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Łukasz Martynowicz

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Everything posted by Łukasz Martynowicz

  1. I wasn’t expecting to hear Claudio Constantini here. Just yesterday, while shooting my cover photo I was listening to his Bach renditions. One of ma favourite Bandoneonists.
  2. Just reposting this here, for completeness sake of this thread.
  3. Last year I wasn't ready to participate. This year I'm still not really ready as well, but hey, you only live once So here are my offerings. Those are first recordings made with my big box and first recordings after my 4 year break and re-learning everything pretty much from scratch. Playing concertinas is not like riding a bike at all The first one is a great tune I fell love in after listening to the performance of Luis Villegas on Bandoneon. It sqeezes nearly entire range out of my big box, and more (there is only E6 left out on the high end and my box is short of D2 on the low end). The second one is old but gold Roslin Castle, played as low as possible. However, despite my best efforts this recording doesn't do justice to those bass notes. Both recordings are ways from being perfect, both on my side and technical side, but I hope you'll enjoy them anyway
  4. The process of French Polish I was taught goes like this: - first you prime with undiluted solution, wait 24hrs, lightly sand with fine grade steel wool and then rub filler into the pores with another coat of undiluted shellac and sand again - you then proceed to put on layers of gradually thinner dilution, starting with half up to 1/8 or even 1/16 for the last few - oil is there to ensure no friction of your pad. You add only a tiny amount to later layers, but since it is pure lineseed oil it will harden along with resin. Since concertinas are so small, it is not really needed, because you’ll still have a fresh load on your pad at the end of the current layer. You basically make one or two quick swipes and then wait for the layer to solidify for an hour or two. Final coat thickness is too low to even out pores, so no, even 30 layers is not enough to ensure glossy finish without filler. If however a satin finish is the goal, it is way faster and simpler to apply shellac with flat, soft brush.
  5. My personal experience is that concertina dB measured at 1m, exceeding 90dB hurt my ears. I think this is mostly about the energy caried by higher partials, because higher reeds hurt more and bass reeds don’t hurt no matter the meter readout. The box I made had very open fretwork originally and had to be baffled with carefully designed irregular baffle to cut those partialls. I first cut those and then continued with refinement of the baffle and then corrected padhole diameter to lower and even out the perceived loudness (perceived loudness differs greatly from measured loudness, so low reeds measure at different dB levels than high reeds).
  6. You can see my custom handle design here. I give a detailed breakdown of how it works in a next post and you can see it in action a page earlier. The reason I made it, is because I wanted to play chord rhythms everywhere on the keyboard and minor chords on a Hayden force the hand into position that makes playing steady rhythms with a hand strap difficult, especially with fingers as long as mine. Is it necessary? Well, no, Bandoneon players play with stock handstraps on 71 button instruments. Is it helpful? Yes, certainly. There is also another reason people swap traditional handles on even small concertinas. Many people have problems with their wrists and traditional handles forces the hand into position that exacerbate the problem.
  7. Concertinas are loud. Very loud, which is then amplified by playing inside small rooms. I had to cover my CC Elise's "fretwork" with EVA foam inserts to stop my ears hurting after just a couple of tunes into practice session, because it peaked at >100dB, with >90dB being the norm. When creating my current box I designed it so it has ~70dB at typical pressure. What you can do, is install EVA foam baffle under the fretwork. You only need a thin line (around 1mm) of opening around the perimeter of the baffle for reeds to get enough air. If you don't want to modify your concertina from the inside, you can simply tack a cutout from the foam for practice sessions from the outside. It will not be pretty, but it will work if it is near airtight. Other than that, you can play outside. Concertinas project the sound sideways, away from the player. Playing outside, away from solid walls, no sound bounces back to you.
  8. You are very right of course. I just wanted to comment on my "mechanical immobilization device" here - only the tip of the thumb is immobilised completely, the rest of the thumb movement is restricted to a single plane, and the rest of the hand has more freedom, than on an English with pinky rest. I don't know any technique, neither fingering nor bellows, that is impaired by this "device".
  9. …and to complete melody as well. This is the second biggest annoyance with to few buttons - when you play a steady rhythm on the LH but must interrupt it or grow new fingers for those few odd melody notes that go below C4… One of the tunes I play is „Two guitars”, where melody line goes up to D6 and down to A3. Same with the „Riverside” mentioned above, down to A3… Or another tune, „Last Waltz” from Oldboy movie, where on 46b I’m missing just a single Eb4 on the RH. I can dive in on the LH for those, but at the expense of accompaniment fluidity. With my desired repertoire there is simply no such thing as „too many buttons”. And a word about getting lost - this is where my rigid thumb „thimble” and antler handling system beats both handstrap and thumbstrap/wrist strap solutions - it has no play, what you feel on your palm, together with the angles in the thumb give you absolute positioning. I’m only having some troubles with a single, really long jump from Eb to G#, everything else is precise enough.
  10. Exactly this. With less buttons I often had to move entire accompaniment up an octave to preserve those walkdowns, but it often comes with it’s own can of worms. Inversions also can go so close to the melody line, that a perfectly good large interval becomes too dissonant to work well, so you have to cut down. Because of this I will probably build an even larger box (in some rather distant future), going all way down to C2. I simply hate incomplete accompaniments. But I agree, that this kind of box would be unsuitable for typical concertina trad genres. @gcarrere I agree, that larger boxes are more static bellows movement wise, but you can very much compensate for that with more dynamic fingerings, especially on LH side, BUT it requires dropping a traditional handstrap for more ergonomic handling system, that allows for independent wrist movement. After all, accordions, which are way heavier and more cumbersome than concertinas are perfectly capable of really dynamic play.
  11. Like David wrote, Hayden is a type of duet concertina layout, which is very chord and music theory centric. It is way harder to play accompaniment and melody simultaneously on an English. Well, in my case "as few as you can get away with" typically means 2-3 notes at once, but the number of simultaneous notes I play heavily depends on what exactly I play and what I want to achieve. So, if I play a moody tune, like Agnes Obel's Riverside, then verses indeed have alternating single note accompaniment, but the chorus has a 1+2 rhythm on the LH, because 1+1 rhythm is just too thin. If I play a rock cover/accompaniment, then I can go with as many as 6 simultaneous notes to achieve the required punch. Same goes for polyphony pieces - I currently learn a piece which peaks at 5 simultaneous lines, one of which is a high drone. BUT, and it is a big but, I do high number of simultanous notes only on my big box, where those notes are spread over three or four octaves. On a 46b it is indeed hard not to drown RH with the LH, as on many occasions accompaniment will overlap in the same octave as the melody.
  12. I don't know about other systems, but with Haydens buttons are extended downwards and sideways, and very little upwards. That is you get lower notes and more accidentals/enharmonics/overlap. The highest note available is F6, on Wakker H-2, while the highest note on a "standard" is D6. My large box goes from F2 to E6 and I could use couple of bass notes more and those four Ab links I'm missing. It all boils down to desired repertoire really. If you want to play rich accordion-like arrangements or classical music, larger box is better. If you want to play mostly trad music, smaller box will likely be enough and come in a lightweight and small package.
  13. To what David wrote, I would only add, that heavier and larger box isn’t a straightforward disadvantage. I have two boxes: 8 2/3” 66b button heavy one and 7” 45b featherlight one. The larger one is way easier to play accordion arrangments on, because heavier means sturdy and LH side simple doesn’t move at all. This makes large jumps between chords way easier. Also - larger diameter bellows indeed requires a bit more effort to move, but also provides enormous amounts of air. I don’t have to think about phrase lengths and reversal points at all on my big box, because phrases are typically way shorter than my bellows travel and there is always a margin left. I can also feed large chords or four note legato poliphony without any problems. From my perspective the main disadvantage is price, and second important disadvantage is reduced portability. They are still smaller than melodeons, but significantly harder to travel with.
  14. This was just an analogy trying to illustrate the level of sound scene detail achievable by binaural recording when compared to other methods. The main difference between binaural and stereo/dolby surround is that stereo/dolby try to reproduce the location of the sound source, while binaural recording tries to achieve „holographic” recording fidelity of phase shifts and volume differences at listener position so that our hearing sense can deconstruct directions faithfully. And it works. You hear exactly where the sound is coming from. If the recording is done in real environment, you also hear how exactly the sound bounces from the environment, which is the quality that all other methods lack (you only hear that it bounces, not how it bounces), giving you 3D space rendering that is comparable to „looking around the corner”, since hearing is not a synthesis of a series of 2D slices, like sight is, but an „everything at once” sense, that is then computationally deconstructed.
  15. I think the following analogy is a good one: - monophonic recording lets you look into the room from across the street - you see a flat image behind a window glass - stereophonic recording places you just outside the window, so you can get a better look, with some limited perspective, but you are still behind the glass - surround systems put you on a chair inside the room, but you can only look around a bit - binaural recording let you move around the room freely and closely examine everything, but at the same time exaggerates everything in a kind of hangover intensity
  16. As a Hayden player myself and a former Elise player, I can vouch for the system, but would advice for careful study if Elise has the notes you need. I have used it for a mix of trad, rock and accordion covers, but it is very limited. It is however good enough as a learning box. You can also easily use it with a makeshift thumb strap due to how hand straps are designed and how the screws are made, so it can be easily adjusted for wrist problems. And regarding availabilty of 46+ boxes, things might change in not so distant future, so if you like the logic of Haydens, go with it. You can always trade both Elise and Stagi and English is a poor choice for rock covers. One last word of advice - if you get Elise, get some 1mm EVA foam sheet from crafts store as well and make foam inserts for Elise’s „fretwork”. It is a very loud instrument with piercing tone, that made my healthy ears hurt. The EVA modification is fully reversible, straightforward and efficient with both softening the tone and reducing volume.
  17. 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).
  18. Read my reply above. Binaural recordings separate sides way more than they should for natural effect.
  19. 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.
  20. 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.
  21. 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.
  22. 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.
  23. 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.
  24. 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
  25. 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
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