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Łukasz Martynowicz

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  1. I don’t think I have ever played using „periodical movement”. „Phrase movement” is natural and becomes transparent really quick. As David wrote, focussing on bellows position (and sometimes also a direction) is important mostly before long legato phrases, where there simply is no good moment to reverse bellows direction mid-phrase. One other case, where bellows direction is important, is that despite fingering patterns on push and pull are identical, muscle work on the pull is different than on the push and some note sequences can be easier to finger in one direction. This is especially true with hand straps and awkward pinky finger sequences. „Periodical movement” can result in unnecessary increase in difficulty of such phrases. There is also little point in trying to establish rigid spots for bellows reversals in a tune, as the air supply will last you for longer when you practice the tune quietly and then you’ll find yourself „gasping” when you play the same tune on full volume. Unless of course, you’ll always phrase bellows movement as if played at full volume, but then you close yourself to a single interpretation. Personally, my bellows movement pattern depends strongly on my momentary mood and „flow”, so I tend to make up for discrepancies as I go - if I stress a note/phrase a bit more than usual, then I will reverse bellows one more time somewhere else - there are usually more good spots to reverse the bellows than necessary, and there is always an air button to speed up the bellows extension/contraction before reversal, to make more room for the next phrase. That said, I’m currently so spoiled with abundance of air in my „big box” that I hardly think about bellows position anymore and only change bellows for accent/expression purposes.
  2. I guess you are ordering from harmonikas.cz? If so, you can ask them to send you samples, so you can hear the difference for yourself. The difference in tone is a result of each of the materials ephasizing/cutting different harmonics. Brass ones sound honky, „round” and a bit deeper than aluminum. Zinc have this distinct harsher, bandoneon „tin” sound and aluminum ones have the same sound as any other accordion reed out there - full and equalised, but somewhat boring. There is also one other difference, not sound related - brass and zinc plated reeds are significantly heavier than aluminum ones.
  3. Exactly this, but for me it is a deal breaker. Especially as an upgrade to Elise, both Troubadour and Peacock lacking LH A4 is baffling to say the least, as you utilise this button on Elise in most of what you can play on this little box. So when you „upgrade” you must rearrange everything.
  4. Just to add my two cents - I can whistle any tune by ear, but I can hardly whistle from notation. I can play from notation, but I can hardly play by ear. And one other thing - "playing from notation" has two completely separate modes in my case. If I learn to play by following notation in real time/focussing on it, I can't play that tune without notation. But If I only decipher phrases and then the entire learning process is notation-free, I can play it from memory, but I can't follow notation. Now, a fact that some may find interesting. I'm an epileptic, and as such I'm anticonvulsants, but on different in different periods of my life. Since I picked up concertina, I've been on 5 different ones. On each one, my musical sense and ability to play music is vastly different in character and extent. The two border cases are pretty much opposites - on one medication I have absolute musical memory and I hear structure, but playing the tune is mechanical and I can not resume from mid phrase after mistake, I must start from the beginning. I can also play in long sessions, as mistakes do not accumulate. On the other one though, I don't hear structure, but my playing is deeply expressive and emotional, I can continue after a mistake, but each mistake makes me more and more angry and at some point I can't play a single, coherent phrase anymore and I must stop the session.
  5. First of all, the blanket term "concertina" encompasses very different instruments, with very different capabilities. While you could attempt waltzes from Amelie or Libertango on an English or an Anglo, the arrangements will be limited. But on a large enough duet, those will sound similar to renditions on small accordions. So if you are more into music outside of folk tradition, you may want to focus on duets.
  6. A very apt description of how playing on a Hayden feels like, especially in "wrapped keys", very different experience to playing on an Anglo, especially 20b.
  7. My experience is that it is pointless to practice a single tune more than a couple of repetitions in one session, as each next repetition is usually less smooth. But then on the next session, it is suddenly a lot better. So, when only learning one tune, practice 2-3 times a day in separate sessions. Now about distractions and playing in other space than recording/target environment. Those are two separate problems. The latter is a problem of acoustics - your brain interprets the sound in a new room as entirely different tune (due to reverb, spectrum changes due to sound absorption etc), so it doesn't follow the muscle memory from the previous place. The remedy for that is to practice in as many different spaces as possible. Sometimes even playing with your doors closed vs your doors open makes the difference. Once your brain "calibrates" the tune for various environments this problem ends. As to distractions - what I found works best for me is a bit counterintuitive - once you learn how the tune goes... stop thinking about the tune when you play, let your mind wander, decouple your hands from conscious thoughts. This way there are no distractions anymore, because you are simply not overly focused on playing. Another advice - learn in phrases. When you talk/write, you don't think with letters. You are not even thinking with words most of the time, you are thinking with universal constructs couple of words long. So practice phrases and once one phrase is smooth enough that you usually don't make mistakes, learn another, and another. Most folk tunes are following the repeated parts construction anyways. When you find a particularly difficult fingerings, focus on those for a bit, then practice transition in and out of such phrase. And last but not least - the session structure should go like this: first you try to play as relaxed as you can what you already know how to play. Then practice a new difficult part/new tune, and then at the end of the session try to play relaxed again, possibly something entirely different or what you know best. This way, between the sessions, your brain will remember the joy of playing instead of hardships of learning new tunes.
  8. There is also a "building of" video for Crane duet with a bit better worksmanship on this channel and a sample music clip. So "lo-fi" concertinas are not a new concept and they do work, simply not for long/not too well.
  9. Mine 46: As to when - no sooner than fall. As to price point - anything between Stagi and Troubadour, it is too soon to tell. Ed's box - no idea, anything between weeks to months, and the price will depend on the final size of the instrument. At this point one of the variants entertained is a large, 70 buttons square box.
  10. I've just looked more closely at technical drawings on harmonikas.cz and indeed DIX concertina original also have trapezoid tongues, but strangely, have tongue scaling 2mm longer than DIX/DIX concertina reeds of the same size number. As to "more cumbersome" - printing reedpan for a hybrid is straightforward once you establish chamber dimensions, printing reedpan for dovetail reeds isn't. I'm not even sure it is possible to print one that won't require machining or gluing from two parts. Mounting valves on accordion reeds is also easier than with traditional concertina construction, especially with plastic reedpan, where mounting valve pins is not as easy as in wood. Unscrewing a screw and loosening one doesn't really take that much time than removing a dovetail reed.
  11. Those are 2x and 2.5x more expensive than plain DIX and only come in brass flavour. There is also no musical benefit from using "DIX concertina" over plain DIX, those have exactly same tongues and slots, "DIX concertina" are just heavier (more brass per two tongues) and more cumbersome to use, so contradict the "affordable" goal. "DIX concertina original" have straight tongues, however I don't know if they have tapered slots.
  12. Sadly, 46 DIX does not fit in 6 1/4" hex. That is why I plan a square one. Hex must be 6" 3/4 - 7" if all reeds are mounted flat. Keep in mind, that I'm talking about accordion style, rectangular, double tongue DIX, not DIX concertina or DIX concertina original reeds.
  13. I try very hard to convince Ed to try DIX reeds for a long time now, but he has only tried melodica ones, which are aluminum, and compared to Binci he's using have a worse tone. Harsh sound of low notes is a chamber size problem that can be managed in a large box. But LH side is not layed out yet. Linking is an option, I have instructed Ed on how they work and he already ordered necessary supplies, but it may still be difficult to implement links in a crowded box.
  14. I use MusixPro for melody practice when traveling, but never thought about pairing it with ThumbJam, so thanks for the tip!
  15. That is the current goal, yes. But since reed placement is not a trivial task, it may end with less than 55 buttons, but I don’t think it will be less than Beaumont’s 52.
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