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Jonathan Taylor

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Everything posted by Jonathan Taylor

  1. Hello Mike, Well, most of the people think this. And some people think like me, that is: - It is very possible to play the English Concertina with the same feeling as the Anglo. Even when playing Irish Traditional Music. The thing is that most of English Concertina players don't use the bellows to get that bouncing feeling that the Anglos get. I fully agree. Unlike Anglo players, they are not forced to change bellows direction to get certain notes, so they only do it when they need air. Also true. All it needs is awareness of the possibilities. In particular, when you are playing a note and using the bellows for emphasis, the direction of the bellows is irrelevant. And the bellows direction of the previous note, i.e. whether you just changed direction or not, is even more irrelevant. Jonathan
  2. 11-13 May is the German Concertina Weekend near Bielefeld. So having the SSI on 4-6 May opens the possibility of combining the two for us. Sorry for not replying sooner but I've been feeling like death warmed up these last few days. Jonathan
  3. Another concertina on the telly: http://www.redbeemedia.com/design/bbc2_morris.shtml Anyone recognize the music?
  4. Perhaps it's a Swedish long-eared raven. I hear they're quite a bit smaller than normal ravens.
  5. Possibly that's because you are in the States. In England, where there is more morris and more English concertinas, it is not unknown, and I have known a couple of good English concertina players of Cotswold morris tunes. I don't believe it's any different than any other melody instrument. Chris I think I can claim with some confidence that every single Morris musician in France or Switzerland plays English concertina. Jonathan
  6. Dear C.Netters I have taken over organizing the calendar of the International Concertina Association. This exists in two forms: on the ICA web site (itself in line for a revamp) and in printed form in our mag/newsletter Concertina World, for the benefit of the large proportion of members without Internet access. We would like to include as many events with a concertina flavour as possible, not only ICA events, and therefore would like to ask you for your input. If you know of any event -- workshops, concerts, meetings, lectures -- with anything to do with concertinas, please let us know. In future, this web page will be updated at least a week and events can of course be entered anytime. But for Concertina World, there's a print deadline. So if you already have something you would like to have in print also, could you let me have all the necessary info by Monday 12 December 2005 at the latest. You can reply either to the list, or via my c.net profile, or by using the following address (antispammingly rendered as an image): Best regards Jonathan Taylor
  7. Everyone please note that the correct link is now http://www.concertina.org/pica/index.htm Also, the "Home" links on all pages currently point to the wrong copy of the home page, which has a wrong link to the ICA and no link to the CSFRI-CUNY. We'll try to fix things asap. Thanks Jonathan Taylor
  8. On holiday in Ireland last August, I took this photo at Ennis Friary. It shows what appear to be unfinished Aeola components roughly fashioned from what looks (admittedly to my geologically untrained eye) like granite. The one at bottom left is clearly an attempt at a reed pan, but it looks like the craftsman's chisel unfortunately slipped all the way to the centre hole when he was carving the first reed groove, thereby rendering the part useless. On the right-hand side of the part in the centre of the photo, if one looks very closely one can just make out a very faint mark where a finger rest was once attached, evidence that this part was originally intended to be the left end of an English concertina. However, distinctive thumbstrap screwhole patterns cannot be detected, indicating that these remains predate both Wheatstone and Lachenal. Another explanation could be, of course, that these (obviously human ) artefacts represent an exciting transition phase in the evolutionary development of the wheel. The object at top shows an further interesting stage, before the concept of "round" was extended to include the entire circumference.
  9. This workshop is part of the Rhine Valley Irish Association's 10th Annual Feis Ceol Weekend of Music and Dance Workshops, Mollkirch, Alsace, France, 13-16 May 2005 (Whitsun/Pentecost weekend). For further details see http://www.rvia-online.net/feisceol.htm. The concertina tutor this year is Aoghán Lynch. Other tutors include members of his group SLIDE and the Shaskeen Ceilidh Band. No matter what it says on the leaflet, there are actually sessions every night. Although the workshop is as usual aimed at Anglo players, EC players are also welcome. This'll be my 9th time. In fact, some years ago, Aoghán couldn't make it, so I joined the accordion workshop instead. No problem. feisceol2005.pdf
  10. Worse mistakes than that have been made there... in honour of one of them, the next tune I compose will be called, "The Swedish Long-Eared Dwarf Deer".
  11. A couple of updates on this perennial... 1. Last year in June I was at a concertina workshop in France, part of the Rhine Valley Irish Association feis ceoil (every year at Whitsun/Pentecost). The workshop was led by Aoghan Lynch of the group Slide ( and the rest of them were there too). There were about 5 Anglo players and I was the only one with an EC. Inevitably they started on the topic of alternative fingerings. I usually switch off at this point (for obvious reasons) but this time it got more interesting. Aoghan was demonstrating how to use alternative fingering to avoid breaking up the flow of a passage of music with bellows direction changes. Easy for him to talk, he plays a top-of-the-range 38-key Suttner with just about every important note available in both directions. But what are you supposed to do with a 30-key, if the only option you have for a certain note happens to be in the opposite direction? In that case, Aoghan said, do some experimenting and find an alternative note that harmonizes or otherwise fits in with the tune. So here we have this characteristic of the Anglo (namely the necessity for bellows changes to reach certain notes) that for decades has been supposed to be so interwoven with Irish music (as the so-called "built-in bounce") that it is often claimed to be the reason why the Irish adopted the Anglo and not the EC. Yet one of the top contemporary players of Irish traditional music on the Anglo concertina is telling people to change the notes of a passage of music rather than apply this characteristic. It would appear that this characteristic is not only not necessary for Irish music, but in some cases is actually a liability. 2. In 2003, the English musician and singer Dick Miles, who now lives in Co. Cork, entered the Co. Cork concertina competition with his English concertina -- and won (Living Tradition magazine isue 58 Sep/Oct 2004). It seems that the Irish themselves have much less of a problem with the EC than some anglophobic Irish-Americans. Jonathan Taylor
  12. Edited to remove a comment no longer relevant to this thread
  13. Edited to remove a comment no longer relevant to this thread
  14. Perhaps we can have a jar together. Are there any photos of them (or you) from last year on the web site? This is what I look like: (the hairy one) Cheers Jonathan
  15. Hopefully Stephen Chambers will have finally got there after being en route from Dublin for months... Cheers Jonathan http://www.eigsemrscrotty.com/
  16. Well, for a start off, how many fingers have they got? And how many on the other hand?
  17. I have been playing the English concertina for the past 12 years and Irish trad. on it for at least the past 10 years. One of the compliments I received over this time was from my Irish Anglo-playing friend George, who said: "I hate you Jonathan. Because you play Irish music on the English better than I do on the Anglo, and you make it sound like an Anglo." But he doesn't like sitting next to me in sessions because my Aeola treble -- ebony-ended, not metal -- makes his ears hurt. So much for Anglos being louder. One problem with learning any concertina is keeping the notes distinct and separate. On the English it's important to do this, otherwise they run into one another and you end up with a continuous amorphous mush, with no clear rhythm, emphasis or structure, and completely lacking punch. On the English you can do this for bar after bar nonstop until you run out of air, and obviously, Irish trad. played this way sounds like utter crap. I have often heard beginners do this, especially when nervous. Forgive me if I'm wrong, but I suspect that that is what Lawrence is doing, to some extent, at least. Now Anglo beginners will tend to make exactly the same mistake, but will forced to separate the notes at least some of the time by the bellows reversals, which will also provide emphasis. That is what Lawrence is hearing from the Anglo players he mentioned. Note: it is not the bellows reversals themselves producing this effect, but the note separations forced by the bellows reversals. But Anglo players who progress beyond this level have to learn how to separate their notes properly, too, just like English players have to. So better players of either system can put in emphasis and punch at will, of course, without needing to rely on reversals. Which means that the apparent advantage of the Anglo that Lawrence is observing only exists up to a certain skill level, and that English players can produce much the same effects as Anglo players, whatever style of music is played. One such typical Anglo effect that is very difficult to impossible on the English (for me personally anyway) is playing in octaves -- playing whole bars of the tune with both the right hand and an octave lower also with the left hand. The most I can achieve in this is short phrases. But while this is a common feature of Irish Anglo music, it is impossible on many other typical Irish trad. instruments and therefore cannot be an essential feature of Irish music in general. To compensate for this drawback of the English, there are other common Irish trad. features which are much easier on the English, e.g. fast triplets up or down on to any note (often heard in top-class uilleann piping). So my advice to Lawrence is this: if you were starting the concertina from scratch, with Irish in mind, I would say: get an Anglo. But in your particular case, there are drawbacks to changing to anglo or learning Anglo alongside English: - You will never be able to get a similar-quality Anglo for one of your Englishes for the same price. - You will lose two years until your Irish playing has reached the level that your Anglo-playing friends have now. At which point you, like they are now, will still be using bellows reversals as a crutch to note separation. So: if you are dead set on playing 100% Irish Anglo music complete with playing in octaves: get an Anglo. But if it's 100% (or whatever) Irish music on a concertina you want, the English will do fine, believe me. If as you say your ambitions are not high, you will probably get more mileage for your time and money by sticking with the English and concentrating on improving your note separation. This will help your playing in general, not only the Irish. You might have trouble finding someone in Southern England who plays Irish on the English, but if you think I might be able to help, feel free to contact me off-forum. I'm over there pretty often.
  18. Elsbeth and I will be there again. Look forward to seeing you JT
  19. Must be "angels". You won't find any Anglos in paradise. They'll all be in hell with the melodeons and John Kirkpatrick (the Devil has all the best tunes). I SINCERELY hope that was a typo for "gentle". Yes, I can imagine, but what was her reaction? I don't know what my spousal unit would think about being mistaken for a concertina but I'll try to find out tonight. IF I can find her thumbstraps and pinkie rests.
  20. Goran, first you ignore (on Jan 6) the second part of my original 99-word statement, now you ignore the first part. I have already answered this: Making the buttons and keyboard better for thick-fingered people would also make them worse for short-fingered people. How many more times do I have to repeat myself? Wrong. When the word "defective" is used, English speakers tend to understand it to mean "defective" and not "unsuitable". It was you who started arguing about the meaning, NOT Jim. So if you are a "lousy dilettante player", as you put it, what gives you the idea that you are competent to give people advice on this forum about holding and playing the concertina? Scepticism is NOT prejudging; it is withholding judgement until proof is forthcoming. And you didn't answer my question. You already know my answer. It's in the sentence above your question, in the same quote. No. Evidence would be a finished instrument with your modifications, equal or better in musical capabilities as a traditional instrument. But without scale drawings, nobody can build one. 1) That explains a lot. But is ergonomy not a science, then? 2) Presumably whatever you were referring to when you said: Presumably your ideas. 3) So what? Wrong. It was just the rebels who were right who ended up in the history books. The ones who were wrong were simply disregarded and forgotten. To summarize: after I presented an explanation of concertina keyboard and button sizes (and you didn't), you attempted 4 (four) times to discredit my explanation, and me personally, with yet another flood of irrelevant verbiage. And you have still not disproved it. I won't be answering any further replies of yours in this topic. Jonathan Taylor
  21. I have in my mind a picture of Lester playing Shepherd's Hey, entering so much into the spirit of things that he starts dancing it as well, forgetting he hasn't got handkerchiefs in his hands, and ripping his concertina apart.... Jonathan
  22. My God, two Erwins.... the mind boggles..... I think he is currently of no fixed abode; there appears to be only a snail mail contact address: Concertino Hirschbergleinstr. 2 D-95448 Bayreuth Germany Jonathan
  23. Easy, Jim. It's Joe, Jim. Friend, Jim. Friend. Joe: Whether snug or loose: how far in the straps do you put your thumbs? (It's getting too late here for a full explanation what I mean right now; more tomorrow) Jonathan
  24. "Unmistakeable and room-brightening"? Chris is a master of the understatement. As he well knows, Erwin has the most infectious giggle on the planet. Pity it can't be filled in bottles. Jonathan P.S. With the exception of his awesome snore, Erwin is quite harmless.
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