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Łukasz Martynowicz

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  1. The dummy or real head in the middle shields microphones from sounds coming from the other side, separating channels, but what is even more important, physical spacing and fields of microphones in binaural setup match natural ones, so it reproduces spatial distribution of sound sources perfectly. This creates effect of physical presence. This is why binaural recordings should be listened via headphoned and with your sight blocked (blindfolds work better than simply closed eyes, because closing eyes changes the context to „inner eye” while blindfolds allow you to keep looking but not seeing anything, increasing the strength of illusion).
  2. Read my reply above. Binaural recordings separate sides way more than they should for natural effect.
  3. A word of warning - binaural recordings can be epileptogenic. Binaural concertina recordings can be even more epileptogenic, because of the nature of free reed sound. If you have a history of neurological problems, do not listen to those recordings on headphones. The reason for that is that binaural recording separate sides more than in nature, as they do not take bone conductivity into account. Effectively, English concertina ornamentation in binaural recording is an equivalent of police car strobes.
  4. As Alex wrote, the main reason those are slow to speak and quiet is probably that chambers are too short. You need a lot of length between the tip of the tongue and the padhole to improve that, like 200-250% of the tongue length. Setting of the reed and stiffness of the valve may also play a role, but to lesser extent. Increasing stiffness of the valve above what ensures airtightness only increases the pressure offset required to operate the reed - the attack of the reed may be steeper, but it will operate only if you push bellows harder. Plastic valves do not really work with bass reeds, because the larger/stiffer plastic valve is, the more noisy it is.
  5. On both. First in octaves, to get accustomed with the difference in fingerings of the same chord on LH and RH. Then with different mixes of oom-pahs and arpeggios - simultaneous different articulations of the same chord on LH and RH. Then transitions only on the RH while sticking to oom-pahs on the LH. The goal of all of this was to be able to play easily in "bonefire guitar" style, as back then I focussed mostly on accompaniment for pop/rock tunes. The revelation about how melody emerges from harmony was an unexpected byproduct of those excercises. In the end, on a day with a good "flow" I was able to freely improvise within a chord structure. But that was before my 4 years break. Nowadays, I stick to "as written" pieces mostly, but those old skills help greatly when learning new accompaniments.
  6. When I started learning Hayden, because of how this layout has music theory embedded very directly in the button grid, I found out that it was way easier for me to get accustomed with common melody phrases by playing chords instead. The method was this - I first practiced simple 2/4 and 3/4 tempo oom-pahs of common three/four chord patterns until I could unconsciously move hands to root positions. Then practiced different arpeggio patterns of those chord progressions, and finally moved to linking those arpeggios or oom-pahs with different transitions. This approach really tought me how melody is constructed from harmony and then I already had many common melody patterns already trained in my muscle memory. A second thing about chords - I only get the flow of the tune right when I finally merge accompaniment sucessfully with the melody line. This is why I usually try to learn both simultaneously. It is hard and awkward at first to control both tasks at the same time, and remember what each hand is supposed to do, but it is even harder for me to add accompaniment to a fully smooth melody later on. And a word about muscles - the single best and eye opening tip I ever got from a seasoned piano player was that music is played with your finger’s extension muscles, not flexion muscles. This is because we don’t really use them in everyday tasks, so they can be trained for speed, timing precision and endurance much better than flexion muscles. So @OP - when you end a session with tired fingers focus on which groups of forearm muscles hurt - if those are outer muscles, then it is normal and you just have to train more. If those are inner muscles, then you need to relax your grip and focus on lifting your fingers in rhytm instead of pressing in rhytm and let the residual tension of the hand press buttons for you. So, a neutral position when you strap in should be with buttons pressed, not hovering comfortably above. You then „prime” your fingers by lifting them.
  7. My mind has a very clear separation between "play from the sheet" and "play from memory". If I stick with "play from the sheet" for too long when learning a tune, I must then spend a whole lot of time "transcribing" it from paper to memory and disconnecting the tune from the sheet. Also, even if I know a tune by heart from listening to it and I can whistle it freely, I cannot play it from ear, my mind just doesn't work that way - moving fingers is not something my mind intuitively connects with the music I hear in my mind. So if you want to be able to play everything without sheets, my advice is this - decipher the tune from the sheet, phrase by phrase, but then repeat those phrases solely from memory. Stick to the shortest phrase possible and repeat it until one of two things happen - you can play it couple of times in a row without fumbling, or you start to fumble in places you thought you know already. Then stop and take another phrase, from a different tune even, and try to learn that. After you can no longer play even the shortest new phrase without fumbling it badly, play something you know well and end your session. 15 minutes every day is way better than an hour every couple of days. Also, I learn the fastest if I try to learn couple of tunes at once. Your session should look like this - play a tune or two you play well as a starter, then try to learn/practice couple of phrases that are new, then end your session with a tune you play well, this may even be the same tune you opened your session with. If you can't play your "starter tunes" smoothly/don't feel the music that day, then do not play at all at this moment. Play later or next day. This is so you don't imprint mistakes into your muscle memory and you don't feel frustrated about playing.
  8. While true, by the power of a very long and still very popular franchise, it could as well be only 11 years old. A five fold improvement over Paint it Black
  9. While played beautifully, most certainly popular and younger than classical music, I would like to point out however, that both Stairway To Heaven and Paint It Black are more than 50 years old now
  10. Increased audience because of covers of popular songs doesn’t surprise me in the slightest. Since my first days of owning a concertina I firmly hold a belief, that what prevents concertinas from getting more recognition is sticking almost solely to trad or classic repertoire. Just look at the modern renaissance of accordion as a mainstream instrument - once it found it’s way into indie rock / folk rock / folk metal bands, there is no stopping it. We need more covers of popular music, more arrangements of game music and an overall modernisation of repertoire. Even a single video going viral on YT can have a huge impact. Some time ago there was a game, „Sea of Thieves”. One of the goals in this game was collecting concertinas of various rarity. There were even posts on this forum looking for concertina arrangements of music from this game. Now go on YT and compare numbers of views and likes of various „Sea of Thieves” concertina covers and videos of even such talented trad players as Cohen Braithwaite-Kilcoyne or Simon Thoumire. Or compare number of subscribers of Cohen or Simon with a guy called Concertina Joel, a channel with the most popular „Sea of Thieves” covers. Lack of new talents and young players is a subject rised quite often here, usually attributed to high entry cost. But I think that antiquated and narrow repertoire is a way more important factor. Those cover videos have one thing in common - people have fun with cheapest concertinas, like Wren, Rochelle, Elise, or even cheap chineese boxes, and complain mostly at the lack of sheets for their instrument, not the quality of their instrument.
  11. The thing is - most of chromatic notation systems can just as easily be used as key oriented (either by simply using key signatures or as I do, by colour coding accidentals, so one look at the score gives you all the information you want at a glance) as they can be used for chromatic or atonal music. With opposite approach such as CMN, making it work for atonal or simply chromatic music is an awkward and unreasonably complicated workaround.
  12. I would either use Titebond or Zucchini extra chiaro. The latter is a solvent glue that does not penetrate materials and sticks best to itself, so can be completely removed by reactivating it with a fresh coat of itself and lifting it up with a stick covered with a dried coat of even more of the same glue. I use it for pads, bushings and valves.
  13. It is rather hard to make trapezoid tongues by hand... All concertina reeds have tongues simply cut from a longer strip of spring steel. But you're right about removing the tongue for tapering, I haven't thought of that. I wonder however if tapering trapezoid slot doesn't worsen the response and sound, since tapering performs the same duty as trapezoid shape.
  14. That is something I wondered myself - all brass DIX reeds are identical in tongue/slot geometry and materials. My brass DIX accordion are cheapest of the bunch, sound great and are relatively easy to design the reedpan for. "DIX concertina" require traditional reedpan, but I imagine, that they sound quite similar to accordion variant but I can see the advantage of smaller box possible with them, or that can be used to refurbish an antique box. But "DIX concertina original" are a curious beast, because the only real difference to "DIX concertina" is increased price... Unless their dimensions and angles differ, I haven't made a thorough comparison of those.
  15. Yes, I have noticed. But I’m not shure if you are aware - harmonikas.cz „concertina original” reeds are not proper concertina reeds, they only have dovetailed shoe and screws instead of rivets, but they have trapezoid tongues and DIX shaped parallel walls slots. They do not have tapered slots and while they sound more concertina like thanks to the brass shoe, they do not sound exactly like concertina reeds. And ignore my first post, I was thinking about helicon bass reeds instead of harmonium reeds. You most certainly can fit harmonium reeds in concertina and it will even be easier to do.
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