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Łukasz Martynowicz

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Everything posted by Łukasz Martynowicz

  1. It's been quite a long time since I've updated this blog. (Un)fortunately I got a new job this fall and could not find a free moment at hours early enough to make some noise. This week however was fruitfull enough to show my progress to whomever might be interested in it. To date I managed to finish the full set of frames, roughcut endplates and cut reedpans to fit into frames. Hopefully tomorrow I'll finish installing the reedpans into frames and will be able to screw everything together. I won't glue the endplates to frames for now, because I'm affraid that I might wreck them while doing fretwork. Here are the pictures of all of the parts of woodwork I now have: And here is a closeup to show some details. I'm especially proud of the bellows frame, it took some time to do the chevrons. All of the frames fit dead flat to each other. One note: this unusuall "amoeba-like" layer of thin plywood was not a part of original design - I had to add the extra thickness to the reedpan after final flatening. I did not anticipate how much it will bend because of released tension after milling chambers. I was left with only 3mm of the board, while my original design requires at least 5mm to drill lever and button posts holes.
  2. Maybe some day I'll learn it and record it, but right now I'm focusing on building a concertina rather than playing it.. Thanks for interest and encouragement though
  3. Nice one Wolf! It reminds me of a rather silly Polish scout/marching song about a hare on a pole, which has very similiar melody and construction. Wonder if they have a common ancestor or have influenced each other in any way. I too find, that when playing melody accompaniment it often works best to play it an octave apart from vocals, but because I have bariton/tenor voice I often switch the accompaniment from octave higher to octave lower, going in the opposite direction than vocal line, using concertina to fiil in the blank registers and never going to high, as I really don't like free-reed sounds above high E.
  4. Jim, judging from our first private conversation on this forum, you may have really met them all - those few polish shantymen are the only profesional concertina players in Poland (I personally know of Marek Szurawski, Jerzy Rogacki, Marek Wikliński and Stanisław Konopiński). There are traces of only a couple more amateurs (including me) on the web (shanty and sailing sites, accordion forums, YT etc…). Most conversations with educated or street folk musicians that I had in various polish cities over last 3 years, even those who play bagpipes, bodhrans or other UK/Irish instruments (I have met five to date) end up with an explanation what a concertina is or with one of names I listed above. And given that there is a link of no more than 6 people who shook their hands between you and anyone else in the world, I think that it is perfectly safe to assume, that there is no more than a low two digit number of all concertina players here.
  5. That is why I wrote about order of magnitude not a number, 1:4000 is quite small, 1:1000 is quite probable. In Poland number of musical students vs overall number of students is 1:250 (students, not graduates, based on official numbers, I don't know where to look for UK statistics) which is again a top estimate of a factor of instrumentalist, as we now live in peacefull times of relative prosperity, so there is more room for less productive careers than 2-4 decades ago. This will be different in UK because of different history and folk music tradition. And if you count anyone who can play a guitar for a campfire singing, then you'll probably end up with a factor closer to 1:50, but it raises a question on who to count as an instrumentalist. Those are of course wild guesses, but the very idea of establishing a factor of concertina players to overall number of instrumentalists (and not overall population) may be a good method for UK and Ireland - there are job/student statistics available. For other countries this factor would be too small to be anywhere close to precision (for Poland it is somewhere around 1:10,000, which translates to 5-15 concertina players for almost 40mln people ) Jakes estimation is a good top number, but I think it is possible to make a better approximation.
  6. Extrapolation is a good method, but IMHO based on players in small town it gives a top estimate: 15,000 players in the UK only seems rather large, looks more like an order of magnitude of all instrumentalists in UK. Concertina in general is a folk instrument and traditions tend to be carried on more in smaller towns/villages than in big cities. And while I don't know the strict numbers on demography in UK, I assume it is similiar to any other developed country so majority of people live in big cities, where there are more kinds of different pass time activities and careers available. And like Irene said, there are many other factors that may alter distribution of concertinas within different populations.
  7. I think that most (?) of those cheap chinese and concertina connection boxes are bought by young people, just starting their adventure with a concertina - there are plenty on YT, so there are probably much more in reality. And as we discussed in the other thread, all those Elises must have been bought by someone As I wrote before: IMHO the reason why you don't see them at NESI or other concertina gatherings is that their musical choices are completely different - many of young players on YT play covers of game music or simple accompaniment of popular songs. Of course there are many, who like and play traditional music, but there is a large group that treats a concertina like a miniature accordion and focus only on modern music. They're probably even lurking here, but will never join this or any similiar site because of "traditionality" of this site. There is a huge generation gap between concertina players, because of history of popularity of our instrument. One other thing - young people nowadays tend to learn everything by themselves rather than taking lessons from old and experienced folks. It is partly because of individuality and a sort of "google effect". And at least in my parts of Europe, we usually don't hang out with people outside of our generation. To sum up: an "old school" concertina might be in its dawn years, but the new IS coming.
  8. @David: you can hear two of my arrangements on the Elise here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S-bySYW3XVA and here: I do mostly self accompanied singing of modern songs (or accompany singing of small groups of people), so I do use a lot of full triad chords and rhytms (but I'm familiar with drone or countermelody LH playing), with or without melody line on the right hand. I often do an "arpeggiated" accompaniments, where left chand plays chords in the plain om-pah rhytm and the right hand plays the 3-4 note arpeggio of a same chord. With such small overlap that Elise offers playing fast ITM is a very challenging task as you can play it both hands as you would on an English only within a single octave.
  9. Great voice, great playing and great songs. I like your own compositions most, they are spot-on my taste in concertina self-accompanied singing. Please post more
  10. Do you hear this buzz only when key is pressed or also on this short moment when the reed stops speaking? In other words is this buzz fading together with a sound of a reed or turns on/off independently (perhaps when pushing bellows harder)?
  11. I think that might not be the reason - i.e. a folk background behind Elise purchases - at least a part of them. If you'll look at beginner concertina videos on YT, you'll see, that many of them are not trad tunes, but accompaniments for singing covers of popular music (myself included). And this might be a "word spreader" for amateur concertina playing - not tradition but growing popularity of concertina as a casual instrument and a power of YT search engine There is strong revival of casual music playing (at least in my country) - because of different reasons: hipster subculture focused largely on music and creativity, YT cover community, strong scout and campfire tradition etc… While guitar is still the single most popular instrument in Poland - seen on the streets, at campfires and in amateur and professional pop/rock bands, there is a shift latey towards more diversity: we have a revival of accordions, both in hobby playing and popular music; there are woodwinds or brass sections in large number of young bands… On the top of that, young people spend more and more time traveling, be it on summer trips or studying away from home city, so mobility makes portability an important issue - thus when it comes to instrument choices for sing accompaniment it's ukuleles over guitars and concertinas over accordions. And only a duet concertina can be trully called a "miniature accordion". And Elise is cheap (though in Poland it is considered as a very expensive casual instrument, as expensive as a good quality guitar), easy to learn and readily available. Of course, one can argue, that it is possible for a skilled Anglo player to play covers of modern popular music, but IMHO the word "skilled" is the most crucial one in this matter. Especially in fast paced life of young people. Haydens exceed at ease of learning and are very straightforward, they allow intuitive chordal play and even such small instrument as Elise has enough buttons for many popular songs in few different keys. I really don't think, that there will be a significant market for traditional concertina reeded Haydens for two reasons: 1) for all those potential "new approach" players I have described above, the true concertina sound of a trad reed is just an expensive flavour for their "miniature accordion" 2) as can be seen from different discussions over this forum, for traditional concertina players neither Hayden layout itself nor modern trad-reeded Haydens offer a significant advantage over vintage Cranes, Maccans or even Anglos.
  12. Well, there are 3 sided dices http://www.gmdice.com/media/catalog/product/cache/1/image/9df78eab33525d08d6e5fb8d27136e95/3/3/3302-0013.jpg.jpg
  13. @ceemonster: I would add two more things about CBAs - accordions in general are constructed in a way, that isolates finger movement from bellows movement. This makes them a little bit harder to learn but a lot more precise in terms of expression. The second is a free-bass convertors, which makes it a real "superduet" configuration. All of these factors make accordions much more flexible than concertinas of any kind and makes them much more appealing for anyone wanting to play classical music on a virtuoso level - there are classes of accordion in musical schools continously for decades, while we have only one professional bandoneonist in Poland and no concertina players outside of a shanty genre. And on "relative affordability" - a good quality, used instrument around 60 basses, with 3-5 registers can be bought even for the price of new Rochelle/Jackie/Elise, while perfectly playable (for educational or hobby purposes) russian accordions can be bought as cheap as 100$… And a fully blown Bayan, with ton of registers and a free bass will cost you only twice as much as a "simple" modern duet…
  14. It also has mounting points for handrest not a thumbstrap.
  15. This last one sounds and looks like this "concertina performance" was dubbed over by a mussette accordion.
  16. Jim, we just won't agree on the matter so why not just stop arguing? From all your recent posts you seem to despise Hayden and other isomorphic layouts to a point, where any argument is simply "of no musical importance". You had your musical path and have your musical habits and way of understanding things and I think you can't grasp the geometric beauty of the isomorphic keyboard that is so appealing to me and Matthew. And to be clear: this is not to ofence you in any way. We just think different, like a difference between a painter, a sculptor or a photographer. They all create representations of reality or their imagination but use different approach and you can rarely be a great sculptor and a great painter at the same time. What I think me and Matthew here are advocating for (I can only know for sure what I have in mind), is that if you learn "from a Hayden" you'll have a completely different view on music theory than when learning music from a piano or an EC. I know that I had very hard time learning music theory on a piano keyboard and traditional staff - hard to a point where I gave up for a couple of years. Then I decided to try an Anglo (for sentimental reasons), and all I could do after a few months of playing was some single line shanties. And then I came by Hayden layout, built a MIDI and tried this layout in practice on 64 button keyboard and it was like a revelation. Suddenly tonal music theory was logical, chordal accompaniment an instant matter and with each passing month I knew and been able to play more and more. So you can say that all this hype over Hayden layout is just a fuss, but this layout is the single reason I can play on an instrument and enjoy my playing and steady progress. And because I just started this path a couple of years ago I still remember how hard music seemed to me before and how easy it looks now. As to pianists: the most important feature of a piano is it's dynamic range and tone, which can be only achieved by a hammer mechanism which requires a linear keyboard. It is also a large instrument, so pianists must rely on a common layout to be able to play in different locations without traveling with their own instrument. Thus for keyboard layouts like Janko and alike it is very hard to get enough popularity to play important role. Piano layout has a huge inertia you cannot simply stop by inventing new, superior layout. If you decide that you want to play an acoustic piano you have no alternatives to look for. It is somewhat same with piano and button accordions - all of the different button layouts are better suited for such instrument, but if you play a piano accordion you can also play a piano, which may be important for your career. But when speaking about keaboard instruments in a broader sense than just a acoustic piano, this is changing, as "actual making music" you often refer to is more and more dependant on electronic generation and MIDI controllers and there is a steady growth of popularity of both physical and touch-based Hayden input devices, especially among jam session players. And if it were like you say, that it is a fancy of no musical advantage, there would be no place to even think about layouts other than a piano. Or a single duet layout on a concertina.
  17. If you go for a Hayden, there is a little point in not buing Elise - both Concertina Connection and Button Box will accept it as a trade-in (for full price) when buing Peackock or Beaumont. This way you'll be fairly good at playing this system when you outgrow an Elise and not starting from scratch on an expensive instrument. The lack of D# and G# is of course a strongly limiting factor if you play with others, but if you play solo then most tunes can be played in other keys and this is exactly where Haden layout shows it's advantage. Even on as small instrument as Elise you just learn the tune over "ghost buttons" and then move your hand up or down. And even on a such small instrument you can do some things which would be very hard or impossible on an Anglo, e.g. playing both melody and fully fledged rhytmic, "accordion style" accompaniment for any tune. Of course, if you aim at playing real concertina with proper concertina reeds, then choose Crane, as the options for that on a Haden are very expensive. @Jim: while both Jeff's and Brian's renditions are absolutely brilliant and indeed show that it is possible for an anglo to sound in such "complete" manner, it is IMHO best to judge the possibilities of a given system by "an average" of many performances of different people. This way one can clearly hear what the differences between Englishes, Anglos and various duets are and what styles suits them best. E.g. while you can play ITM on an English it will usually sound different than on an Anglo and you can choose which way is more appealing to you. Various systems also require completely different set of skill, different left-right hand coordination, different style of finger, wrist and arm movement and may suit different people differently. And some systems will "fit your brain" better than others, so "actual music done by others" is not the only concern. I think that one of the reasons of many such debates on this forum might be a "mileage" of different players which strongly biases the point of view of a person. Different things will be considered as easy, basic or important by people with 20 years of playing under their belt and by those with couple of months or years only. And different things will be important for profesional musicians and for amateurs simply wanting to play a concertina and not even thinking of ever waiting 6 years for a made-to-order, car worth instrument or training for 5-10 years to simply take their instrument for a campfire singing session.
  18. @ John: As I agree, that small keyboards of any system are a limitation of one sort or another, I don't see how your argument stands when considering larger Hayden keyboards… They are fully chromatic and in the contrary to popular belief, using accidentals outside of a key is as easy on a Hayden as on any other instrument - it just requires different practice, as those accidentals will usually be played with ring or pinky finger. Another misconception about Haydens and isomorphic keyboards of any kind is that whatever is simpler must be also "lesser". CBA systems like B-, C- or Bayan are all isomorphic keyboards and noone says, that you cannot play a masterpiece on a Bayan… To date, I have found that gypsy and klezmer scales do require odd finger patterns and are quite odd and hard to play (but not impossible) but you can play any kind of "advanced" music on a 46 button or larger Hayden (within a compass of a given instrument). It may be much harder to play semitone grace notes or some other kind of ornamentation, but all and not just basic harmony is straightforward on a Hayden. ALL chords of any kind have a single non-edge shape, ALL inversions of any chords allways follow the same pattern. And even when we focus only on basic types of triads, being able to play each of them with a single fingering makes arpeggios something very basic on a Hayden. It is not an "easy entry" "people's instrument" - it just turns the difficulties in music inside-out. It is not an atificial layout made up only to "move those pesky black keys away" for the ease of early stages of learning - this property is more of a "side effect" of this layout. It is a layout with deep fundaments in music theory and one of the very few practical enharmonic layouts (although you need an instrument as big as the old square Bastari or a MIDI keyboard to benefit from that)
  19. I.e., he says that your guess is wrong. Yes Jim, I CAN read english. I know Jeff Lefferts videos since my first interest in Hayden layout, they are the oldest Hayden videos I could find on YT. And indeed, his Whistling Rufus is brilliant. But perhaps he himself should answer a simple question: which arrangement took less effort to learn and practice? It is quite strange for me to discover, that some concertina players on this board seem to feel some kind of discomfort every time someone playing on a Hayden is comparing the ease of learning different systems. No one says, that you can't be brilliant on an Anglo, McCann, Crane or bisonoric bandoneon. A skilled and dedicated player can master any instrument to a virtuoso level. But not all of us have such dedication or time (myslef included) and it's just easier and faster to learn a system which is logical and consistent. And Hayden makes it very easy to practice two hand play just by fooling around part of a keyboard, hear and feel different harmonies which will by definition go well together and will teach you music theory by playing it. And because of that it gives you much more time to spend on areas you need more practice - a huge advantage for someone who is not a musician and doesn't have a time to practice for whole and every day or can't or don't want to go to a music school. My comment was just a "food for thought" for Frogspawn realy, that maybe after 1,300 hours of practice it is something between him and his Crane that is not working, and not his supposable inability to become proficient on a concertina in convinient amount of time. A notion that seems to upset you Jim to a degree I can't understand really... But yes, I can be a sort of a "Wicki-Hayden fanboy" sometimes, trying to "spread a word" to everyone that might be interested or might benefit from this layout.
  20. You definately should try to switch to Hayden (try an Elise if you can) - it is uncompared for such singing accompaniment, mostly because you don't have to think about chords - every single type looks exactly the same, so ompah rhytms are as easy as on accordion and generally chord accompaniment is as easy as on a guitar. I'm guessing that most of your 1,300 hours was spent on memorizing the layout and shapes of different chords and that most mistakes you make is hitting the chromatic keys which are not part of a key you play in (on the left side)? I understand, that it is hard to switch after so many ears, but you should keep in mind two things: 1) some concertina skills are universal regardles of the exact type of box you play (e.g. bellows control is different only on an Anglo; forearm muscles training for staccato (you lift your fingers to make staccato not press the buttons for this effect) will not fade out etc..) 2) after initial confusion on the new layout, Hayden is very (and I mean like "OMG that is so easy") intuitive and straightforward when it comes to chord playing. Try it, even if won't stick to it you'll have a comparison which may give you a new look on what you should practice more.
  21. Or it may be, that you have chosen a wrong keyboard layout for your "brain wiring"- I could not make any sense out of music when I tried traditional staff and piano keyboard approach or an Anglo "memorize everything" approach. But after trying Hayden layout suddenly all became clear and there is a steady improvement of my skills ever since. And if you want to be able to do a chordal song accompaniment there is really no better layout than Hayden - check the thread here: http://www.concertina.net/forums/index.php?showtopic=15974&hl= for some details.
  22. @ Stuart: I too came to the world of Duets after playing Anglo (for a year only but…) but IMHO the bisonoric property of an Anglo is it's very fundament. So even that Anglos are side-divided like duets and capable of playing accompaniment and melody at once, they are so different in their nature from any unisonoric instruments. Interesting is your point of view on advantages of Wicki/Hayden as not being as crucial - this consorts well to mine and Matthew point exactly: for anyone I've spoken to date, who learned music on a diatonic instrument (for me, a piano is in it's core structure a diatonic, "chromatized" instrument, oriented around a key of C - a Janko piano keyboard is trully chromatic), the Wicki/Hayden layout is merely a handy shortcut. Your comment about "pianists not complaining about fingerings" was something I discussed lately with three pianists I know, with all of them admiting, that they don't realy think about other layouts mostly because they've invested so much time and effort already. It is true, that music theory can be learnt and prowess achieved to a virtuoso degree on any instrument, with any notation system and different examples and aproaches. But in only few of those systems, as Matthew have stated, "the instrument will become the instructor…" and this is fundamentally true for Haydens. @Wolf: unfortunately, I was unable to try out any instrument prior to buying it - there are no dealers of concertinas in Poland and going abroad just to try a few boxes was and still is way above my budget… But I did considered a Jack or Rochelle when I was deciding what to buy after initial fiddling on a cheap Anglo. But I quickly realised that Englishes were out of the question for me not for musical reasons (I love the use of EC in classical music) but for their ergonomics - I have very long fingers and a wrist injury. But I agree, that the interwoven nature of EC is it's defining property as much as bisonoric nature of an Anglo.
  23. I can only back Matthew up in everything he said about both Elise and Hayden layout in general. I do miss some notes on my Elise sometimes, but it has so much more potential in it than 20b Anglo. The single biggest reason why Hayden is the only duet layout currently in "mass" production is its very steep learning curve - after getting familiar with chords (just a couple of shapes, not huge piano/guitar-like chord sheets) you can just play accompaniments to everything easily, by ear or from fake sheets. Such ability is IMHO the real possibility for these concertinas to get out of a "ghetto" of traditional music: it is perfectly capable of playing punk, rock, world, indie or any modern instrumental music. And since we can observe a steady increase in number of available sizes/models the "dead end" problem of Elise is no longer an issue. @Don: There is really no tutorial needed for Hayden layout - just study these patterns http://www.shiverware.com/musix/wicki/chords.html This is a "roadmap" of all possible chords and for starters you'll need only major and minor (just two shapes) with occasional seventh and sus chords (another four shapes). Also practice scales (only two, one major and one minor) and you're good to go on anything you have dots for. This basic level of understanding of a Hayden is doable in couple of evenings!
  24. You might think of them as two Englishes glued together… Duet vs Anglo comparison however is a lot more complex, as each has it's own advantages and distinctive features, some shared by both and some unreplicable on the other...
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