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Concertina bellowsing

Guran 26 Sep 15 - 09:59 AM
The Sandman 26 Sep 15 - 12:39 PM
GUEST,.gargoyle 26 Sep 15 - 05:23 PM
Steve Gardham 26 Sep 15 - 08:24 PM
The Sandman 27 Sep 15 - 04:16 AM
The Sandman 27 Sep 15 - 05:53 AM
G-Force 27 Sep 15 - 07:39 AM
Steve Gardham 27 Sep 15 - 09:21 AM
GUEST,Ian 27 Sep 15 - 09:25 AM
Steve Gardham 27 Sep 15 - 09:47 AM
The Sandman 27 Sep 15 - 01:31 PM
Dave the Gnome 27 Sep 15 - 02:37 PM
The Sandman 27 Sep 15 - 02:44 PM
Steve Gardham 27 Sep 15 - 05:18 PM
Bonzo3legs 28 Sep 15 - 08:38 AM
treewind 28 Sep 15 - 09:12 AM
GUEST,Stuart Estell 28 Sep 15 - 10:18 AM
Guran 28 Sep 15 - 02:41 PM
Alan Day 28 Sep 15 - 02:54 PM
The Sandman 28 Sep 15 - 03:32 PM
Steve Gardham 28 Sep 15 - 04:40 PM
Alan Day 28 Sep 15 - 05:54 PM
Backwoodsman 28 Sep 15 - 06:15 PM
Guran 29 Sep 15 - 02:25 AM
Backwoodsman 29 Sep 15 - 03:06 AM
Alan Day 29 Sep 15 - 03:10 AM
The Sandman 29 Sep 15 - 03:42 AM
Guran 29 Sep 15 - 04:01 PM
The Sandman 30 Sep 15 - 03:49 AM
TheSnail 30 Sep 15 - 02:04 PM
The Sandman 30 Sep 15 - 04:21 PM
Guran 01 Oct 15 - 03:04 AM
MGM·Lion 01 Oct 15 - 04:13 AM
Guran 09 Oct 15 - 03:20 AM
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Subject: Concertina bellowsing
From: Guran
Date: 26 Sep 15 - 09:59 AM

There have been a couple of discussions at www.concertina.net recently that might need to be commented upon since some misunderstandings come up in the messages involved.

The particular threads are these:
http://www.concertina.net/forums/index.php?showtopic=18031
and
http://www.concertina.net/forums/index.php?s=40c90973f7d6057c9108645057f4fd1a&showtopic=14746

Comments:

1. Control/efficiency of the bellows is better on pull than on push. This is a mechanical fact with all squeezeboxes.

Firstly, on pull the bellows stabilizes itself, no extra muscular effort is needed to stabilize the system and muscular resources may be recruited for other duties

Secondly, on pull the pad valves seal better while on push particularly on concertina models with varying pad diameter the low pads even tend to leak audibly with forcible playing.

Individual habits may mislead players to believe otherwise. In general the above means that mostly the strong musical beats ought to be on pull, not on push - analogous with downbow and upbow on violine playing.

2. Straight or fanning way of bellowsing.

a) Straight bellowsing traditionally has been recommended in many tutors since long time. The origin of the advice likely is unknown but my guess is that *makers* came up with it with the intention that bellows might be less subject to wear and tear. The playing no question gains from fanning in most situations, but not all.

The stability may be very much improved by fanning and particularly when using a "cross the bellows strap" which I have been advocating for since long ( and "Ratface" Danny Chapman who is mentioned in one of the threads has adopted )

3. WHEN using the fanning method there are two main situations to consider:
a) when playing seated the LOWER part of the bellows should be kept closed
b) when playing standing (and/or using a supporting neck/shoulder strap) the OUTER part of the bellows should be kept closed.
This is the cause of the referred confusion in the discussion which was related to the advice by Wim Wakker who plays standing and uses a neckstrap also.


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Subject: RE: Concertina bellowsing
From: The Sandman
Date: 26 Sep 15 - 12:39 PM

when will people stop trying to lay down the law
I call it Concertina Fascism, nonenties pontificating.


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Subject: RE: Concertina bellowsing
From: GUEST,.gargoyle
Date: 26 Sep 15 - 05:23 PM

I had never considered anything that Guran posted before. It makes sense....it is logical....I doubt that I would do it. For me the push/ pull depend upon the musical phrase.

I like seated, because a Parkinson's pulse in the knee lends great vibrato.

Sincerely,
Gargoyle

Just Do It


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Subject: RE: Concertina bellowsing
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 26 Sep 15 - 08:24 PM

These simply look like advice and recommendations to me, Dick. What law are they laying down?

Surely the type/weight/size of box will have some bearing on what you do with the bellows. Anglo/English/duet are very different beasts. What is fanning?


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Subject: RE: Concertina bellowsing
From: The Sandman
Date: 27 Sep 15 - 04:16 AM

"Surely the type/weight/size of box will have some bearing on what you do with the bellows. Anglo/English/duet are very different beasts."   Exactly, Thinking of use of bellows is important, but there should be no dogma about it, for example,Alf Edwards made quite dogmatic staements in his tutors about EC bellows, which appear to be the opposite of how Ali Anderson uses his bellows, each to their own.


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Subject: RE: Concertina bellowsing
From: The Sandman
Date: 27 Sep 15 - 05:53 AM

I think that what makes music and concertina playing interesting is the diversity of styles, there is no one correct way of using bellows, there are many correct ways,they all offer something different.


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Subject: RE: Concertina bellowsing
From: G-Force
Date: 27 Sep 15 - 07:39 AM

Don't even think about it. Like gargoyle said, just do it. Bit like breathing really.


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Subject: RE: Concertina bellowsing
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 27 Sep 15 - 09:21 AM

Have to agree, G-F.

Now your last 2 posts make much more sensible reading, Dick. There's no need to jump on people unnecessarily for posting advice.


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Subject: RE: Concertina bellowsing
From: GUEST,Ian
Date: 27 Sep 15 - 09:25 AM

I agree with the posts above. I tend to let the bellows do what feels right for the tune. Maybe that's me just being lazy.


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Subject: RE: Concertina bellowsing
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 27 Sep 15 - 09:47 AM

Again, while use of the bellows on anglo/melodeon, English style is pretty much governed by the tune, there are occasions when little extra techniques/tricks can improve performance. There are also tricks to be learnt playing fast Irish reels in Irish style. For instance our Chris once cut a fold out of his bellows to make the reaction faster and it worked! (I don't recommend this on expensive boxes unless you're really going for it)

I would imagine that there are some techniques that are worth looking at when playing English/duet regarding bellows, and I would certainly be interested in looking at them.

My main box is a Wheatstone anglo special, quite big and heavy, and I still, at 67, can handle it standing up without neck straps but I don't know for how much longer I'll be able to continue doing this.


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Subject: RE: Concertina bellowsing
From: The Sandman
Date: 27 Sep 15 - 01:31 PM

" There's no need to jump on people unnecessarily for posting advice
"These simply look like advice and recommendations to me, Dick. What law are they laying down?"
Advice and recommendations are fine when the people giving it are qualified to give it, the problem with the internet, is that people try to give advice who are not qualifed to give it.
if i have jumped on anyone its because they are pretending to be experts but are not expert players.


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Subject: RE: Concertina bellowsing
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 27 Sep 15 - 02:37 PM

if i have jumped on anyone its because they are pretending to be experts but are not expert players.

Seeing as the person you jumped on was the opening poster I guess that you consider Guran not to be an expert player? I must say I have no knowledge of his(?) playing so I cannot say if it is good or not. Can anyone post YouTube or some such links so we can make our own minds up please?


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Subject: RE: Concertina bellowsing
From: The Sandman
Date: 27 Sep 15 - 02:44 PM

I was not referring to anyone in particular.


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Subject: RE: Concertina bellowsing
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 27 Sep 15 - 05:18 PM

I would suppose the short response is to go to Concertina.net and see what is being discussed. It's a while since I've been there but when I did I found it interesting and informative.


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Subject: RE: Concertina bellowsing
From: Bonzo3legs
Date: 28 Sep 15 - 08:38 AM

Most concertina players should wear a face mask when playing to hide the silly faces they pull!!


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Subject: RE: Concertina bellowsing
From: treewind
Date: 28 Sep 15 - 09:12 AM

I'm sure melodeon face is worse, on average...


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Subject: RE: Concertina bellowsing
From: GUEST,Stuart Estell
Date: 28 Sep 15 - 10:18 AM

Bonzo3legs: I don't think concertina players pull faces any stranger than any other musicians, although we anglo players in particular seem to do the thousand-yard stare very well.

Regarding bellows control and dogma: I play duet (Maccann and Jeffries system) and anglo and handle each of them differently according to size, weight and reed response. To my mind, good technique is whatever allows you to make the music you want to make, without limiting or injuring the player.


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Subject: RE: Concertina bellowsing
From: Guran
Date: 28 Sep 15 - 02:41 PM

Hello guys, thanks for the response ! Of course there are lots of specific situations depending on type of instrument, type of music and type of individual performing... and all that a) make occasional techniques preferable b) leaves a great deal of personal freedom to get most out of it. Indeed no dictating *laws* or *rules* but the fact IS that many authors of tutors have done so and with dubious motives.

The actual discussion at c.net dealt with ECs - that has to be pointed out but I didn't. Since the Anglo ( and other bisonoric squeezeboxes ) mostly does not offer the same options for "bellowsing" as the English or Duet even when fully chromatic and even if all notes are represented on push and pull. It is still a fact the the *control* as I said for mechanical reasons is better on pull. Habits may of course may make you experience the opposite but that does not change involved physics.

Speaking about qualifications just a couple of words. I am certainly no expert player ( firstly since I am not a musician at all ). During the 25 years by now that I have been active in net discussions about concertinas I have come across just one more ergonomic professional ( Michael Bell who is an engineer) but no physician except myself having a specialist degree in ergonomics. There are a couple of other MDs who are active in c.net for example but sadly ( or wisely...) enough they don't speak up about anatomical, physiological, medical or aprticularly ergonomical subjects. This has meant that I have mostly been a lone shouter in the desert but as you see I have not given up trying to spread a little bit of basic information. I find it more or less a duty doing so when people are obviously confused or mistaken.

Finally ( for the moment...) just one personal comment - to Stuart Estell: The handles make enormous difference. The Anglo and Duet handles make holding and carrying the instrument less physically demanding than the ( entirely stupid...) English handle. Disregarding the differences of handles of course playing the Anglo, Duet or English is basically the same in most respects.
When speaking about *ergonomics* in general one of the most common mistakes is saying "Just do what feels comfortable for you" - even though this of course also MAY be quite accurate. The main problem is that without wide and long term experience you are incapable to know if the temporary *feelgood* will be durable or even causing ircurable disability from later physcial harm. Dilemma....

Don't let it end here - there are many more aspects to consider


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Subject: RE: Concertina bellowsing
From: Alan Day
Date: 28 Sep 15 - 02:54 PM

I have a recording of Guran playing concertina with a couple of his friends.Excellent work.
I find the first part of the points raised interesting as I have noticed that beginners have great difficulty playing notes on the pull,having a tendency to drag the note rather than playing it the same way as they do on the push.In fact it is one of the reasons most beginners have trouble with lack of air.
Many top players use the fanning system of playing their concertina and I have noticed a number of piano accordion players use this method.I am self taught so I have adopted a non fanning approach.
Nice to hear from you Guran the last time we spoke, due to health problems, you could no longer play the concertina ,which is a great shame as you even played at some of the ICA meetings in London and saw and heard some of the great old players.
Al


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Subject: RE: Concertina bellowsing
From: The Sandman
Date: 28 Sep 15 - 03:32 PM

I remember years ago briefly playing an EC concertina with butterfly bellows, Manipulating the bellows felt very different.


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Subject: RE: Concertina bellowsing
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 28 Sep 15 - 04:40 PM

What the hell are 'fanning' and 'butterfly bellows'? I've been playing concertina for nearly 50 years and I've never heard of em.


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Subject: RE: Concertina bellowsing
From: Alan Day
Date: 28 Sep 15 - 05:54 PM

I have never heard of butterfly bellows either Steve.
Fanning the bellows is so called to explain the action of keeping the lower section of the bellows in a fixed position and just opening up the top like a fan.Keeping the bellows static could give the player more control,although I have never tried it.


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Subject: RE: Concertina bellowsing
From: Backwoodsman
Date: 28 Sep 15 - 06:15 PM

So are they specialised bellows? As a non-box-player, I always thought that 'fanning' was a matter of playing-technique, a choice made by the player as he sees fit?


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Subject: RE: Concertina bellowsing
From: Guran
Date: 29 Sep 15 - 02:25 AM

Hello again,

Alan, many thanks for the comfort! If not playing the concertina I can at least try writing about it...In the ergonomic field I have written some dozen articles in the ICA newsletter "Concertina world" with about 50 pages text and about a hundred illustrations. I better not repeat it all here...

Steve, about fanning and other bellowsing ideas you may check a couple of Youtube clips of mine below. ( By the way - I introduced the word "bellowsing" some 15 years ago trying to simplify expressions like "management of the bellows" making it analogous to carrying, fingering, pumping etc.) "Fanning" - for my part was a translation from swedish - but it seems as if it was used by others earlier also.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wIpE38VoY08
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0c1aIVNC_84

Backwoodsman, to make the fanning method easier and more efficient accordion players may keep the lower bellows locking strap locked while playing. To arrange this with concertinas I introduced a "cross the bellows strap" ( preferrably an elastic one ore even two or three) fastened between (lower) endbolts. This of course limits the total volume capacity and can not always be used, but when playing with frequent changes of bellows direction the efficiency ( and tonal control! ) is so much increased that the loss of volume is compensated.
So - there are no special bellows for "fanning". It is a bellowsing technique firstly opposite to the more traditional straight way of pumping. (see the first YT clip above )

Generally: With the English the thumbstrap/fingerplate arrangement can only be regarded as a historic mistake. The Anglo/Duet handle is not ideal either. The best, to my knowledge and opinion, is a combination including a support for the wrist to improve the hand position, BUT - very important ! - the Anglo/Duet *handstrap* locks the hand in an awkward position.A *wrist strap* better be used so that the hand may move more freely.
The dilemmmas with the fingerplate are exposed in this article:

http://www.concertina.net/forums/index.php?showtopic=225&hl=%2Bfinger+%2Bplate


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Subject: RE: Concertina bellowsing
From: Backwoodsman
Date: 29 Sep 15 - 03:06 AM

Thanks Guran.


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Subject: RE: Concertina bellowsing
From: Alan Day
Date: 29 Sep 15 - 03:10 AM

If you look at any Utubes of Edel Fox she mainly uses the fanning method of playing.She was not aware of it when I chatted to her at Lewes.lovely player and a lovely lady.
Al


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Subject: RE: Concertina bellowsing
From: The Sandman
Date: 29 Sep 15 - 03:42 AM

Butterfly Bellows, Is not a system of playing, although the bellows feel very different when you play,to begin with they feel very floppy, probably better to ask someone like Stephen Chambers, I believe they are/were constructed differently.


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Subject: RE: Concertina bellowsing
From: Guran
Date: 29 Sep 15 - 04:01 PM

Different bellows constructions...butterflies or others...

The material - paper, cardboard, leather of course makes a difference but regarding measures I have noticed at least 4 variants:

1.1 Oldish style bellows seem to have generally a cross section ( transverse "diameter" 5-10mm smaller than the endplates
1.2 Later makers seemingly more often make the bellows as wide as the endpalte. Volume increases this way and if similar materials are used I think the flexibility mostly is less than with 1.1. This may be an advantage or a disadvantage depending on what you want of course. IF using straight pumping you want the bellows rather rigid and stable - if praactising fanning greater flexibility is demanded. Opinions?
2.1 The depth of the folds may vary. Oldish style bellows mostly had deeper folds I think
2.2 Later makers seem to use less deep folds which also mostly makes the bellows more solid/stable.

Generally oldish style bellows ( 1.1 and 2.1 ) thus are "floppier" than modern ones. I think this is very important to keep in mind and also to conscíously choose the type of bellows construction suitable for individual/occasional playing method and musical idiom.

Somwe examples:
I would suggest that for energetic Morris style Anglo playing 1.2 and 2.2 would be preferable since you mostly play standing with a rhythmical bounce and a great deal of stability is needed.
I would also suggest that for Irish style single note Anglo playing - mostly performed seated and with playing fluent melodic phrases and less forcibly than the Morris idiom - a flexible bellows and using the fanning technique may be advantageous.
What do Anglo players say about this?

Dick - do you think your "butterfly bellows" may be something like the combination of 1.1 and 2.1 ?


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Subject: RE: Concertina bellowsing
From: The Sandman
Date: 30 Sep 15 - 03:49 AM

its a possibilty, I dont have enough knowledge to definitely, say yes.
Imay be mistaken because ir was a long time ago, but i thought the instrument i played[ that had these] was a Lachenal Ediophone


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Subject: RE: Concertina bellowsing
From: TheSnail
Date: 30 Sep 15 - 02:04 PM

G-Force
Don't even think about it.

I think it really does help if you do think about it. Do you put pressure on the bellows and then press the button or the other way round? Do you vary the pressure during a note? Does the feel of pressing and releasing a button differ whether you are pushing or pulling? I think it helps simply to be aware of these things. You don't have to do it the way Guran or Alf Edwards or Alistair Anderson or Dick Miles says although they (and many others) all have valuable things to say. Listen to them all and make your own mind up.


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Subject: RE: Concertina bellowsing
From: The Sandman
Date: 30 Sep 15 - 04:21 PM

Shake that thing.    I put my right hand in,
    I put my right hand out,
    In out, in out.
    shake it all about.


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Subject: RE: Concertina bellowsing
From: Guran
Date: 01 Oct 15 - 03:04 AM

"Snail", I fully agree, if not testing several methods thoroughly you will learn less and... indeed...use your own mind critically to find out what is valuable for yourself. "Authorities" use to change in history and novelties are mostly subjects to ( at least) three phases of reception: Being ridiculed, being resisted, being selfevident...

When I first came to (english) concertinas several "authorities" ( = old dogs ) said "You must hold it between the thumb and little finger, move the bellows in a straight line with the right hand while the left end ( if not standing) is resting on the left knee and put the strong beats on push "

They obviously did not know that the instrument was intended being held between thumb and BOTH 3rd and 4th finger and the fingerrest designed and located exactly for this purpose while the "fingering" was meant to be executed with 1st and 2nd fingers only.

After years of struggling with the old dog advise I met a chap who had done some thinking by himself and used the "four-finger-method instead. After this I systematically tried about 50 different handle concepts on a dozen of different models of instruments. The conclusion no doubt is that the handles ( both the English concept and the Anglo/Duet concept) can be significantly improved by a synthesis of them used on all types of instruments and the playing may become a lot facilitated, achieving better control of both fingering and bellowsing, along with relief of much of the strain used just to carry the instrument while making music with it.


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Subject: RE: Concertina bellowsing
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 01 Oct 15 - 04:13 AM

One must always find one's own way. I play anglo as a song accompaniment. The usual thing, among most players, is for melody to be played on the right hand rows, the harmonies on the left. I found by experiment that the opposite worked better for me. Hear, eg, Here's Adieu Sweet Lovely Nancy on my youtube channel

http://www.youtube.com/user/mgmyer

≈M≈


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Subject: RE: Concertina bellowsing
From: Guran
Date: 09 Oct 15 - 03:20 AM

Soldier Dick : "I may be mistaken because it was a long time ago, but i thought the instrument i played[ that had these] was a Lachenal Ediophone"

Just came to my mind that the fold depths vary with Edeophones as well and my impression is that older ones more often had deeper folds than later ones (?)
Might be a possibility that deeper folds was an older traditional feature that was abandoned in later productions generally. Maybe later players preferred more stable/rigid bellows, or makers had found out that the deeper folded bellows were worn out sooner (??)

Some experiences or thoughts on this?


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