To Thread - Forum Home

The Mudcat Café TM
https://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=147787
28 messages

bellows changes on english concertina to

28 Oct 12 - 06:31 AM (#3427207)
Subject: bellows changes on englih concertina to
From: The Sandman

my opinion, and it is only an opinion, would be to take a book like the cranitch fiddle tutor and try and emulate his suggested bowing changes with bellows changes, this is not always possible to do slavishly, but some of it can be incorporated.
another idea i like is to take the notes on the left hand side of the EC AND PLAY THEM ONE DIRECTION AND THOSE ON THE RIGHT THE OTHER WAY, in effect this means that half the g scale is one way the other is a different direction, but a lot of arpeggios are same direction, both options will mean you change bellows more frequently than standard EC 2 or 3 bar changes, either way the result will be more lift.
another option is to use the noel hill beginner anglo system[ i mean the way he cross rows]playing a certain amount up the c row and a certain amount up the g row , the high d can be played either push or pull, or a player can copy the bc directions, all of these methods will give more lift.


29 Oct 12 - 10:04 AM (#3427742)
Subject: RE: bellows changes on englih concertina to
From: The Sandman

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1UiWSWrH0ME&feature=youtu.be
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1UiWSWrH0ME&feature=youtu.be


08 Dec 12 - 04:02 PM (#3449399)
Subject: RE: bellows changes on englih concertina to
From: Guran

Dick: "my opinion....and try and emulate his suggested bowing changes with bellows changes, this is not always possible to do slavishly, but some of it can be incorporated"

RE: I don't see why you call this an opinion...Is it not a selfevident fact that using the bellows in this manner is the most important way to articulate with any squeezebox? Strangely enough the matter of "bellows articulation" has been quite prominent in accordion tuition since 1950s while concertina players today often are completely unaware of it.Still the famous Victorian performers and tutors all speak of the importance using the bellows like a bow and the most fanatic spokesman was Alsepti who also introduced the "bowing valves" for the purpose.

"another idea i like is to take the notes on the left hand side of theEC AND PLAY THEM ONE DIRECTION AND THOSE ON THE RIGHT THE OTHER WAY, in effect this means that half the g scale is one way the other is a different direction, but a lot of arpeggios are same direction, both options will mean you change bellows more frequently than standard EC 2 or 3 bar changes, either way the result will be more lift".

That however seems to be a rather rigid method - since the point ought to be adopting to the music as much as possible to get optimal dynamics and expression

" the is to use the noel hill beginner anglo system[ i mean the way he cross rows]playing a certain amount up the c row and a certain amount up the g row , the high d can be played either push or pull, or a player can copy the bc directions, all of these methods will give more lift".

Playing complex music with the Anglo efficiently is a true challenge.
Single note playing in the trad Irish style offers some options not to run out of air by the said cross row methods. If you wish to play polyphonic music you soon get into trouble however, particularly if trying to harmonize in a regular way since you mostly can't add harmonic chord notes when crossing rows for the melody and get the T,S and D notes in the wrong direction.Maybe one reason that single note playing in the Irish style is so popular among Anglo players - you never need to handle the tormenting harmonisation nightmare..


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


09 Dec 12 - 06:09 AM (#3449657)
Subject: RE: bellows changes on englih concertina to
From: The Sandman

"another idea i like is to take the notes on the left hand side of theEC AND PLAY THEM ONE DIRECTION AND THOSE ON THE RIGHT THE OTHER WAY, in effect this means that half the g scale is one way the other is a different direction, but a lot of arpeggios are same direction, both options will mean you change bellows more frequently than standard EC 2 or 3 bar changes, either way the result will be more lift".

That however seems to be a rather rigid method - since the point ought to be adopting to the music as much as possible to get optimal dynamics and expression.
yes it is a rigid method,and that is a flaw in the method, the point of the remark was for people to think about it and experiment, it is not meant to be taken as unchallengeable or sacrosanct


09 Dec 12 - 10:50 AM (#3449757)
Subject: RE: bellows changes on englih concertina to
From: Guran

Right, fully acceptable..! IF - for didactic reasons - you want to form a somewhat rigid routine I suggest that you pretty strictly when playing folk tunes in a two-beat, say 8/8 or 6/4, mostly phrased
//// //// or /// /// in a bar, you play pull//// push////, and pull///push/// respectively. I guess that is what you meant earlier. It is very hard to actually see the bellows reversals in your YT clip.
I made one myself a couple of years ago but it isnt't so easy noticing the reversals there either. It's a baritone so the bellows moves very little. I intended to do the same using a tenor or treble to make reversals more visible but I forgot to. Here it is anyway:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pt4YpRFxJqA

Another matter of considerable importance for what "lift" you may get is whether you do the rhythmical beats on push or on pull. Many (I do believe most) players put the beats on push. I did so myself spontanously in the beginning until I found that the pull stroke may give better attack and volume. This also comes more equal to the natural way of bowing with the violin - if we return to that analogy.


09 Dec 12 - 12:12 PM (#3449789)
Subject: RE: bellows changes on englih concertina to
From: The Sandman

IMO it is not black and white , it is perfectly possible on an EC TO PLAY WITH LIFT using other methods apart from bellows reversals, finger attack and emphasis and increased volume by adding octaves or double stops[two notes instead of one], it just sounds different, I would hesitate to say either way was right or wrong just different


09 Dec 12 - 05:49 PM (#3449896)
Subject: RE: bellows changes on englih concertina to
From: Guran

I dont' regard it in terms of right or wrong either, one can just try to make things easier for oneself by choosing methods which demand less force or other trouble for the same output and the "bowing" routines practised with squeezeboxes no doubt offer such options.
Many concertina players merely pull until they run out of air and push until doing so again no matter what the piece of music says about it, and strangely enough several tutor books give the direct advise doing so. Definitely a great deal of dynamics and expression is lost that way.I believe that the necessarily more intensive push/pull activities when playing Anglo compared to unisonoric Duet or English may automatically stimulate more rhythmical or bouncy playing styles - like typical Morris tunes.


10 Dec 12 - 06:36 AM (#3450052)
Subject: RE: bellows changes on englih concertina to
From: sleepyjon

Guran - "Strangely enough the matter of "bellows articulation" has been quite prominent in accordion tuition since 1950s"
Wow - I bought my first accordion in 1956 (£5 in a second-hand shop in a run-down area of Liverpool) and ever since all I've ever heard is the importance of an indiscernible change of direction with the bellows. Since playing for the Morris (going on 30 years) I've been struggling to develop a technique of "using the left hand as a bow" - and lecturing about it to anyone who I thought would listen! - thought I'd invented it myself!

Heigh-ho

SJ


10 Dec 12 - 12:55 PM (#3450179)
Subject: RE: bellows changes on englih concertina to
From: The Sandman

yes Guran, you have a good point,I have been giving this matter a lot of thought over the last few years, for example on hornpipes there is often three stamps at the end of the first side, it is interesting to try reversing each note ore revsing perhaps two, and then compareto playing the 3 notes in one direction.
i like to play the tune using all three for variation.
I am absolutely convinced that irish polkas,which are in 2/4 sound good with reversing after every pair of half beats with an occasional bar one way or the lead in note of a phrase going the same way as the next pair of quavers.
most anglo players do not reverse on notes of the same pitch, however i think its worth EC players experimenting with changing direction on notes of the same pitch, it doesnt always work,but for some morris tunes, and some other tunes its worth the experimentation.


10 Dec 12 - 04:57 PM (#3450255)
Subject: RE: bellows changes on englih concertina to
From: GUEST

sleepyjon:
"Since playing for the Morris... I've been struggling to develop a technique of "using the left hand as a bow" - and lecturing about it to anyone who I thought would listen! - thought I'd invented it myself!"

Since You are talking accordion here it is selfevident that your "bowing" will be done by the left hand.I started with accordion too before having a concertina so I preferably use my left arm for bellows work also. Otherwise those concertina tutors who speak of "bowing" at all of course assume that it will be performed by the right arm - just as with a violin.Since "bowing" may be a very delicate task it seems efficient to prefer doing it according to individual handiness - either being left or right.

Concerning the historic background I mentioned Alsepti for (English) concertina. In the 'accordion world' you may find for instance Favier (Paris 1839) saying "The bellows is for the accordion what the bow is for the violin" and this expression is repeated among several of the Victorian concertina tutors. Back to accordion the most dominating author/tutor advocating ( very theoretically) for complex articulation with the accordion was Hugo Herrman who wrote about it in 1950s and he has been the prime "guru" in the field when accordion tuition became an academic discipline.

The concertina has never got the same academic basis as tuition for piano and symphonic instruments and this may be a reason that concertina players have few references to good performance practise.
In turn a reason that experiments and advise like these coming from Dick ( and your own experience) pop up individually and sometimes in the belief having "invented the wheel".


10 Dec 12 - 05:30 PM (#3450267)
Subject: RE: bellows changes on englih concertina to
From: The Sandman

guran, I would be interested to see any of the suggestions for piano acordion as regards bellows


11 Dec 12 - 03:02 AM (#3450400)
Subject: RE: bellows changes on englih concertina to
From: GUEST

Dick, I have not tried enough to find published accordion tutors in English presenting the said theories and methods from Hugo Herrmann and followers who have written in German. Here are some of the more significant publications however:
"Die neue Lehrweg für Akkordeon" Franz Krieg (Hohner 1949)
"Einführung in die Komposition für Akkordeon" Hugo Herrmann (1955)
"Tonbildung und Balgführung" Lech Puchnowski (Trossingen 1967)
"Balgführung und Tongestaltung" Puchnowski,Armin Fett (Wien 1968)
"Tonbildung und Artikulation auf dem Akkordeon" Nicolaas van Straten (Trossingen 1983)

If you want to find material in English I suggest you try asking Henry Doctorski for assistance first of all. Check his webpage, I haven't for a while, but you probably find fruitful links there.

I can shortly comment on some of the basics too later on if you like


11 Dec 12 - 03:20 AM (#3450405)
Subject: RE: bellows changes on englih concertina to
From: Guran

Sorry...Doctorski should be *Doktorski* first of all! I checked his webpage adn it waa different than before and I didn't find links but write him a message instead.
Göran


11 Dec 12 - 02:33 PM (#3450581)
Subject: RE: bellows changes on englih concertina to
From: The Sandman

that sounds like a cop out


11 Dec 12 - 03:05 PM (#3450588)
Subject: RE: bellows changes on englih concertina to
From: Guran

?? I don't know the expression "cop out"...what do you mean by it?

Anyway, I have written to Henry Doktorski and will report if I get some ideas.Wim Wakker - who originally came to concertina from the accordion too - has some notes on "finger-articulation" and "bellows-articulation" respectively at his website which are very basic but do correspond to the outlines of Herrmann and others.


11 Dec 12 - 04:05 PM (#3450620)
Subject: RE: bellows changes on englih concertina to
From: The Sandman

thanks


12 Dec 12 - 02:14 AM (#3450818)
Subject: RE: bellows changes on englih concertina to
From: Guran

You didn't explain the expression "cop out" - please do.


12 Dec 12 - 06:47 AM (#3450880)
Subject: RE: bellows changes on english concertina to
From: Tootler

Strangely enough the matter of "bellows articulation" has been quite prominent in accordion tuition since 1950s

If that's the case, why is it that the overwhelming majority of PA players I know or have seen simply move the bellows slowly and smoothly backwards and forwards and rely on their fingers for articulation?

I only know one PA player who makes effective use of bellows articulation and she plays a small (12 bass) instrument. I suspect the reason is that the inertia in a large PA makes effective bellows articulation impractical.


12 Dec 12 - 10:52 AM (#3450962)
Subject: RE: bellows changes on english concertina to
From: Guran

G before: "Strangely enough the matter of "bellows articulation" has been quite prominent in accordion tuition since 1950s"

Tootler: "If that's the case, why is it that the overwhelming majority of PA players I know or have seen simply move the bellows slowly and smoothly backwards and forwards and rely on their fingers for articulation?"

RE: Maybe that overwhelming majority have learnt by themsleves like many of us and not got any proper tuition :-)... and thus never discovered a lot of potential dynamics ?

Tootler:" I suspect the reason is that the inertia in a large PA makes effective bellows articulation impractical".

RE: Hardly. A large instrument may take more effort in several ways - firstly by carrying it about. Concerning effort for working the bellows you need more muscular pumping force to get the same sound amplitude. At the same time you need not to move the bellows as long distance. Depending on the actual music there may be both advantages and dis-advantages related to this.
There is a very common misunderstanding that "inertia" is involved when playing squeezeboxes. There actually is no inertia around (unless you swing the instrument about!) since you are always working against a pressure gradient !

Apart from that check a couple of players with good bellows technique:
Anthony Galla-Rini:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z7OdFOdl_bs

Alf Hågedal:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=890iGNFg2ho
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7ACXdlQGh8o


12 Dec 12 - 11:52 AM (#3450983)
Subject: RE: bellows changes on english concertina to
From: Alan Day

The "Smoothly backwards and forwards" is exactly the habit that many English, Duet and also Anglo players playing across row, or with heavy use of the accidentals, can fall into.Lovely for smooth French style waltz playing, but completely lacking in lift for Traditional Dance Music,with one note slurring into the next without a clear definition in many cases .The one row playing of the melodion is a classic example of bounce style that bellows change of direction can produce.
It is possible to emulate a bellows direction change by exerting more bellows pressure for certain notes and Mary McNammara cleverly uses this technique with her style of playing Irish Traditional music.This is an alternative to that suggested By Dick and He is well aware of it.
Al


12 Dec 12 - 01:41 PM (#3451012)
Subject: RE: bellows changes on english concertina to
From: The Sandman

that is true, Al,


12 Dec 12 - 02:22 PM (#3451022)
Subject: RE: bellows changes on english concertina to
From: The Sandman

bellows direction emphasis is similar to a fiddle technique known as broken slurring, in my opinion experimenting with belloww direction can only be good.
Al, I find your wording below a bit aggressive
"This is an alternative to that suggested By Dick and He is well aware of it."


12 Dec 12 - 05:38 PM (#3451089)
Subject: RE: bellows changes on english concertina to
From: The Sandman

I only know one PA player who makes effective use of bellows articulation and she plays a small (12 bass) instrument. I suspect the reason is that the inertia in a large PA makes effective bellows articulation impractical.
my thoughts too, whilst watching Gurans videos.
However the 48 key EC, IS A SMALL LIGHT INSTRUMENT that does not demand the player to be a charles atlas to play it


13 Dec 12 - 03:40 AM (#3451255)
Subject: RE: bellows changes on english concertina to
From: Alan Day

It was not aggressive ,we have discussed this point before.I was just confirming that you were aware of this alternative.
Al


13 Dec 12 - 03:43 AM (#3451256)
Subject: RE: bellows changes on english concertina to
From: Guran

Dick:"However the 48 key EC, IS A SMALL LIGHT INSTRUMENT that does not demand the player to be a charles atlas to play it".

Of course! and that likely is one significant reason that some of us so much appreciate (small) concertinas to (large) accordions. The more
impressive I think it is to notice the superb bellows control some proficient accordion performers manage compared to all too many concertina fans who are not aware of the potential of their instrument

I very much agree Alan, and it has been a belief of mine since long that the necessity of more frequent bellows reversals when playing the Anglo compared to the English is a major reason that rhytmmical, dynamic, "bouncy" and dancing-friendly musical results are more common among angloplayers than englishplayers.It simply comes more spontaneous.

I have to add however ( nagging to some readers I'm afraid...) that this difference also is much related to the different handles. By putting a similar (ergonomically functional) handle on both models the playing options would be more alike as well and then there is no obstacle playing the English with the same "lift" and "bounce".


13 Dec 12 - 06:10 AM (#3451298)
Subject: RE: bellows changes on english concertina to
From: The Sandman

woooooooooh, nice one guran, you restrained yourself for 23 -posts


13 Dec 12 - 06:25 PM (#3451535)
Subject: RE: bellows changes on english concertina to
From: GUEST,Jack Sprocket

Just as an aside, from someone who plays both the fiddle and the concertina (badly), why should the concertina emulate the fiddle when the fiddle is trying to emulate the phrasing of human breathing?


14 Dec 12 - 02:47 AM (#3451682)
Subject: RE: bellows changes on english concertina to
From: Guran

Jack: "Just as an aside, from someone who plays both the fiddle and the concertina (badly), why should the concertina emulate the fiddle when the fiddle is trying to emulate the phrasing of human breathing?"

RE: Philosophically a relevant question indeed - why should we insist learning and playing any kind of tricky instrument when we might all sing instead :-) ?
Joke aside - as a fiddler you most certainly are aware of the various articulation forms associated with violin performance,legato,tenuto, portato,marcato,staccatto,vibrato, etc. Some of them may be looked upon as imitations of the articulation related to singing, some more specific to the string instrument itself. All these options contribute very much to the expression of performance but the means to manage differs a lot between "instruments" ( human voice included).
You usually sing on exhalation only but the fiddle and the squeezebox mostly work in two directions and thus there is a similarity which, like I said above (Dec 10),has been noticed by tutors all since the squeezeboxes were introduced. I think the analogy may be very fruitful despite ( of course!) you can not emulate/simulate all the violin articulation forms with the squeezebox. Trying to do it however, just as Dick inspires to, may add enormously to the qualities of expression when playing any squeezebox and for didactic reasons it is superbly fit comparing "bellowsing" of the concertina with "bowing" of the violin ( or any bowed string instrument of course). Firstly "pull" for "down-bow" , but variants of legato and staccatto related to "bellows-articulation" vs "finger-articulation" may be applied along with several methods producing "tremolo" while this is more typical of non-bowed string instruments like guitar and mandolin.("Vibrato" by the way can not be performed with a squeezebox)