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Geoff Wooff

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About Geoff Wooff

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    Heavyweight Boxer
  • Birthday 04/24/1950

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    playing music on English concertina, uilleann pipes and hurdy gurdy (among others). Making instruments, keeping healthy in my old age, chatting with friends. Now learning to play MacCann Duet.Latest project is Learning the Hayden Duet.
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  1. I read into these comments, Wolf, that you are in favour of suggesting (or creating) guidelines ( or rules) for using bellows direction changes to help others improve the sense of their music making. For most musical instruments it is possible to find a teacher to help with things like this but with these , somewhat out of fashion squeezeboxes, where most of us are self taught, an element of intuitive experience is of the greatest help. Where we have come from, musically, can be very important but trying to pass on those autodidactic elements in a formal way might prove worthless to the recipient I feel. But then I'm no teacher.
  2. Oh ,of course Wolf. I am not saying one should not use bellows reversals for emphasis , but that it should share the role of playing expressive music on the concertina with the quality of one's fingering. I spend a lot of my musical time these days playing my unisonics with my bisonoric neighbours ,here in France, who's bellows reversals on the Diatonic accordeons are so neatly fitted into their playing as to be unobtrusive. Crossing rows on the melody side, as much to stave off direction changes at inappropriate places as to having the air in the correct direction for the left hand chords.
  3. It seems to me that if the phrasing and rhythmic content of a melody is not in you head then no amount of bellows direction changes will improve the outcome. Because the EC does not give the player any movement help with regards to rhythm, as one finds on many instruments, like the guitar or violin and other squeeze boxes where there is one hand that can be doing something directly with the timing, all the input with regard to this aspect of playing has to come from within the player. If I think about anything whilst playing it is not " oh I need to change bellows direction to pronounce a phrase" but only how I feel the emphasis should be and how it sounds when I'm listening to what sounds I am making. On a Duet it can be similar to the EC or one hand can be designated to produce rhythm and the other does the melody... but bellows use is all about BREATHING and changes can occur without they being direction changes... being more about varying the amount of air flow / pressure. It's a lot about feel and understanding of a genre. The quickest ( cleanest) bellows direction changes can be made when the bellows is near to being fully closed, as the least amount of material stretch occurs and the reversal of air is most immediate. At the other end of the bellows extension a softer, more legato effect , can be utilised, dampening any abruptness of bellowsing. This would suggest that a long enough bellows ( and an airtight instrument ) would allow access to the various effects possible at different extensions. On other keyboard instruments phrasing and rhythm comes from the way the keys are struck... On a Piano the keys can be pressed gently or hammered on, and every shade in between . This allows access to the Piano's large dynamic range but on the Harpsichord or the Organ one cannot use variation in loudness for emphasis in this way therefore, the timing accuracy of the fingering is vital. I think precision of fingering, attack, accuracy of note length, varying note length, exact starting and stopping etc., is the first thing that needs to be addressed before bellows action is added to the mix.
  4. Geoff Wooff

    What our concertinas look like?

    Lovely shine on this one Wolf!!!
  5. Geoff Wooff

    What our concertinas look like?

    Indeed that is its name Wolf. This was taken at a New Year Ball probably 2011. The concertina is all original except for the bellows and straps, which are from Wim Wakker.
  6. Geoff Wooff

    What our concertinas look like?

    The 1898 'flat Reedpan', raised ended 48 Treble Wheatstone.... a very early model 22. My Dance band instrument.
  7. Geoff Wooff

    Top octave on English

    Yes, Scales extended up, and down , has to be a help as well as playing scales in as many keys as you can. This will tend to break the 'button position default' and free the mind... to some extent anyway. Much more interesting than scales though is to dive straight in and play tunes in different keys and octaves than normal.... it is just practice , practice and..... practice! Arpeggios, playing tunes in octaves, in thirds and other intervals will all help gain a sort of"second sight " of the keyboard...
  8. Geoff Wooff

    TT modification on the low end (D# to B?)

    You might always feel the need for just that extra one more note at the end of the range; perhaps you would be happier with a Baritone/treble ? The 64 key version goes down to low F , as I recall. With one of those you would have the effect of a full treble range and the additional octave range on the lower end. I have the smaller 56 key version of Baritone/ Treble and just once or twice I miss having one or two notes at the top end of the range but I really prefer it to the Tennor /Treble.
  9. Geoff Wooff

    TT modification on the low end (D# to B?)

    Hello Wolf, I seem to recall, some years ago, when the topic of modifying the low G# (or was it the Ab) to an F , that I suggested this could cause fingering problems when and/if one moved to a TT, or beyond, keyboard.... which is why I have avoided altering the paterns already established for the EC. But if you have a bee in your bonnet to improve things in your own way what can the experiences of others be of any use to enquire of ? My advice, however, is to stick to the original layout and find the notes you want where they are currently. Glad to see you are back to the music making, cheers, Geoff.
  10. Thanks DJ, that all looks correct.
  11. Geoff Wooff

    Duet Tunes

    You could try the arrangements for Duet concertinas at www.concertina.com they are none too easy but they might take you somewhere or show the way forward for the type of scores that might suit. Simplified Piano arrangements should be easy to find as many have been produced for students. Rearranging to suit the compass of the Elise is always going to be a problem though. Good luck.
  12. Indeed ! It is the classic " buying a pig in a poke" without either personal examination or photos of the insides of the action boxes. The reedpans look correct for 1911 as does the quality of the fretwork, but a squint under the lids would be helpful Patrick... with views of the keywork and undersides of the ends .
  13. I'd not go so far as to say the ends might be replacements , but those badges do appear to be 1950's era....... ??
  14. Geoff Wooff

    Stiff Bellows

    New player will have strain on sets of muscles that are being used in new ways. It is the same for any exercise /work that is new to us. Many people do complain about the stiffness of the bellows on these starter models and, they say, this goes away after a while. I have tried the Jackie bought by a neighbour and it does appear to be hard work in comparison to my vintage instruments. This is probaby not so noticeable on the Rochelle and Elise models due to the strain being taken by the whole hand. Good luck .
  15. I've played my 1/5th Comma EC's with other concertina players in Equal Temperament and not noticed a problem, especially in a 'session' situation where other instruments and noise levels cloud the distinctions but that was in keys very close to my centre key ( usually A ) though a problem might be encountered with a fiddle player of very fine hearing. I play in a dance band with Diatonic accordeons , fiddles and French bagpipes mostly in C and G related keys and I do not notice any clashings... which is why I chose 1/5th Comma ... it is enough to smooth out those major 3 thirds which are so horrible in ET especially with a LOUD metal ended instrument, but are so usefull as a quick harmony device on the EC. Same when playing D,G,A sessions. I do not currently have an ET tuned Concertina... though there is a space in my double case, waiting to be filled... hmmmm Using A as the zero is my choice.