I believe it worth devoting a small section to this as some tunes in E minor, on a C/G instrument, have their own particular difficulties.

1. Playing consecutive  E and B, or e and b.   In most keys the 5th interval – from tonic  to dominant – is easily achieved with the notes both on the press or draw, e.g.  D-A, C-G, G-d, A-e. And of course this interval is very very common in Irish music ( as in many musical genres ). But the fifth in the E minor scale is not quite so comfortable on Anglo concertina.

In both lower and upper octaves on the press  the E and B (at C4 and G4, ) and the  e and b ( at C7 and G7) are played with the same fingers ( in each case the middle fingers). So you’d have to ‘chop’ to play them consecutively, and at speed that’s a ‘no-no’.

You can’t avoid a bellows change in the lower octave, playing the drawn B at C6. In the upper octave, you should generally use  the drawn e at G5 and the pressed b at G7. But if you are really nimble you can combine the drawn e with the drawn b at C10.

Several  successive bellows changes can sound awkward and jerky ( e.g. the opening bars of Dever The Dancer or of Drowsy Maggie ). But with persistence, and playing in a relaxed way ( after a wine or two does help), this jerkiness is mitigated.

Aussie singer and player John Thompson with his 1859 Wheatstone baritone English. What a beast !!

2. Upper octave e,g,b in succession – in the upper octave also you sometimes run into the problem of playing the notes in the E minor arpeggio – e, g and b in succession. All 3 are available on the press, but again we have, as in the lower octave, the juxtaposition of the pressed e and b keys, both operated by the middle right finger. Now e and b are available on the draw ( at G5 and C10), and so is the g (at T7 or T10, depending on your instrument). So I just play that arpeggio on the draw (G5 T7 C10) where there would be too many bellows changes using the pressed g and b. It just means you have to get used to flicking from G to T to C row, and does require a bit of drilling I find. Examples of tunes which require this are The Maid Behind the Bar, Bunker Hill and Trip To Durrow.

3. G- F#- E (or E – F#- G) in a row:  Another problem with E minor, and in tunes in other keys notably G major, is the repeated bellows changes when playing the 3 notes G- F#- E (or E – F#- G) in a row . Now that makes 2 ( or 3) bellows changes in a row, and low down on the instrument can sound sluggish. I have got around this, as indicated above, by putting in a pressed F# ( see  Customizing the Anglo keyboard).

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