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Theme Of The Month, Oct 2014: First Tunes


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#1 Jim Besser

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Posted 30 September 2014 - 08:35 AM

First tunes are sort of like your first love: something you remember affectionately, maybe with a little wistful embarrassment because you really didn't know what you were doing back then.

 

This month's theme is simple: dig into your memory and pull out a tune from your earliest days as a concertinist.  And let's hear how you play it now. 

 

Beyond posting a recording, tell us a little about why you first learned that particular tune, what it meant for your development as a musician,  what you think about it now and how your approach to the tune has changed.

 

Maybe it's one of the tunes that really drew you to the concertina. Maybe it's the first tune that made you feel like you actually knew what you were doing with all those buttons.  Maybe it's a tune that was a fork in the road in terms of your musical interests.

 

It should be easier for the noobies out there in concertina land, since past and present are close relations; it may take a little more digging for those who have been playing for decades.

 

Let's have some fun with this theme!


Edited by Jim Besser, 01 October 2014 - 04:00 PM.


#2 sqzbxr

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Posted 01 October 2014 - 08:03 AM

Since I switched to English system this year, I had to reach back into the Wayback Machine to get an Anglo clip to submit: 'Old Peculier' by Peter Kleeman, a proprietary dance by the Albemarle Morris Men.  Although not the first tune I ever learned on Anglo (I was into ITM in the early days) it is the first tune I learned to play in the harmonic English style.  Played on a 32-key Lachenal Anglo in C/G that had just arrived from the Button Box.  The clip is pretty sloppy, it was recorded on a phone camera propped up on a music stand immediately after unboxing the instrument for the first time.

 

http://youtu.be/aC8UmdBZ0h0

 

A special bonus for those who are interested in the difference in sound between true concertina reeds and accordion reeds, here is a clip from the same time played on a Morse Céilí in C/G:

 

https://www.youtube....h?v=NLji2HJIz2M


Edited by sqzbxr, 01 October 2014 - 09:41 AM.


#3 Jim Besser

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Posted 01 October 2014 - 08:14 AM

Since I switched to English system this year, I had to reach back into the Wayback Machine to get an Anglo clip to submit: 'Old Peculier' by Peter Kleeman, a proprietary dance by the Albemarle Morris Men.  Although not the first tune I ever learned on Anglo (I was into ITM in the early days) it is the first tune I learned to play in the harmonic English style.  Played on a 32-key Lachenal Anglo in C/G that had just arrived from the Button Box.  The clip is pretty sloppy, it was recorded on a phone camera propped up on a music stand immediately after unboxing the instrument for the first time.

 

http://youtu.be/aC8UmdBZ0h0

 

Nicely played.

 

Many is the time I've seen that danced.  For anybody who's interested, here's a version of the dance.

 

https://www.youtube....h?v=sKVrP0OfwKE


Edited by Jim Besser, 01 October 2014 - 08:36 AM.


#4 sqzbxr

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Posted 01 October 2014 - 08:22 AM

Nice clip, Jim - That's Curt Harpold playing the introduction on his Dipper in D/A.



#5 maki

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Posted 01 October 2014 - 08:34 AM

You folks already covered my "first tune", Josephines Dopvals.
The first time I heard it was when the local Irish session was
breaking up and one of the players started in to it over the canned pub music.
He was playing a Wheatstone Edeophone and the session leader who
was talking to a few of us kept stopping, putting his hands up to
quite us, and closong his eyes. He would repeat, "Lovley, just Lovely".
It really was.
Not long after I lucked into my anglo.
I play Josephines every time I pick up the concertina,trying to match
the sweetness of that first time.

#6 Wolf Molkentin

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Posted 01 October 2014 - 08:45 AM

You folks already covered my "first tune", Josephines Dopvals.
The first time I heard it was when the local Irish session was
breaking up and one of the players started in to it over the canned pub music.
He was playing a Wheatstone Edeophone and the session leader who
was talking to a few of us kept stopping, putting his hands up to
quite us, and closong his eyes. He would repeat, "Lovley, just Lovely".
It really was.
Not long after I lucked into my anglo.
I play Josephines every time I pick up the concertina,trying to match
the sweetness of that first time.

 

I first heard that tune just one year ago when Iris Bishop played it (in her unique way) as a supplement to a (most likely "shearing") song by Martyn Wyndham-Reed on the opening night at Tenterden. I had to go for the dots and learn it the next day in our cottage...

 

Jim, very charming idea, will contribute... :)

 

Best wishes to all - Wolf



#7 Irene S.

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Posted 01 October 2014 - 03:57 PM

Josefins Dopvals was the first tune I heard played on a Maccann Duet concertina back in 2007. The player was Ralph Jordan,who was sitting on my sofa at the time just before we started rehearsing for a show that we were getting under way. I had no idea what a duet concertina was at that point...and received a long lecture and demonstration.I was eventually offered a loan of his spare Maccann. The tune was one that he was very fond of. He played it in the key that it was written in, and played in by Vasen,something which most people don't (including Iris),and was insistent that it should be played in F as it took on a different flavour in G!! He included it as one of the tracks on his CD "Eloise" ....and it's still one of my favourite tunes.

Edited by Irene S., 01 October 2014 - 04:00 PM.


#8 Łukasz Martynowicz

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Posted 01 October 2014 - 04:29 PM

That is a realy nice ThOTM I'll try to find time for :) It's most appealing to me because… I do have this very first tune recorded. Well, kind of :) Here is the full story:

 

when I bought my first concertina, a cheap german anglo from ebay, the first day it came in, I dug up some old rock songbooks I had and tried to play some tunes I have liked to sing before. I knew absolutely nothing about music, nothing about the instrument, not even a note layout, chord structures etc.. And I have tried to came up with anything resembling music based on guitar chord notation only. As you might expect, it was a complete disaster, with only one chorus progression sounding a bit like actual tune. So, I changed my scope of interest and for another year I have learnt a few shanties on this anglo, but always wanted to be able to play those rock covers… So when I found about Hayden and made my MIDI concertina, that was the first thing that I have tried to learn, armed with better understanding of music, being able to read notation and having a fully chromatic layout under my fingers I have managed to "record" this:

https://www.youtube....9eRLXoxNZU_PH7w

It is "Ballada o dwóch siostrach" Stanisława Staszewskiego, a polish street folk compositor. Some of you might have heard this before, as I have posted it in a DIY MIDI thread. This is a screen capture of my MIDI controller driver, and my main tool for learning Hayden layout back then. 

A year later, this was also the first tune I have played on my Elise.

 

Some of you might have noticed, that I have been quiet theese past months, as I have been concentrating on both building my new instrument (and one, non-concertina related major life event). I had so little time to play, that this ThOTM will be a some sort of comeback for me - to participating musicaly in this forum and regular concertina practice. I'll have to not only rearrange this tune but actually re-learn it, as I haven't played it for a very, very long time… But hopefully I'll post this new version later this month!



#9 maki

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Posted 01 October 2014 - 04:34 PM

Wow Lukasz, I would have guessed you were a life long musician from the quality of your work.
Kudos.

#10 Łukasz Martynowicz

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Posted 01 October 2014 - 05:06 PM

Thanks Maki!

No, I have started learning to play my first instrument a few months after my 30th birthday. It has been five years of infrequent playing now, with only a total of maybe a year worth of a real daily practice… Prior to this I had had done some lessons using EarMaster software few years earlier (mostly basic interval recognition and rhytmic excersises) but without any instrument to play on I gave up after a month or two. But I did sing a lot since teen age and have been a bit of "music junkie", living with music playing in the background from dusk till dawn since I can remeber. 



#11 Jim Besser

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Posted 01 October 2014 - 05:42 PM

Here's one of the first real tunes I learned on concertina: the Morris tune Constant Billy.

 

https://dl.dropboxus...tBillyTOTM1.MP3

 

Years ago, I was primarily a guitar player in a dance band, but puttered around with the concertina - a truly horrible 20 button Italian Anglo with ends from one instrument, bellows from another (I fitted them together with duct tape, I believe).  At some point, I bought Bertram Levy's "Anglo Concertina Demystified" and the first tune I learned was Constant Billy.

 

Which was a good thing, because very soon thereafter, my wife came home from Morris dance practice and told me their musician had quit and I was the new one - for a gig in 3 days. Thankfully, Constant Billy was one of their dances, so I had a bit of a head start in my frantic learning.

 

I played it with that group for many years, and then with my current group for the last 8.

 

Here's what the dance looks like.  https://www.youtube....h?v=ww49W-lD0r4

 

I never seem to play it the same way twice, so I recorded a few different versions.

 

The story behind the last one:  one day at practice I got bored and started noodling while the dancers were arguing about something, and started playing Constant Billy in a minor key. The foreman jumped up and said "I like that, I have the perfect dance for it."

 

We've been doing the dance - Minor Billy - ever since.

 

Constant Billy has been ... well, a constant of my Morris dance career.


Edited by Jim Besser, 01 October 2014 - 05:51 PM.


#12 Jim Besser

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Posted 01 October 2014 - 06:34 PM

That is a realy nice ThOTM I'll try to find time for :) It's most appealing to me because… I do have this very first tune recorded. Well, kind of :) Here is the full story:

 

 

Some of you might have noticed, that I have been quiet theese past months, as I have been concentrating on both building my new instrument (and one, non-concertina related major life event). I had so little time to play, that this ThOTM will be a some sort of comeback for me - to participating musicaly in this forum and regular concertina practice. I'll have to not only rearrange this tune but actually re-learn it, as I haven't played it for a very, very long time… But hopefully I'll post this new version later this month!

 

We're all looking forward to it!



#13 Tootler

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Posted 02 October 2014 - 10:27 AM

My first concertina was a 30b Hohner Anglo which I bought on eBay for about 150 pounds. It had been little used and was a perfectly good instrument to get started on but the mechanism was not very good and buttons started jamming so I went to the Music Room in Cleckheaton and after trying out what they had in stock, chose a Morse Anglo in CG which is what I have now. About the same time I found a book in a music shop called "Piping Hot" which was really a tune book for Northumbrian Pipes with a keyless chanter so all the tunes were in the range G - g but it had a great selection of tunes suitable for a beginner. That together with the Mick Bramich tutor book is what I started with. I tried the Bertram Levy Tutor but I never really took to the chords left hand, melody right hand technique so I am mainly a melody player for tunes though I do use harmony for accompanying singing.

 

Piping Hot has a great selection of tunes and here is Hector the Hero by J Scott Skinner (transposed to G). Mainly just melody but with chords at the end of phrases.



#14 maki

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Posted 02 October 2014 - 03:23 PM

Here's one of the first real tunes I learned on concertina: the Morris tune Constant Billy.
 
https://dl.dropboxus...tBillyTOTM1.MP3
 
Years ago, I was primarily a guitar player in a dance band, but puttered around with the concertina - a truly horrible 20 button Italian Anglo with ends from one instrument, bellows from another (I fitted them together with duct tape, I believe).  At some point, I bought Bertram Levy's "Anglo Concertina Demystified" and the first tune I learned was Constant Billy.
 
Which was a good thing, because very soon thereafter, my wife came home from Morris dance practice and told me their musician had quit and I was the new one - for a gig in 3 days. Thankfully, Constant Billy was one of their dances, so I had a bit of a head start in my frantic learning.
 
I played it with that group for many years, and then with my current group for the last 8.
 
Here's what the dance looks like.  https://www.youtube....h?v=ww49W-lD0r4
 
I never seem to play it the same way twice, so I recorded a few different versions.
 
The story behind the last one:  one day at practice I got bored and started noodling while the dancers were arguing about something, and started playing Constant Billy in a minor key. The foreman jumped up and said "I like that, I have the perfect dance for it."
 
We've been doing the dance - Minor Billy - ever since.
 
Constant Billy has been ... well, a constant of my Morris dance career.


Great story.

Question; What's the coolest thing about Morris dancing?
Answer; Bowler hats!!!

You were Steam Punk before Steam Punk was hip.

#15 Jim Besser

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Posted 02 October 2014 - 04:58 PM

 

Here's one of the first real tunes I learned on concertina: the Morris tune Constant Billy.
 
https://dl.dropboxus...tBillyTOTM1.MP3
 
Years ago, I was primarily a guitar player in a dance band, but puttered around with the concertina - a truly horrible 20 button Italian Anglo with ends from one instrument, bellows from another (I fitted them together with duct tape, I believe).  At some point, I bought Bertram Levy's "Anglo Concertina Demystified" and the first tune I learned was Constant Billy.
 
Which was a good thing, because very soon thereafter, my wife came home from Morris dance practice and told me their musician had quit and I was the new one - for a gig in 3 days. Thankfully, Constant Billy was one of their dances, so I had a bit of a head start in my frantic learning.
 
I played it with that group for many years, and then with my current group for the last 8.
 
Here's what the dance looks like.  https://www.youtube....h?v=ww49W-lD0r4
 
I never seem to play it the same way twice, so I recorded a few different versions.
 
The story behind the last one:  one day at practice I got bored and started noodling while the dancers were arguing about something, and started playing Constant Billy in a minor key. The foreman jumped up and said "I like that, I have the perfect dance for it."
 
We've been doing the dance - Minor Billy - ever since.
 
Constant Billy has been ... well, a constant of my Morris dance career.


Great story.

Question; What's the coolest thing about Morris dancing?
Answer; Bowler hats!!!

You were Steam Punk before Steam Punk was hip.

 

 

 

Sadly, my team wears bowlers - but I have an unusually large hat size, and there are simply no bowlers available in my size. Anywhere.



#16 asdormire

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Posted 03 October 2014 - 06:14 AM

Bigger than 7 3/8s? (My hat size). No promises, but I can keep an eye out for you.

Alan

#17 Jim Besser

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Posted 03 October 2014 - 06:25 AM

Bigger than 7 3/8s? (My hat size). No promises, but I can keep an eye out for you.
Alan



Uh...bigger than 8.

8 1/4, actually. You see my problem.

#18 asdormire

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Posted 03 October 2014 - 08:07 AM

I'll still keep an eye out. I tend to stop by actual hat shops when I get a chance, so it actually might give me an opportunity to get a lead that might help you. Also, quarter horse congress starts soon, and if I decide to go, there should be some hatmakers there. No guarantees.




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