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Why I Think Unaccompanied Solo Violin Music Is Unsuitable For The Conc


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#19 m3838

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Posted 16 October 2009 - 10:02 PM

And do you think that the piano adds anything to this exquisitely played air?
I think it would be better played without accompaniment.

http://www.youtube.c...h?v=SUT7aGT1JxM

yes I agree about the accompaniment,but it is possible to play airs on a concertina with feeling,here is an example http://www.youtube.c...h?v=vY-mLQ9nXQg
http://www.youtube.c...h?v=OCUVvVrlkws
http://www.youtube.c...h?v=Vrt6Xkkq-co

my point is that it is different,we cant do glissandos properly [imo]but we can do vibrato,and can play with expression

No, I think the point is not the glissando. Your playing is very good, you are a master of EC, in my opinion.
But I'm sorry to say, it's a far cry from the violin. So much so, it takes a few good minutes to get used to the abruptness (sp?) and shortage of breath etc. Single violin is not often a treat, but two of them are capable of big music. Two concertinas... haven't heard decent rendition yet. but put concertina and violin together, and we're talking.

#20 TomB-R

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Posted 17 October 2009 - 07:19 AM

Single violin is not often a treat, but two of them are capable of big music. Two concertinas... haven't heard decent rendition yet. but put concertina and violin together, and we're talking.


Totally agree, it's a wonderful combination.
Tom

#21 RatFace

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Posted 18 October 2009 - 05:33 PM

Then there was Danny C, who I think has a lovely touch on the concertina, saying that he felt there was much more potential in the 'cello. Well I'm prepared to believe he knows what he's talking about. That means I either agree with him, or work out where he's wrong. And this is what I think his problem is; trying to play a concertina as if it was a 'cello...


Hehe - I've solved that problem - this evening I played the cello for an hour and left the concertina safely in its box out of harms way (cellos have a vicious spike, you know).

#22 JimLucas

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Posted 18 October 2009 - 06:00 PM

Then there was Danny C, who I think has a lovely touch on the concertina, saying that he felt there was much more potential in the 'cello. Well I'm prepared to believe he knows what he's talking about. That means I either agree with him, or work out where he's wrong. And this is what I think his problem is; trying to play a concertina as if it was a 'cello...

Hehe - I've solved that problem - this evening I played the cello for an hour and left the concertina safely in its box out of harms way (cellos have a vicious spike, you know).

Danny, as I recall, your concertina doesn't have the "bowing valves" that some concertinas have. But since you have an actual cello bow, have you tried that on your concertina? :unsure:

I suspect it could result in greater expressiveness... though perhaps not from the concertina. :ph34r:

#23 RatFace

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Posted 19 October 2009 - 06:56 AM

Danny, as I recall, your concertina doesn't have the "bowing valves" that some concertinas have...


Aren't these just for letting the air out in between playing your final note and then taking a bow?

Anyway, if I had any on my concertina they'd just get clogged up with rosin...

#24 JimLucas

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Posted 19 October 2009 - 07:21 AM

Danny, as I recall, your concertina doesn't have the "bowing valves" that some concertinas have...

Aren't these just for letting the air out in between playing your final note and then taking a bow?

Ooh! That thought just conjured up an image that I think I'd best leave to others' individual imaginations. :o

#25 JimLucas

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Posted 19 October 2009 - 07:27 AM

Danny, as I recall, your concertina doesn't have the "bowing valves" that some concertinas have...

Aren't these just for letting the air out in between playing your final note and then taking a bow?

I thought that was the purpose of the Boyd-whistle. :unsure:
(How's that for an obscure in-joke pun?)

#26 Anglo-Irishman

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Posted 19 October 2009 - 03:11 PM

Then there was Danny C, who I think has a lovely touch on the concertina, saying that he felt there was much more potential in the 'cello. Well I'm prepared to believe he knows what he's talking about. That means I either agree with him, or work out where he's wrong. And this is what I think his problem is; trying to play a concertina as if it was a 'cello...


I play several instruments from different families, with varying degrees of competence. And my impression is that I can see more potential in the instruments that I play more competently. These are basically the instruments I've been playing longest.

But this is only my potential.

When I hear recordings of really good Anglo, Duet, classic banjo or mandolin players, I realise that each of my instruments has a lot of potential that I cannot tap. I also see a very different potential in each instrument. There are pieces that I would attempt on the banjo but not on the Anglo, and vice versa (though my competence on each is about equal). If we're talking about the playing of composed music, the potential of each instrument is determined to some extent by the literature written for it. Perhaps the last point is where the cello has the edge over the English concertina?

Cheers,
John

#27 RatFace

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Posted 19 October 2009 - 03:49 PM

If we're talking about the playing of composed music, the potential of each instrument is determined to some extent by the literature written for it. Perhaps the last point is where the cello has the edge over the English concertina?


Here's what you can do to change the sound of a single note/sound on the cello/violin:

1. Press harder/gently with the bow to change the volume
2. Play nearer/further from the bridge to change the tone
3. Move the bow faster/slower to change the tone
4. Make the pitch slightly (or very) sharper/flatter
5. Press harder/softer with the left hand finger to change the tone
6. Choose a different string on which to play the note to change the tone
7. Play two strings at once (you can control which is louder)

(you can do all of these things independently of the other).

Here's what you can do to change the sound of a single note/sound on the concertina:

1. Press harder (louder, but makes the pitch go significantly flat) or softer (quieter, but makes it go significantly sharp).
2. Play more than one note at once (no control over which is louder).

So - yes of course there's a lot that one can do with the concertina, and certainly a lot more than is done by most players (myself included). However, the raw materials (the list above) that it provides are extremely limited. That's the source of its greatest advantages and disadvantages. On the one (negative) hand it can make only a very limited range of sounds, all of which are nearly but not quite "in tune". On the other, if that sound is what you want, it is extremely easy to pick out tunes on, since every note is (almost) in tune, and to make a nice sound on a nice concertina you "just" need to press a button and squeeze.

Apparently a well known concertina player said this, which I agree with: The concertina makes a great second instrument. :)

Actually - I do disagree with the title of this topic:

... solo violin music is unsuitable for the concertina.

because if the concertina is capable of playing music expressively (and it is), there's no reason why the source of that music shouldn't be violin music.

I would be more inclined to think that the concertina is unsuitable for playing solo violin music, because the violin is just much better at it.

#28 Boney

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Posted 19 October 2009 - 07:08 PM

I'd add to those two. A bellows change gives a distinctly different attack to a note. And pressing a buton slowly also gives a different attack from pressing it quickly. Those may seem small differences, but including them at relevant points really adds to the variety and "life" of a piece. And there are probably more, which are employed mostly subconsciously by an expert player.

I've started trying some solo violin music, and it is very difficult to get the effect I want, the feeling of movement and freedom. But it's exhilirating when it comes closer. I do agree solo violin music doesn't make use of all the concertina's strengths. But you're always dealing with your own limitations in any case, you're never using all the instrument's potential. So making the most of a piece of music, even struggling with the "limitations" of the instrument, can be interesting, instructional, and fun. Whether you enjoy the results for listening to is more a matter of taste than anything else, I think.

Music isn't about adding up expressive properties and ranking instruments, or adding up complexity and ranking music. It's how you communicate. To me, often a simpler approach will be more satisfying, or a simpler instrument. Imagine a painter who only uses shades of blue. Yes, that's extremely limiting, but does every painting need every color in it? I can imagine amazing, striking, beautfiul works done in only shades of blue. And I can imagine amazing, striking, beautiful works done on any instrument.

#29 m3838

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Posted 20 October 2009 - 01:04 AM

I can imagine amazing, striking, beautfiul works done in only shades of blue. And I can imagine amazing, striking, beautiful works done on any instrument.

That's extremely correct. And it kicks back to a note that if a music is written for violin, it is best performed on violin.
There are great monochrome works in visual art, but if you try to copy colorful painting by Rembrandt by only using charcoal, you take risk. Now there can be another source of dissatisfaction: music written for concertina. Outdated and not on the level of great works of geniuses available for other instruments. Probably the most interesting source of music for EC is Russian compositions for bayan. But they often use all of available 5 octaves in the treble side, plus demands for technique is very high.
To me, EC provides easy access to high level music. I can't impress anyone with my performance, but I cherish that brief moment of communicating with eternal genius.

#30 RatFace

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Posted 20 October 2009 - 08:47 AM

Music isn't about adding up expressive properties and ranking instruments, or adding up complexity and ranking music. It's how you communicate.


Of course that's true. But at the same time, sound vocabulary/repertoire is important. How expressive can you _really_ be if you're just banging two rocks together? Can you really move people with your poetry if you only know one word?

Of course, you could imagine someone banging rocks together in really amazing ways, with (perhaps) complex rhythms that evolve over time, or poetry that really does consist of just one word spoken in different ways... but... it is rather limited isn't it?

#31 Boney

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Posted 20 October 2009 - 03:45 PM

Of course that's true. But at the same time, sound vocabulary/repertoire is important. How expressive can you _really_ be if you're just banging two rocks together? Can you really move people with your poetry if you only know one word?

Yes, it's all a balance of course. Using shades of blue is one thing, using a single shade only is another. I wouldn't be too surprised at something good from banging two rocks together though...after all, I sometimes bang two sticks together. In any case, concertina has enough to it to make quite satisfying music, although I agree that music written for it would necessarily be needed to bring out all it's capable of. Luckily for me I'm not all that concerned about that level.

#32 Boney

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Posted 20 October 2009 - 05:53 PM

I can imagine amazing, striking, beautfiul works done in only shades of blue. And I can imagine amazing, striking, beautiful works done on any instrument.

That's extremely correct. And it kicks back to a note that if a music is written for violin, it is best performed on violin.
There are great monochrome works in visual art, but if you try to copy colorful painting by Rembrandt by only using charcoal, you take risk. Now there can be another source of dissatisfaction: music written for concertina. Outdated and not on the level of great works of geniuses available for other instruments. Probably the most interesting source of music for EC is Russian compositions for bayan. But they often use all of available 5 octaves in the treble side, plus demands for technique is very high.
To me, EC provides easy access to high level music. I can't impress anyone with my performance, but I cherish that brief moment of communicating with eternal genius.

Yes, I think we're pretty much on the same wavelength here. There's no way I could attempt a Bach violin partita on violin, but I can play it on concertina after only having played a handful of years. That's fun for me, I learn a lot, and if the result is half as interesting as a good artist's conception of a Rembrandt done in charcoal, I'll be happy.

If an expert player and arranger were to adapt some great music to the concertina, that might be fruitful. For example, I've heard Bach pieces adapted to guitar and harpsichord, and they're quite different. My attempts at arranging are very basic and mostly involve simplifying and using my ear to shorten some notes or adjust in other simple ways.

#33 Dirge

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Posted 20 October 2009 - 06:11 PM

Do I really have more faith in the concertina as an instrument than all of you? The rocks analogy is unkind. I would give no ground to a violin; the strengths of a concertina are very different from those of a violin, (or a saxophone, or a flute or what have you) but, for me, biassed to a huge degree of course, it is the better and more versatile instrument. But that's irrelevant and pointless; the thing is the way the two instruments 'work' is completely different.

To restate my basic point, if you play classical music written for another instrument with completely different strengths and weaknesses you can't capitalise on your own instrument's advantages and are forced to fight its deficiencies. Do it as an exercise if you want, but it's not the best way to showcase a concertina and I think you will be, as I have said before, on a hiding to nothing when measured against the same music played by the instrument it was written for.

Given that there is very little bespoke concertina music, if you look to guitar or keyboard music you can hope to outdo them rather than be permanently on the back foot. You can match them in playing harmony, and probably outdo them in sensitivity.

#34 RatFace

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Posted 20 October 2009 - 06:18 PM

If an expert player and arranger were to adapt some great music to the concertina, that might be fruitful. For example, I've heard Bach pieces adapted to guitar and harpsichord, and they're quite different. My attempts at arranging are very basic and mostly involve simplifying and using my ear to shorten some notes or adjust in other simple ways.


The Bach lute suite in E minor works amazingly well on the concertina (tenor treble), with only minor adjustments. It always seems really odd to me that all the movements work at least "quite well" (and at best "very well"), even though many/most of the rest of the lute music he wrote doesn't work as well. There's a nice edition arranged for guitar (Lautenmusik FH 4035).

Edit: Bach is great - it transcends all instruments. It would sound sublime on a kazoo...

Edit 2: I might take that back :)

Edited by RatFace, 20 October 2009 - 06:29 PM.


#35 Chris Drinkwater

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Posted 20 October 2009 - 08:41 PM

.........if you look to guitar or keyboard music you can hope to outdo them rather than be permanently on the back foot.



Or, maybe, the Bach foot? ;)

Chris

#36 Boney

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Posted 20 October 2009 - 08:43 PM

Do I really have more faith in the concertina as an instrument than all of you? The rocks analogy is unkind.

I think we're closer to being on the same page than you think. The "hitting two rocks together" wasn't an analogy, it was an example of taking things to extremes for illustrative purposes.

I guess I just don't worry so much about whether what I'm playing showcases the concertina or not. Usually I want to play something full with a lot of chords and moving bass lines along with the melody. You can't do that on a fiddle, but that's not the point. Sometimes I want to play a single-line melody with occasional extra harmony notes. You can do that on a fiddle, but I don't see any reason that that makes it less enjoyable to play. If you don't like to listen to that style, I'd say it's more a question of personal preference than anything else. I wouldn't call it "unsuitable," just "not my favorite."



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