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beginner tips English Concertina

The Sandman 15 Jun 09 - 07:39 AM
The Sandman 15 Jun 09 - 12:35 PM
bseed(charleskratz) 15 Jun 09 - 12:53 PM
The Sandman 15 Jun 09 - 12:56 PM
Andy Jackson 15 Jun 09 - 02:15 PM
bseed(charleskratz) 15 Jun 09 - 04:04 PM
The Sandman 15 Jun 09 - 04:48 PM
Rowan 15 Jun 09 - 07:21 PM
The Sandman 16 Jun 09 - 04:35 AM
Tim Leaning 16 Jun 09 - 08:08 AM
Carol 16 Jun 09 - 08:39 AM
Tim Leaning 16 Jun 09 - 02:31 PM
Phil Edwards 16 Jun 09 - 03:35 PM
Bernard 16 Jun 09 - 03:52 PM
The Sandman 16 Jun 09 - 04:30 PM
The Sandman 16 Jun 09 - 04:43 PM
Phil Edwards 16 Jun 09 - 05:59 PM
The Sandman 17 Jun 09 - 06:42 AM
The Sandman 19 Jun 09 - 07:03 AM
GUEST,.gargoyle 19 Jun 09 - 10:41 PM
bseed(charleskratz) 20 Jun 09 - 12:38 AM
bseed(charleskratz) 20 Jun 09 - 12:45 AM
The Sandman 20 Jun 09 - 06:43 AM
bseed(charleskratz) 20 Jun 09 - 10:03 AM
The Sandman 20 Jun 09 - 11:29 AM
The Sandman 20 Jun 09 - 11:45 AM
GUEST,.gargoyle 20 Jun 09 - 11:39 PM
GUEST 21 Jun 09 - 04:23 AM
The Sandman 21 Jun 09 - 06:53 AM
The Sandman 21 Jun 09 - 06:59 AM
Artful Codger 21 Jun 09 - 04:21 PM
The Sandman 21 Jun 09 - 05:13 PM
Phil Edwards 21 Jun 09 - 05:46 PM
bseed(charleskratz) 21 Jun 09 - 10:51 PM
Rowan 21 Jun 09 - 11:27 PM
The Sandman 22 Jun 09 - 07:32 AM
The Sandman 22 Jun 09 - 08:38 AM
The Sandman 23 Jun 09 - 08:37 AM
Tim Leaning 10 Jul 09 - 02:54 PM
The Sandman 10 Jul 09 - 03:44 PM
WalkaboutsVerse 10 Jul 09 - 04:38 PM
Tootler 10 Jul 09 - 06:10 PM
Tim Leaning 10 Jul 09 - 06:15 PM
WalkaboutsVerse 11 Jul 09 - 01:11 PM
The Sandman 11 Jul 09 - 01:22 PM
Bernard 11 Jul 09 - 01:23 PM
Bernard 11 Jul 09 - 01:27 PM
WalkaboutsVerse 11 Jul 09 - 01:49 PM
Bernard 11 Jul 09 - 03:36 PM
WalkaboutsVerse 11 Jul 09 - 04:03 PM
GUEST,Ralphie 11 Jul 09 - 05:20 PM
The Sandman 11 Jul 09 - 06:34 PM
Tim Leaning 11 Jul 09 - 07:41 PM
GUEST,Ralphie 12 Jul 09 - 02:43 AM
Rowan 12 Jul 09 - 09:42 PM
The Sandman 13 Jul 09 - 04:57 AM
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Subject: beginner tips English Concertina
From: The Sandman
Date: 15 Jun 09 - 07:39 AM

Here is a tip or two,for playing hornpipes on the English Concertina.
Hornpipes often have a stamp,on the last bar of each section,example Boys of Bluehill,bar 8,I play f# d f#,if the player reverses the bellows on these three beats,a good rhythm is achieved
it is also possible if the player does not wish to change bellows, to use increased volume, the use of playing the three notes in octaves,and putting a break between the notes[similiar to a broken slur on the fiddle]will give a good effect.
http://www.dickmiles.com


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Subject: RE: beginner tips English Concertina
From: The Sandman
Date: 15 Jun 09 - 12:35 PM

here is something more,
I notice that when I play a tune like morrisons jig,which has in its first bar,two dotted crotchets,which I ORNAMENT,that I reverse the bellows,on beats 1 and 4,.
on other occasions for variety I do not reverse the bellows,but carry on in the same direction for several bars,however when I do this,I give a little extra tug,at the beginning of each bar,on beat one.hope this helps.


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Subject: RE: beginner tips English Concertina
From: bseed(charleskratz)
Date: 15 Jun 09 - 12:53 PM

Dick, am I correct in assuming that "reverse the bellows" means go from squeezing to drawing and vice-versa? And, not being a concertina player myself, I assume that the English concertina has double reeds, i.e., each button produces only one tone, whether squeezing or drawing, unlike an Anglo which is like a harmonica where each hole (button, on the 'tina) produces two notes, one squeezing and one drawing.

Charles


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Subject: RE: beginner tips English Concertina
From: The Sandman
Date: 15 Jun 09 - 12:56 PM

it means either pulling to pushing or pushing to pulling.
yes you are correct about that and everything else.


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Subject: RE: beginner tips English Concertina
From: Andy Jackson
Date: 15 Jun 09 - 02:15 PM

I can see where Bseed's understading is about to become confusion...There is quite a different sound when keeping the same direction and changing buttons and changing direction while also changing buttons. I can only describe it by imagining the pressure (+ or -) build up in the bellows.
But I'm only half way through Capt.B's book, what do I know?

Andy


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Subject: RE: beginner tips English Concertina
From: bseed(charleskratz)
Date: 15 Jun 09 - 04:04 PM

Andy, If I am correct, Capt. B. is talking about reversing the bellows while holding down one or more buttons, not while changing buttons.

Charles--who'd love to be able to add English concertina to his arsenal (particularly after hearing Riggy Rackins play it so beautifully).


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Subject: RE: beginner tips English Concertina
From: The Sandman
Date: 15 Jun 09 - 04:48 PM

to be precise,
I meant play an D on one button,reverse bellows,play F#ON DIFFERENT BUTTON,play D on different button while reversing bellows.
so you play three different notes[in this case using two different buttons] changing direction each time.
the three notes happen to be crotchets,and they happen to be where you would stamp you feet if you were dancing a hornpipe.


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Subject: RE: beginner tips English Concertina
From: Rowan
Date: 15 Jun 09 - 07:21 PM

The same effect would be achieved the same way on duet concers.

Cheers, Rowan


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Subject: RE: beginner tips English Concertina
From: The Sandman
Date: 16 Jun 09 - 04:35 AM

spot on Rowan.


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Subject: RE: beginner tips English Concertina
From: Tim Leaning
Date: 16 Jun 09 - 08:08 AM

Just seem concertina of some kind for £100 in local music shop very tempting if we getting these free lessons and hints...LOL


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Subject: RE: beginner tips English Concertina
From: Carol
Date: 16 Jun 09 - 08:39 AM

Have you checked the bellows etc. Tim 'cos £100 is very cheap, is it an English or an Anglo?


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Subject: RE: beginner tips English Concertina
From: Tim Leaning
Date: 16 Jun 09 - 02:31 PM

Dunno mate didn't have time to check it out and wouldn't be able to tell what type it is.
It is maybe a student type one? It doesn't look fancy or complicated
Hope you are still going......


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Subject: RE: beginner tips English Concertina
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 16 Jun 09 - 03:35 PM

Here's something I've asked a few people. I'm thinking of getting a concertina, not (initially at least) to play melodies, but to play chords under my singing; the effect I'm after is something like Johnny Collins's Wind and the Rain or John Kelly's Polly Vaughan.

I'm thinking English concertina (at the moment I sing in whatever key fits my voice best), and I'm wondering about a baritone rather than a treble. Before I lash out a couple of hundred pounds on a Jack, for those who know about these things, does this sound like a good idea?


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Subject: RE: beginner tips English Concertina
From: Bernard
Date: 16 Jun 09 - 03:52 PM

Yes, Pip, a baritone is better for accompaniment because of the lower range. The only problem is they tend to be heavier - larger body, bigger reeds.

In reality the 'dusty buttons' (high notes!) on a treble rarely get used for tunes either, so the baritone would be fine for that, too - as long as it's not a limited range one with around 30 buttons or thereabouts.

If you can find one, a 56 key treble would be a good compromise - but not the one with extra high notes that only dogs can hear! Try to find one with the extension into the lower notes. My 56 key Lachenal Edeophone, sadly, has the high extension... as much use as a chocolate fireguard!

A 'Tenor/Treble' would also be good.


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Subject: RE: beginner tips English Concertina
From: The Sandman
Date: 16 Jun 09 - 04:30 PM

I have to disagree,I find baritones sluggish for song accompaniment, and therforea bit limited,they were originally used for playing baritone parts in concertina bands.
I find the treble the most useful for song accompaniment, as does Louis Killen,I believe K KENDRICK andDBarber use48 trebles.Steve Turner [i think ]mainly uses a BassBaritone.
I do occasionally use a tenor treble,but mainly for adding parts on recordings.
I would advise a 48 key treble,for song accompaniment,it is light,and therefore easier to play with gusto,it can be played effectively for sad songs as well.
sometimes it is very effective ,if the singer is a baritone to have a contrasting sound, rather than more baritone sound.
but still what would I know about it. Dick Miles


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Subject: RE: beginner tips English Concertina
From: The Sandman
Date: 16 Jun 09 - 04:43 PM

a tenor[viola range?],which is between a baritone,and a treble,and was used in concertina bands,is probably more useful[imo]than a baritone,or alternatively a tenor treble.
it is a long time ago[ 24 years],but I seem to remember the tenor was marginally lighter than the tenor treble,tenor trebles are probably more available.
here is a treble http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4K4-2laAOkI&feature=channel_page
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XpbufMUjN70&feature=channel_page


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Subject: RE: beginner tips English Concertina
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 16 Jun 09 - 05:59 PM

sometimes it is very effective ,if the singer is a baritone to have a contrasting sound, rather than more baritone sound.

I'm a tenor; I'd definitely want a bit of low-end oomph from the 'tina. I think what I'm envisaging is a bit different from your style, Dick. I'll have a listen to Steve Turner. (Thanks for posting that version of Streams of Lovely Nancy, by the way - excellent stuff.)


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Subject: RE: beginner tips English Concertina
From: The Sandman
Date: 17 Jun 09 - 06:42 AM

here is a suggestion for reversal of bellows on the morris tune,shepherd hey,key g major adderbury version.
first bar,four quavers b c db,in same direction,reverse for next crotchet c natural,play next crotchet c nat in same direction.next bar,reverse direction for four quavers bcdb,reverse for next note A which lasts two beats,REVERSEat beginning of next bar,play four quavers bcdb in the same direction,REVERSEfor c natural,reverse for next two quavers b c,reverse for final bar,play all three same notes.in the same direction,or reverse on last note.
second part.reverse for lead in note a,reverse for b g in the next bar,reverse for c natural note worth two beats.reverse for next barplay b g[crotchets]reverse for A worth two beats.
reverse for next bar,play first two crotchets b d,in same direction,reverse for c crotchet,reverse for two quavers bc,reverse for next bar play this bar d crotchet low d crotchet, crotchet g in the same direction,or possibly change on the last note.
this is pretty similiar to how an anglo player would play it up the g row,they would reverse a little more on bc quavers.
for morris dancing,copying the bellow reversalsof the anglo concertina[to some extent]is going to suit morris tunes.


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Subject: RE: beginner tips English Concertina
From: The Sandman
Date: 19 Jun 09 - 07:03 AM

ok,this maybe obvious,but prerhaps not for beginners,when playing two sets of tunes together,reverse bellows,when you go into second tune.


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Subject: RE: beginner tips English Concertina
From: GUEST,.gargoyle
Date: 19 Jun 09 - 10:41 PM

Thank you for the postings and two magnificent threads.

Your advice is outstanding!

Unable to lug a piano across country and bored with the bore on a wooden recorder...I pestered and begged and sought in a Sears Roebuck catalogue a "squeeze box" of the Moby-Dick kind - I was led to an accordian by my parents; a used one in a newspaper ad. (A "squeeze box" to them was a "toy.") At the time minimum wage was $1.25 - I paid $50.00 and my parents chucked in $15.00 and the extra $10.00 was earned through hard-scrapple negotiation on the seller's front porch.

I play keyboards. Your "TIPS" will add greatly (really GREATLY) to my accordian "technique" (which goes as far as "vibrato on the knee.") The "stomp" explanation of the "in-out" helped. Your music clips are excellent.

In my eye you have risen from an anonying egotistical English "ignat" to a fellow mudcatter. Welcome Aboard and....

THANK YOU ! ! !

Sincerely,
Gargoyle

Stick around through the next decade - I would be sad to read of your "Last Good-Bye."


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Subject: RE: beginner tips English Concertina
From: bseed(charleskratz)
Date: 20 Jun 09 - 12:38 AM

A fine appreciation there, Garg.

Charles


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Subject: RE: beginner tips English Concertina
From: bseed(charleskratz)
Date: 20 Jun 09 - 12:45 AM

Oh, and I just figured out a more complex meaning of reversing the bellows has been indicated: playing a tune a second time pushing when you pulled the first time through. Does direction of attack make a great deal of tonal or evocative difference?

Much of the time I have been totally at a loss as to what has been said here: what the heck is a crotchet? Are 'tina and other squeezebox players crotchety old geezers?

Charles


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Subject: RE: beginner tips English Concertina
From: The Sandman
Date: 20 Jun 09 - 06:43 AM

a crotchet is a one beat,if youare playing in 4/4 time.
direction of attack does not make a great deal of tonal difference.and sometimes on an Anglo[in out different note] concertina,you have no choice.


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Subject: RE: beginner tips English Concertina
From: bseed(charleskratz)
Date: 20 Jun 09 - 10:03 AM

Capt. Birdseye said:

direction of attack does not make a great deal of tonal difference

then what is the point of this discussion?

Charles (not trying to be pettish, just wondering)


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Subject: RE: beginner tips English Concertina
From: The Sandman
Date: 20 Jun 09 - 11:29 AM

its to do with rhythym.,and emphasis.
now,this is a little bit of an over simplification,but a good exercise is to take an Irish polka,and reverse bellows where a fiddler might bow.
paired bowing[pairs of half beats /quavers on one bow] then reverse for the next pair.
here is the first eight bars of dalys polka.[ea, ba,][ea,ba,][ea,ba,][g g bd,]
[ea,ba],[ea,ba,][be,db,][a[crotchet]a [crotchet]]
where the commas are indicated reverse bellows,the brackets indicate bars.
the e note indicated,is the one in the space on the treble clef,as is the a,the b note is the one on the third line of the treble clef.the g and d,are on the lines of the treble clef,bar 4 is a crotchet g[whole beat]followed by a quaver[halfbeat G]and two semiquavers[quarter beats B D]
another alternative is to reverse bellows on each bar,try both and see which you prefer.
the idea is to experiment with different bellows reversing,for rhythmic effect.


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Subject: RE: beginner tips English Concertina
From: The Sandman
Date: 20 Jun 09 - 11:45 AM

and here is another possibility,play the first three bars without reversing,reverse at beginning of fourth bar[pushing], next three bars do not reverse,then reverse at beginning of bar 8.
I noticed when i used this method,I was giving a little tug on every second quaver [half beat]to give off beat emphasis.


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Subject: RE: beginner tips English Concertina
From: GUEST,.gargoyle
Date: 20 Jun 09 - 11:39 PM

Ah Si Si Senior !!!

The above in América del Norte

Mariachi Accordion

Is a technique I know....

Sincerely,
Gargoyle

Capt....Your thread is incredible .... I hope to purchase a "small squeeze box" soon...you have ignited my childhood lust ... and without parental overpower ... and now with adequate economic means...I shall name her..."Rose Bud."


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Subject: RE: beginner tips English Concertina
From: GUEST
Date: 21 Jun 09 - 04:23 AM

Anyone really interested in Concertina Bellows technique, should also make a point of checking out the NINE YouTubes that Goran has posted, on this very subject.

You'll find them HERE

i.e. No 7 to 15 on this list!

On most of the demonstration clips, Goran uses a gorgeous 56 key Baritone-Treble, which I reckon would be a very handy instrument to have, for anyone wishing to accompany singing.

Cheers
Dick


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Subject: RE: beginner tips English Concertina
From: The Sandman
Date: 21 Jun 09 - 06:53 AM

hi Dick,
the point that I am tryimg to make,is that experimentation with the bellows,is useful.but that there is not just one method.
unlike Goran, I do not dismiss the method of using very little reversal,for many kinds of music it is very good,because it is still possible to put rhythym into the playing[using finger attack][dynamics can be achieved through the use of octaves],it seems pretty good for song accompaniment ,slow airs,and is closer[Although not exactly the same] to the way some Irish anglo players,approach playing Irish music.
the majority of todays Irish anglo players play more smoothly,than English morris players,of course it is perfectly possible,if the player wishes to copy Irish style anglo reversal,on the English
for morris tunes,I prefer a system closer to the anglo playing of William Kimber,which uses more bellows reversal.
so its horses for courses.
the system using little bellow reversal is very useful for legato and flowing playing,but can be made more rhthymical ,with addition of finger attack,and giving little tugs when going in the same direction,much as a fiddler would use broken slurs,plus use of octaves to create loudness at emphasis points.if the player does not do these extras,and does not reverse the bellows much the playing will be bland.
by reversing the bellows more often it means the player,doesnt have to use finger attack,and the other techniques I have just described to play ryhthmically.
Goran is wrong to dismiss,any system,and to suggest that Concertina tutors only recommended the method to prevent wear and tear on the bellows.
finally the proof of the pudding is in the eating.
listen and watch Alistair Anderson,he moves his bellows considerably,and plays rhythmically,without much bellow reversal
or watch this[it may not be your to yuor taste]but it is not lacking in rhythym
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ItcBocS_x_M&feature=channel_page http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eimMwaIqR6s&feature=channel_page
is the second tune[the Herd on the hill] of the set lacking in rhythym


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Subject: RE: beginner tips English Concertina
From: The Sandman
Date: 21 Jun 09 - 06:59 AM

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eimMwaIqR6s&feature=channel_page
I meant to include this,watch my arms and wrists carefully,it may not be authentically irish but it is still danceable and not lacking in rhythym


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Subject: RE: beginner tips English Concertina
From: Artful Codger
Date: 21 Jun 09 - 04:21 PM

I tend to minimize bellows reversal. It's always a bit destabilizing, and there's no effect you can achieve with bellows reversal that you can't achieve with more control using clipped button releases or increased bellows pressure. (Well, there's one--switching bellows direction while you leave a key pressed--but that's a bit mushy and seldom desirable, IMO.)

Some concertinas are stiffer than others, with less play in a single direction, but with more stability when you switch bellows direction. This obviously affects your bellows technique and preferences.

For the final notes of a hornpipe, I often add grace notes or accompaniment notes on the second and third notes. I may also want the first note to be more legato and the second a bit clipped, or to have the final note lead uninterruptedly into the following passage (which may require that there only be one bellows change, immediately before that note.) If one gets in the habit of reversing the bellows after each of the final three notes, it becomes more difficult to achieve these other effects.

Note that two bellows changes leave you playing the final note in the same direction you've been playing up to those notes--the direction with the least play remaining. In general, this is not a problem, since you can reverse the bellows immediately after the third note, or soon after. But if you plan to hold the final note of the piece (possibly adding a chord as well), you'll probably want to omit changing bellows direction after the first of the three "stomps". It's easier to add bellows changes as you encounter a need than to remember to not change directions when you're conditioned to do otherwise.

If you wish to play chordal accompaniment to singing, the choice of concertina type depends largely on how many keys you want to sing in, how complex the harmonies will be and whether you will be breaking between the chords or using more legato transitions. The English is the most flexible, since you're less limited in key, you can play the most complex chords, and you can change one or two notes while still holding others. It's also fully chromatic. But it can also be the most difficult to play, particularly if all you need is basic chording. For simple songs, Anglo is the clear choice. Duet is supposedly best for the middle ground, but I've never played one so I can't attest to that.

I find Anglos annoying for extended use because they're so jerky and they only play in a few keys (and players will play song after song in the same key and mode--grrr.) For a song here and there, they can be just the thing, but if I were snowbound in a cabin with an Anglo player, one of us would end up bludgeoned to death with a hexagonal object.


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Subject: RE: beginner tips English Concertina
From: The Sandman
Date: 21 Jun 09 - 05:13 PM

thankyou artful codger,an interesting post,no doubt we will hear from Goran Rahm,before too long.


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Subject: RE: beginner tips English Concertina
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 21 Jun 09 - 05:46 PM

The English is the most flexible, since you're less limited in key, you can play the most complex chords, and you can change one or two notes while still holding others.

Thanks for that - the last of these, in particular, is exactly the style of playing I'm intending to teach myself, i.e. chords with a bit of ornamentation.

It's the suck/blow thing that really baffles me about Anglos (among others) - I can't imagine not knowing where each note was all the time.


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Subject: RE: beginner tips English Concertina
From: bseed(charleskratz)
Date: 21 Jun 09 - 10:51 PM

Captain, that Alistair Anderson tune (or pair of tunes) is incredibly beautiful.

Charles


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Subject: RE: beginner tips English Concertina
From: Rowan
Date: 21 Jun 09 - 11:27 PM

direction of attack does not make a great deal of tonal difference

then what is the point of this discussion?


Captain Birdseye and Artful Codger have given nicely detailed examples but perhaps it might be said, simply, that reversing the bellows on an English or duet keyboard always separates the consecutive notes with (at a minimum) a minuscule period where no air is flowing across a reed.

Anglo players usually have much less choice in the matter, which probably contributes to the belief that Anglos are more suited to dance tunes. Players of English or duet keyboards, with good finger control, can attack notes with excellent articulation; Alistair Anderson and Geoff Wooff are two such players that I've had the pleasure of watching very closely to observe such control.

While there have been players who can get great variation of chords out of an English (even making the instrument sound like a duet) I suspect that extended-range duets have the edge over English keyboards in that respect. But, as has been said, it's horses for courses.

Cheers, Rowan


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Subject: RE: beginner tips English Concertina
From: The Sandman
Date: 22 Jun 09 - 07:32 AM

hereare two good exercises for the english concertina,play a one octave scale of g major,as staccato as possible then as legato as possible not concerning yourself with bellows reversal,trying to play eight notes on one bellows pull or push,then do it again but reverse the bellows after four notes.
then take the scale of G major,and play it as an anglo player would[if they were playing up the g row] g a b c d e f#g,starting with the g on your left[or the one that is the second line of the treble clef].reversing after every note apart from the e and f#,which goes in the same direction.
now, play the same scale g a b c d e f# g,as if you were starting on the c row of the anglo, g reverse[ a b] same way ,[c d] same way,[e f#] same way. reverse for high g.


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Subject: RE: beginner tips English Concertina
From: The Sandman
Date: 22 Jun 09 - 08:38 AM

another useful exercise is to take a 32bar jig,and try reversing bellows every bar,then try it every two bars,and see which you prefer.
one thing i notice that I do,is include lead in notes to phrases in the same direction as the first note of the bar[something that I notice a lot of irish fiddlers do].
most jigs have the strongest emphasis on the first beat of the bar,so changing direction every bar,although perhaps predictable,isnt going to be distracting from the dancey feel of the jig.
I think that I tend to change direction every two bars,and ocasionally,one or three bars,or even four bars.
its even worth experimenting,with changing occasionally twice in a bar ,on the first and fourth beats.
but the most important thing with jigs [in my opinion] is to get leadin notes to phrases ,the same direction,as the first note of the bar.


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Subject: RE: beginner tips English Concertina
From: The Sandman
Date: 23 Jun 09 - 08:37 AM

refresh.


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Subject: RE: beginner tips English Concertina
From: Tim Leaning
Date: 10 Jul 09 - 02:54 PM

Ok got a Chinese Anglo box with 10 buttons each side.
Had it 4 hours me arms ache.
real beginners question 1.
Should the straps over the back of my hands be tight?
Question 2 there is a button to let the air in/out on one end do I have to ride this with me thumb to get a smooth sound when the bellows run out of air?
Cheers


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Subject: RE: beginner tips English Concertina
From: The Sandman
Date: 10 Jul 09 - 03:44 PM

pm howard jones,he is a helpful man and he plays the anglo.


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Subject: RE: beginner tips English Concertina
From: WalkaboutsVerse
Date: 10 Jul 09 - 04:38 PM

If doubling the melody of a song with an English concertina, can someone do one line all on the push, the next all on the pull, etc? I accept it may depend on the length of the song's lines, but generally..?


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Subject: RE: beginner tips English Concertina
From: Tootler
Date: 10 Jul 09 - 06:10 PM

To answer Tim's anglo questions.

Answer 1
The straps should not be too tight. You need to have some freedom to move your hands to reach the more remote buttons. You may need to experiment until you find a comfortable position. When starting, it's best to play sitting down. Rest one end of the instrument on your leg and work the bellows from the other end. I rest the right hand end of the instrument on my right leg and work the bellows with my left hand, but the other way round is just as good if you feel more comfortable that way.

Answer 2
The air button is essential to playing the anglo. There will be times when you have to push more than you pull and vice versa, so the air button is there so you can restore the bellows to a reasonable playing position. Some people seem to be able to "bleed" the air button continuously while playing so they can keep the bellows close to optimum position. I have't mastered that, but use the air button to "take a breath" in a manner analogous to breathing when playing a wind instrument. It seems awkward at first but after a time it becomes automatic. Your thumb is permanently on the air button and you use it as you need it.

You will find your 20 button Chinese instrument will fairly quickly feel limited and you will want to upgrade. Good anglos are seriously expensive, so start saving your pennies now.

I strongly recommend you join the concertina.net forum. There is much excellent advice there.

http://www.concertina.net/forums/


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Subject: RE: beginner tips English Concertina
From: Tim Leaning
Date: 10 Jul 09 - 06:15 PM

Cheers Tootler and C'apn


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Subject: RE: beginner tips English Concertina
From: WalkaboutsVerse
Date: 11 Jul 09 - 01:11 PM

Refresh - re. my, just above, question.


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Subject: RE: beginner tips English Concertina
From: The Sandman
Date: 11 Jul 09 - 01:22 PM

do you mean by doubling playing in octaves?
wav,you can do anything you want,as regards the bellows experiment,I think it is a better idea to think of changing bellows at the end of a musical phrase,but really there are no rules.
for example if you have four fold bellows,you will be forced to change direction quicker than if you have six fold bellows.


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Subject: RE: beginner tips English Concertina
From: Bernard
Date: 11 Jul 09 - 01:23 PM

WaV... a lot of factors will affect this - the pitch and volume as well as the length of the line.

Low notes use more air than high notes, and loud notes more air than quiet notes.

As long as your fingers are off the keys when you change bellows direction, it shouldn't really matter much unless you breathe with the instrument (as I know some people tend to).

My Edeophone has 'bowing keys', which are thumb-operated air keys to assist simulating the bowing of a fiddle... but I never use them (except to close the bellows when putting it away)!! Conversely, I couldn't imagine trying to play my Anglo without an air key!


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Subject: RE: beginner tips English Concertina
From: Bernard
Date: 11 Jul 09 - 01:27 PM

I think he meant playing the melody at the same time as singing it, Dick. That right, Dave?


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Subject: RE: beginner tips English Concertina
From: WalkaboutsVerse
Date: 11 Jul 09 - 01:49 PM

Yes, Bernard - and thanks for that, both of you. I accept that there are different ways of phrasing but, with both vocals and recorder (and when reciting my poems), I always take one breath/line of verse; and, everytime I go into Windows music shop in Newcastle, I'm tempted by the English concertina on show..?


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Subject: RE: beginner tips English Concertina
From: Bernard
Date: 11 Jul 09 - 03:36 PM

Ah, right. With the recorder it makes sense to use the same phrasing as when singing. Not so important with a bellows instrument, because you don't 'run out of breath' in the same way.

It doesn't really apply with an Anglo, because you have to change direction to get the notes you want as often as not.

I don't have a preference as to which I use when singing - some songs I do with the English, some with the Anglo, some with the accordion... then there's the guitar, mandolin, banjo... that's why I don't live in a bungalow!!


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Subject: RE: beginner tips English Concertina
From: WalkaboutsVerse
Date: 11 Jul 09 - 04:03 PM

No Bungalow, but I think you must have a good memory, Bernard. As well as the cost, the other thing that's held me back from an E. concertina (which, as I've said before, I love hearing) as a third instrument (I've recorder and keyboard) is having to learn/remember new fingerings for my repertoire - frankly, it's a struggle already! If I do ever buy one, though, I guess I could choose certain songs for it, as you seem to have done (or do you learn them all on them all?)


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Subject: RE: beginner tips English Concertina
From: GUEST,Ralphie
Date: 11 Jul 09 - 05:20 PM

Blimet Rowan Geoff Wooff??
Thats a name from my past. He's the bugger who made me buy my first Duet when he emigrated to Oz! Haven't seen him in years. But I would say that he was miles ahead of Alstair Anderson as an English player (not dissing Alistair).
Sorry for the thread drift Dick, but you don't see Geoffs name crop up very often!...Now, back to all you English types...I'm a bit hooked on the Duet. But what the Captain says about changing bellows directions can give the Duet quite a bouncy feel too. Do it all the time.
Toodle Pip! R


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Subject: RE: beginner tips English Concertina
From: The Sandman
Date: 11 Jul 09 - 06:34 PM

yes, Geoff Wooff,he was in a band called Fingers Galore,with Ralph Jordan and others.
I booked them at a Folk club, I used to run, Royal Oak, Havering atte Bower,about 1974.
Ralph, keep playing.
I recently played with some Donegal prima donna[last week]who thinks he is the reincarnation of Luke Kelly,who had the audacity to suggest I played the guitar instead of the concertina.plus I cant stand people that imitate others.
I f###### him off
the whippersnapper.


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Subject: RE: beginner tips English Concertina
From: Tim Leaning
Date: 11 Jul 09 - 07:41 PM

"who had the audacity to suggest I played the guitar instead of the concertina."
Did he mean all the time or just for the odd song?
Sounds a bit rude.


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Subject: RE: beginner tips English Concertina
From: GUEST,Ralphie
Date: 12 Jul 09 - 02:43 AM

And there I was trying to keep Fingers Galore a secret, and you go and blow it!


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Subject: RE: beginner tips English Concertina
From: Rowan
Date: 12 Jul 09 - 09:42 PM

G'day Ralphie (and Cap'n),
I knew Geoff only from when he arrived in Melbourne, where he sold me my MacCann duet that I'm still trying to get going. It's my finger-brain connection that's the problem, not the instrument; I'm really an Anglo player trying to broaden my abilities. Geoff never mentioned playing in a band and was rather good on the Northumbrian small pipes; he went on to be a uillean pipe player and maker of serious renown. His then wife, Joan, did a lovely piece of leather skiving (kangaroo) to restore the bellows on my Jeffries without replacing any of the original and leaving the gold tooling on the endpieces intact.

Ralphie, I gather from various threads here that you're a bit good on the duet; keep it going.

Cheers, Rowan


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Subject: RE: beginner tips English Concertina
From: The Sandman
Date: 13 Jul 09 - 04:57 AM

Tim,his problem was that nobody in the Dubliners ever played the concertina,so he thought it was not as suitable as the guitar.
this greenhorn/whippersnapper seems to think that unless you slavishly copy the Dubliners,you wont nake the grade.
rather a strange/bizzare way of deciding what instrumentation should be used in a group.


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