

among these dark chromatic Mills?

Re: Chords on tunes

Why not record yourself playing the tunes you want to develop chords for, then play them back and concentrate on finding a bass part? The reason there’s no chord parts suggested is that, as has been said, there’s no definitive chord progression of any given tune. And many people feel that chords have no place in traditional music.

In terms of finding a chords, there’s an explaination here that nicely explains the idea:
https://thesession.org/discussions/14640#comment301851
Above and beyond this, though, the Stradella bass system can be a brilliant way of creating really interesting chords and chord lines. And, unless it’s already very good, try to expand on your understanding of harmony and chord theory.

Re: Chords on tunes

excellent, continuo! That’s a great tune- it’s in my piano bench.

Re: Chords on tunes

rolupin, ton anglais est très bon. Désolé, mon français est très très horrible mais je dois travailler. J’étudie l’accordéon, j’ai commencé de peu. Je desire voir bretagne! Merci pour ta patience et bonne chance avec la boîte!
-Hugh

Re: Chords on tunes

Chords in ITM- depends on what music you are doing and who you are playing with.

WIth Kerry style polkas, slides and jigs, indispensible-no matter what the right hand only box players say. It is tough to learn and learning when not to use a bass when there is no good note on the left hand…well. And you need to learn Harmony note the capital ‘H’ so you can harmonize and know which keys the modes call for.

Get John William DVD which is available many places on the net. Some may argue whether he, Martin Quinn or Billy McComiskey are the best bass player… They are each masters and different in many ways. I am Learning John Williams because he mixes piper style and the typical alternating bass…but uses the alternating bass in ways that are unbelievable.

On the other hand the posts above mention ‘backers’…in chicago we some of those we call the ‘box bangers’. In sessions often the right hand is used by default unless you are really goood on bass, have played with the other folks forever so they know what bass patterns you play, and the backers are not too possessive about setting the rhythm.

But, if you plan to be a good player…you need to expend the time and effort to learn how to use the bass. And it is alot harder than it looks 🙂

Re: Chords on tunes

i thought da left hand was used for base… never knew u could do cords

base is hard enough if u only started…. but if u keep at it u should get better🙂
i only starded base last christmas nd its not dat bad after u get use to it….
all i can say is u have to keep praticing it if u wnt to get good at it🙂