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Tradewinds Ted

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About Tradewinds Ted

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    Chatty concertinist

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  • Interests
    Folk Music, incl. Banjo, Whistle, Dulcimer, Singing, and Dance
    Anglo Concertina
  • Location
    Now in Wisconsin! formerly in Lancashire.

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  1. Tradewinds Ted

    Tips & Tricks for Contra

    The film based on Anne Rice's book was relatively new at the time Peter first published, so Dave Barnett is correct. But of course Peter is also referring to the style of piano accompaniment used in a contra dance band, not just coming up with a random name for his instruction book. Apparently the broader definition of vamping is the repetition of a simple musical phrase or pattern. That can mean either exact repetition as needed to fill time, such as during the staging of a show, OR it can mean the repetition of a rhythmic chord pattern while the melody varies against it, as Wunks has described. As it happens "Boom-Chuck" is the basic rhythmic accompaniment style quite often used on the piano in a Contra-dance band. Therefore this is the most basic style described Peter's book, although he expands upon it quite a bit, offering both interesting variations and many alternatives, along with some sound advice on playing rhythmic accompaniment in a band, specifically for dancers. The main point of the book seems to be an exploration of ways to balance the dichotomy of the need for absolutely rock solid rhythm for the dancers vs. the excitement provided by variations from the basic pattern.
  2. Tradewinds Ted

    Wanted! Wheatstone metal badge

    and perhaps your address as you don't seem to live in London! or maybe just your house number, in the style of a serial number badge.
  3. Tradewinds Ted

    Any New Swan concertina owner ?

    Your Jones doesn't have metal ends, but the Swan does. Your Jones does appear to have thin leather baffles in the ends though, which can help to reduce the overall volume slightly, and may help produce a warmer, less harsh sound. I think the idea was to suggest trying something similar in the metal ends of the Swan.
  4. Tradewinds Ted

    Brenda Stubbert's Reel

    I don't know if you are trying to learn it by ear, or if you have the sheet music. or even if you read music. I've never played this one, so I can't offer any tips, or tricks, or preferred fingerings, but I do see that there are several settings for this tune over at the Session. https://thesession.org/tunes/727 Several settings are in A dorian, which means the same key signature as G major so it ought to be possible even on a 20 button C/g Anglo. Of course the reversals on the third row may help with getting it up to speed. Hard to pick out but it sounds like the fiddle is playing a version in a style similar to the first or third setting, I think the concertina isn't playing all of those embellishments, although difficult to keep track. Something like the second or fifth setting ought to do, even if others are playing all the frills. I assume that A dorian is the original key, so I didn't look at the other two settings. They were clearly joking about taking it slow in that video! I'm no expert, that is WAY faster than I've ever played anything, on any instrument. They have impressive technical skill to be able to do this, but too fast for the tune in my opinion, as I really would prefer to hear the music when I listen to it, rather than miss most of it. Sessions in a pub can get going pretty fast. That is fun if you can do it, but it doesn't serve the music well, and if this tune was ever played as a reel for dancing it would need to be much slower. In my opinion if you can get this playing this at even 1/2 the speed of the video then you are already close; anything more than 2/3 the speed of the video is too fast. Edit to say I DO like the tune, despite my curmudgeonly comments. Thanks for sharing it.
  5. Tradewinds Ted

    Tips & Tricks for Contra

    I'd suggest taking a look at the book by Peter Barnes -"Interview with a Vamper: Piano Accompaniment Techniques for Traditional Dance Music" While this book is clearly written with piano in mind, he is brilliant at both making sure the music keeps the dancers on the beat and suiting the dance, and also offering stylistic variety. Written with the assumption that other instruments are carrying the melody, so you would be playing rhythm and harmony, but not the melody, even though piano is obviously just as capable of playing melody+ as is the concertina. (When you want to play melody, you already know how to do that, and then the rest of the band plays the rhythm and harmonies.) Available from him directly at canispublishing.com I also see it in stock at Elderly music, and Amazon
  6. Tradewinds Ted

    Desert island concertinas

    Learned (or perhaps re-learned) something then. Thanks. I somehow had it in my head it was both a desert and deserted! So really, in addition to choosing an instrument, I need to choose a good single-hand boat.
  7. Tradewinds Ted

    Desert island concertinas

    Maybe pinch someone else's prize instrument to bring with me, so the owner would have an incentive to come rescue? If there isn't going to be a rescue, then I'd be looking for something durable, and easy to repair, so more likely one of the top end hybrids. I assume I also get to bring tools? If it is to be one I already actually own, then a tough choice between the 20 button Lachenal I first learned on and fell in love with, or the 26 button Jones I play more often lately because of the additional notes. Both have very sweet tone, but the Lachenal is sweeter, I was very lucky to find this particular instrument when I first started out. But I'd be worried about the effects of humidity on the wood, because I have experienced problems with the dry indoor winter air here - do you think a desert island would be excessively dry (desert) or humid (island) ?
  8. Tradewinds Ted

    Anglo playing guidance needed

    Yes Don, as Bill says, the "American Fiddle Styles" book is clearly written for the Anglo. But the approach to using the reversals is specifically aimed at creating phrases, analogous to bowing of fiddle. So if you can ignore* the complication of the button positions for each direction on the Anglo, and instead pay close attention to all the comments on phrasing, I think that part could be excellent for a Duet player. I think though that you would need to be willing to read/decode the Anglo button number tab system in order to know what harmony notes go where even though your fingers will be on different buttons, and of course pay close attention to the lines marking the bellows direction. There is of course a guide near the start, showing the tab system used, and I'm assuming that as a Hayden player you do read/transcribe standard notation. I don't recall if all of the harmony notes throughout the book are also written in standard notation, or if only the melody notes are in the notation and the harmony notes in tab (button numbers, which you would then need to transcribe to standard notation), and I don't have the book ready at hand. *By "ignore" the Anglo button positions, I mean pay detailed attention to them in order to transcribe to standard notation, and THEN ignore them, except of course to also note where the author has commented that the lack of an available reversal on the Anglo has imposed a compromise on the musical phrasing, since you won't need to follow such restrictions. You would then need to work out for yourself whatever new compromises and finger tangles the Hayden layout introduces instead.
  9. Tradewinds Ted

    Houston, TX Concertina Teacher

    Not what you asked about, but perhaps you could look into the Old Time Music and Dulcimer Festival in Palestine, TX the weekend of March 28-30, 2019. While concertinas don't make the festival title, they will have some concertina workshops. You can search here for threads in this site with more detail about that aspect of the festival, both for this year and prior years, to give you an idea of what might be involved. The festival website itself has a page about the concertina workshops too, and of course more about the rest of the festival. http://www.oldpalmusic.com/Concertinas.html I've never been, but as it is perhaps only 2.5 hours drive away from Houston, I imagine that beyond the workshops you might also find other players from the Houston area or at least nearby. And as a banjo player I expect you could have fun at an old-time music festival any case, if you brought both instruments! (I play banjo a too, just a little)
  10. Tradewinds Ted

    Anglo playing guidance needed

    If you still want Bertram Levy's newer book on "American Fiddle Styles" Try the link to his website and then look at the "Concertina Tutor" tab. http://bertramlevy.com/concertina-tutor I bought this directly through his website when I lived in the UK a few years back, and it appears it is still possible to do so. With shipping to the UK it will cost a bit more than his introductory book which you can get from Theo, but it is interesting and assumes you already have some familiarity with the instrument, so the two are complimentary - not overlapping.
  11. Tradewinds Ted

    Tedrow Anglo baritone

    Another hybrid option to consider is the Morse ESB Baritone Anglo, sold by the Button Box in the USA. Perhaps they also have a distributor in the UK. These are also very nice instruments, and it seems even the lowest reeds start readily, although my experience so far is limited.
  12. Tradewinds Ted

    Tedrow Anglo baritone

    I fairly recently acquired a Tedrow Baritone Anglo, which used to belong to a friend. I was certainly appreciative (envious) the first time he showed it to me. When I was considering buying a similar instrument available several years ago, I asked him about his, and the advice I recall was that I ought to go ahead, and "consider it an investment in my future happiness." Although I didn't quite make the purchase at that time, I very, very nearly did. The last time we had gotten together to play, he also mentioned that he found he didn't play the baritone the same way in a session, mostly because the lower baritone register doesn't cut through with the melody in a session the way the treble register does. It does seem to be a good choice of instrument to accompany a melody, and for singing it doesn't seem to step on the voice range as much as the treble Anglo. I notice that the lowest notes can be just a little slower to start, which might be an issue when playing at full tilt on the melody in a Irish Traditional session, but I've not been doing that on any instrument really, and this works just fine for my speed. I like it, but I haven't been playing it much yet. That is mostly because I've been playing less lately overall, but perhaps also because it reminds me of the loss of my friend, and so it doesn't really feel like it is mine yet.
  13. Pianist has described the Swaledale Squeeze well from what I remember. I only attended in once in May 2014, before I moved back to the USA. I was still mostly a beginner at the time (perhaps I I really still am.) Many people there were much more accomplished than me, and others just starting out, newer than I was. I had a great time, and I would absolutely go again if I was still in the UK. A few details I might add is that there was a dance on Saturday night, held in the community hall in town, a bit down the hill, and also a concert on Sunday at the end for willing groups of participants, in that same venue. There were workshops of various levels and styles, and opportunities to share tunes well into the evening, although I went to bed comparatively early (sometime before midnight.) I did stay at the youth hostel; accommodations were shared rooms with bunk beds, but I didn't think it overly crowded. Meals were good, although not fancy.
  14. Swaledale Squeeze in May http://swaledalesqueeze.org.uk/
  15. Tradewinds Ted


    I find that instead of pushing in with the heel of my hand against the instrument, I instead make some contact against the hand rest with the edge of my palm farthest from my thumb, and also some contact with my thumb against the instrument on the strap, and by arching my hand slightly I create just a little tension with the back of my hand. This way there is very little slop in the movement of my hand relative to the concertina ends when changing from push to pull, as if the straps were tight. But just a slight change in the shape of that arch allows my hand to move around as needed, because the straps are actually somewhat loose. This completely fails if the straps are excessively loose of course. So the end of the hand rest closest to the thumb is some distance away from my hand, most the time. I am intrigued by shaped hand rests that Jake offers as an option at Wolverton Concertinas. https://wolvertonconcertinas.com/concertina-ergonomics/ I have never tried one of these instruments, but would strongly consider one if in the market for another instrument in future. These look made to fit that slightly arched shape under the palm, which I think if properly fitted would reduce the pressure I feel on the outer edge of my hand after a while, by spreading that contact over more of the palm. It might also mean less pressure against the thumb, although I haven't thought about that often. The joint of my thumb seems to fall directly on the strap rather than the edge, so the leather acts as a cushion for me, instead of an irritant.