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Łukasz Martynowicz

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Everything posted by Łukasz Martynowicz

  1. I disagree, that only because a century worth of players used unmodified instruments and acomplished great things, one should abandon all attempts to make the instrument more comfortable for himself. Especially when there are so many people suffering from repetitive strain injuries caused by original concertina ergonomics. But all different types of concertinas has their own ergonomic issues and one cannot simply compare EC ergonomics with Anglo or various duet systems or even styles of play. E.g.: EC neck strap works fine on EC, but IMHO it's shoulder variant (over right shoulder and below left arm) works better for duets, making (together with left thigh and hip) a very stable foundation for rhytmic accompaniment. Thumb strap is a great thing for EC and Hayden, as it gives much needed freedom of reach to far notes, but indeed comes with a great handicap in terms of bellows control. I have recently worked on an a different approach on a thumb+hand strap, that I'll use on my DIY Hayden - I'll show it to all of you as soon as it'll be ready.
  2. I have small dents in A buttons on both sides of my Elise and on my MIDI Hayden (which is a project in playable but still prototype form, on hold for much too long now...) and I will make them on my in-progress DIY 66 button Hayden as well. It makes finding rest position automatic by just swiping the tops of the keys around the center in one motion (my rest position is as I was to play A minor chord - it is in the center of a keyboard and makes great reference point for all other chords and notes positions). On Elise this was in fact more cruicial on the begining of learning this instrument (and after each modification of handrests/straps/thumb-straps I've made to it) but on my 64 button MIDI it was absolutely necessary to find position in the middle of a tune if for some reason I have to move my left hand from the buttons (e.g. when playing RH solo with vigorous bellows movements). But after couple of years playing I got used to using also just the keyboard to navigate any Hayden size: both Elise and 46 standard layout can be easily managed, because they only have Bb on the top of a keyboard so you can rely on C buttons to "find your way" mid-tune (for me it is a two step "calibration": set fingers for C major chord then move middle finger one button to the side from G to A and form A minor chord). On larger instrument however, like Wakker H2 (the layout of my MIDI box), having no marked A button makes this a two-step calibration for the right hand (Gmaj->Amin or placing fingers on first row then moving middle finger one octave higher) but a 3 step calibration for the left hand (or 2,5 steps when simultanously changing fingers and moving whole hand from F-G-A position to my resting A minor). So having a dent/mark on As is now just easier and more efficient, especially in the middle of a tune. For me, relying solely on a handrest/strap/thumb position usually ends with a one-button accuracy (usually in a G-A-D or A-D-E triangles) and since original Hayden keyboard is not mirrored and have a slant this usually means that my hands are not aligned to the same key. @ John: yes, You're right, there are no rigid finger-note allocations on a Hayden (at least for me, even on instrument as small as Elise) - I play major and minor tunes with different fingerings and because on a Hayden chord shapes are constant you move your hand constantly while playing accompaniment - this makes playing ompah rhytms very easy and steady. Also, it is sometimes imposible to play different melodies in the same key (or even different variations within a single tune) with the same fingerings when playing legato because you'll have to use the same finger on two subsequent notes.
  3. Thank you David, the fact that You were unaware of this detail is a sort of an answer by itself - obviously You would pick up any clear differences between character of notes:) I'm aware that many other concertinas have perpendicular reeds: Elise, Bastaris, cheap german anglos etc.. And that bandonions and some multi-voice german concertinas have a mix of perpendicular/parallel reeds but they always (?) have a mix between voices, not between notes. @Matthew's Elise: the best way to upgrade this instrument is to replace buttons to fully bushed ones - I've done it right after purchase, as Elise turned out to be a downgrade in quality from cheap german anglo because of the buzz of buttons... I don't know if suitable buttons can be found as I have done mine myself. And you'll have to re-drill the holes in the case to bigger diameter to acomodate bushings. But after this replacement the action on Elise becomes quiet, responsive and rigid (no wobbly buttons) and much easier (and faster) to play.
  4. David, a little question for you about Beaumont: on a ButtonBox site, there are two pictures of inner workings of this concertina: the action board and the mixed reedpan-reedblocks reed mounting of the right hand side (don't know if the same applies to LH side). But one of the main differences in sound between accordion and concertinas (apart from reeds of course, but this is a hybrid) comes from reeds orientation - is there an audible difference beetween depth/richness of those reedblock notes when playing Beaumont? I think I can hear them in the recordings on the site, but this may be as well caused by recording setup used or me imagining them...
  5. Ha! Your recording was my only sample of an Elise tone when I was buying one two years ago. I remember that I wondered how much of such a nice sound was from the acoustics of the surrounding. And I see we share same regret on the Thummer never getting to market
  6. Maybe I took to little time and effort to put my thougts clearly... What I wrote about squezing into octaves was obviously not about instrument compass or sticking with whole acompaniment througout a song within two octaves. It was about building harmonies (plus melody) over more than 2-3 octaves AT ONCE. We play concertinas with 6 or 8 fingers, pianists can use 10 fingers (I personally can span on almost 4 octaves ona piano, benefit of long fingers), accordinists have registers and multiple voices. At least on a Hayden, it is difficult to add notes to triads (e.g. you can build a major chord with the root strenghted by repeating it an octave lower (4 fingers) but it is extremely hard to do the same with minor chord). Only few finger configurations that allow simultanous play over full compass make sense musically and are comfortable enough to be put into practical use (another example: even on 64 button Hayden one cannot use all available chords in some edge keys, because it is hard to jump the whole keyboard just for one note...) Range is continuous of course, but only biggest duets have sides and overlap large enough to think about hands independently and not bother about incorporating accompaniment into melody line or vice-versa and enable using all the fingers at once, like on the piano. Many concertinas are baffled, it is more of a personal choice really, I wouldn't say it is hamstringing... On Rock and Punk music - I had a solo accompaniment or a guitar+concertina campfire duo in mind, not the fully blown band with bass and percussion with each instrument playing it's sole role. And you seem to agree on the matter, that it is hard to play convincing rock on a concertina. But it is perfectly playable on an accordion, because of multiple voices and better ballance between LH and RH side resulting in richer sound and more "power" of music played. You can imitate that on a concertina, but playing it in a "bandonion like" octave manner, thus dropping halve of your compass - it sound absolutely awfull if you are forced to drop a bass note or canot play arpeggio on just one chord of the whole song, because you're forced to switch sides on the melody. And it is perfectly possible to be your own "percussion" with a duet concertina, it just makes playing in more than 2 octaves at once extremely difficult, with one hand being permanently occupied by rythm and requires big instrument to be able to separate hands completely. And that is what I said earlier. There is nothing to "sorry" about, we just disagree or misunderstand each other and that is perfectly fine with me. It is obvious, that I speak out only my personal approach and thoughts, not universal "revelations". Try to ask for clarification next time, I will gladly response. [edited for misspelings]
  7. And sometimes it is required to use up to 6 notes on a chord accompaniment to build up volume and density (in rock/punk music) by doubling chord in two octaves at once, so there is no place for added melody...
  8. @Don: speaking from duet world, which is somewhere between piano and anglo - sometimes accompaniment is built on melody enriched with chords, not the oposite way, depends on character of the song. Also, often the melody line of the instrument is not exactly the same as vocal line. On a piano, you have all octaves at your disposal so you can build accompaniment across 3+ octaves (same goes with accordions) while on concertinas (even on duets) you have to "squeze" into 2 octaves at best (except for big duets). One example is "fake basses" on concertina in om-pah rhytms: it is root and chord on a concertina, but bass and chord on an accordion. This makes melody line often in the same octave as accompaniment, so it must be thinner not to sound "muddy" and not to overtake melody line. Another important matter when trying to imitate piano accompaniment on a concertina is key velocity on a piano vs bellows pressure on concertina (and accordion). We have on/off "binary" buttons so it is impossible or extremely difficult to play with different volume on melody and chords, which is easily done on a piano. We also have same number of voices on left and right hand side (unlike an accordion), so we can either baffle left side of a concertina / strip down chords to 2 or even 1 note / use sparse accompaniment / forget the melody line completely and leave it to vocals... On large enough duets baffling is a good idea, because one can still use the right side to play all the melody. On smaller instruments however, left hand side is often used for melody also, so cannot be "turned down" permanently...
  9. Glad you enjoyed it Yes, it's a cover of a song written in 1950s but performed just in '90 by a son of a composer. It's in the style of Warsaw street bands (losely resembling french street accordion tradition) and is about polish "real-socialism". We have a quite messed-up history here in poland, so we don't have as strong influence of national folk music in our pop culture as other countries, exceptions only for street bands mentioned above (early XX century), folk of our mountain area and... ukrainian and belarus folk music - half of Poles were resettled from todays Lithuania, Belarus and Ukraine and our country border is now completely different than throughout almost entire history... And we have no concertina tradition whatsoever... And playing modern popular music on concertina is difficult mostly because... it is often so plain and "dull" and simply sounds bad on this instrument. Obviously, songs written for an accordion will sound nice and I found that songs incorporating woodwind/brass section are perfectly suited for transcripiton. But "campfire guitar" songs and typical rock music require hard work to make them sound well. And there are usually no dots for them... Traditional music is easer to find written, more demanding on a player thus more rewarding and in countries like UK or Ireland it has so strong position in the culture, that there is very little urge to find another niche for concertina. But I agree with you that duets are perfectly suited for non-traditional music and I hope that one day they'll be more popular in modern music.
  10. As I can read from all of you, we all have quite similiar approach:) That is to take and mix together what is best from guitar, accordion and piano styles of accompaniment and render them on concertina to the extent possible. Here you have an example of my accompaniment and singing http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F9HH37QlVF8 The accompaniment on this one is a mix of accordion style om-pa with bits of melody line, quite closely resembling the original arrangement.
  11. From my experience, I can advise practicing some common rythms (om-pahs) and fingering of chords as when fingering strings on guitar. A good example of what I mean is "The house of the raising sun", which can be played in simplified form with only major and minor chords played in melodic way. This way you leave main melody line for the vocals and accompaniment gives a "feeling" of the original. Other type of acompaniment I do (I play on Hayden Duet, so I have plenty of chords available) is an "accordion style" rythms built on 3-6 notes at once to make them "thicker", often with sustained bass notes or mix of rythm on the left and melodic fingering of the same chord on the right hand. This feels much like "campfire quitar" and is great for popular music, as popular music often have very simple melody and singers don't like "freedom of interpretation" :>
  12. We have only one more day left to vote and only half of vote count from previous months...
  13. Finally, I was able to start working on my instrument, so this thread will now change to something like "progress blog"... As you can see in the attachment, I decided to do a flat reedpans, because I couldn't get rid of change in volume and "nasality" of sound using layered design. This is a raw cut, straight from milling machine. They were cut from single block of beech, so the wood will probably work over time, but the idea was to do a reedpans removable and exchangeable in the future - I'm building this instrument with emphasis on compass and low cost, so I'm using accordion reeds salvaged from 30+ years cheap russian accordion. If the design and my worksmanship quality will prove useable, I'll invest in higher quality reeds, so the design allows for some change in reeds dimensions (at a cost of about 1cm in diameter). It'll be quite large concertina, measuring 22 cm flat-to-flat. This instrument will have wooden ends, riveted action with bushed brass or bronze buttons and brass levers. It'll have 62 or 66 buttons, depending on whether I'll manage to squeeze in links on Eb's (the levers for links must run across button-space and things get a little crowded) and a compass of almost full 4 octaves from F2 to E6 without only two lowest accidentals. It also won't have traditional handrests and handstraps. Instead, it'll have "thumb holes" (a kind of rigid thumb "straps"), anatomical, rising handrests and open "back-of-palm rests". This would allow greater movement of hands to make all buttons easily accesible while still retaining bellows controll as in other Duets and Anglos rather than Englishes. I play with shoulder strap, so it'll also have mounts for it. There is no timeline or deadline for this project, as I can only work part-time, so I'll just keep posting till the instrument is finished (or I'll give up, which is unlikely ).
  14. This thread is up for a few months now and it's probably safe to assume, that TOTM will continue in it's current form - there are simply to few players around to have different "genre TOTM-s" or quarterly "advanced TOTM". To few and of to wide musical interests. I cannot count myself as a "regular" to TOTM, as I made two contributions only - but I'll continue to vote in polls and make further contributions when the tune suits me. As probably most of other players I don't have both the urge and time to join in every month. What I see as an advantage of multiple choices: concertina is somehow limited instrument (compared to an accordion) and most players stick to "traditional concertina genres", so YouTube choice of videos is quite limited [and many of the videos aren't showing up on searches by "concertina" keyword, they're tagged only by player/festival/tune name]. There are also many people, who do not listen to folk music on regular basis and live outside of UK, Ireland and USA and may need some kind of a guide on what tunes can be played on concertina, what sound good, where can we push this instrument in terms of modern (or not "traditionaly concertina") genres etc.. For me, this thread we're in now, should be more like a catalogue of ideas of what could be a fine TOTM, from which one could either wait for his favourite tune to win TOTM so he could compare his rendition with other players or take it up independently - polls themselves are such a [limited] guide for me.. But it has drifted more towards a debate on "what TOTM should be in general"... Maybe having a dedicated thread, which is solely a "pot of musical interests" could be a good way to observe and choose themes for further TOTMs or "theme of the month"?
  15. It was a hard choice for me between Old Copperplate an Hop and Skip but I need to practice my speed skills, so Old Copperplate for me
  16. Newest sighting: one of main characters of R.I.P.D plays a simple tune on german-anglo.
  17. A little introduction to diatonic function: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diatonic_function and roman numerals analysis in music http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roman_numeral_analysis - easiest way to understand the basis is to think of notation like Amaj, Gmin, G7 etc as an somehow "absolute" notation of chords and roman numerals as relative notation in a given key, which gives you a deeper knowlegde of chords in a tune are for. As for concertina types - indeed there are many ECs, but also an unexpectedly high number of duets, and relatively small number of Anglos (by relatively and unexpectedly I mean compared to overall "populations" of those concertinas and popular expectation and knowledge of what concertina is, usually pointing at Anglos). I play Hayden duet, Elise at the moment.
  18. That's exactly the point - it's very "native" technique for anglo, but it's difficult to make duet sound similiar (exact copy is IMHO impossible) - and Stefan managed to push this rythm to a point where one can be fooled that he's alternating notes inbetween (near the end of his sample). I can do bellows tremolo, play simple progressions in it, but not in such steady rythm. Stefan did. On anglo there is twice as much time to change finger positions and parts can be played with bellows only - my fingers don't move that fast yet As for accordion players not using this technique - mass of an accordion times velocity of a bellows compression/extension makes this a hell of an excercise
  19. I miss the times, when "real 3D" stop-motion animation was so popular... I can't recall any names now, but I remember, that concertina showed up on at least a couple of other children tv shows and animations in '80 and '90 - probably because of it's size that fits characters better than an accordion. Intrestingly, they were almost exclusively western (US or UK) productions or... Russian. This makes me wonder about historical concertina popularity in Europe: it was known in UK and Ireland, in Germany and in Russia, but completely unknown in central europe - Poland, Ukraine and Baltic coutries all have rich accordion tradition, Czech and Slovakia have both accordion and chemnitzer tradition, in southern countries like greece, italy or spain they play mostly accordions (in at least one of these countries word "concertina" is used to describe a diatonic accordion).
  20. That must be a remanant of the times of "sweedish flood" - when Sweden invaded Poland. Just to be precise: polska means Polish only for the feminine words, and in Sweeden it was probably taken from "polska muzyka" (polish music) or something like that. In most cases polska means Poland.
  21. As for "Ostatnia niedziela" - it is mostly in a single key, but some parts require additional accidentals. As 32 button anglo generally have quite large compass, compared to other concertinas, it should be quite straightforward to play melody line. Accompaniment is however a completely different story... Sadly, I must wait untill I manage to build my larger instrument, as Elise is to limited for this one... Jim, I would backup any sweedish or finnish tune - I was even going to suggest that later on I must say that I like "Two guitars" even better than "Cyganeczka...", so thank you "Cyganeczka Zosia" would translate to "Sophia the gypsy girl" and you're right - as gypsies live in diasporas their music have influenced middle and eastern european countries music to great extent, almost the same way as klezmer music. It is often very hard to draw lines between balkan gypsy music, klezmer music, russian and ukrainian folk etc. Remember also, that geopolitics of this region in XIX and early XX centuries mixed every nation and their cultures together... On top of that, many of modern folk, folk-jazz or folk-rock bands perform music of different regions and traditions, so it mixes them even more... "Two guitars" indeed share the same melody line in one part, probably were the basis for writing "cyganeczka.." - "biesiada" is a polish wedding dance music (ukraine, belarus and russia have their similiar traditions), written mostly for accordion.
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