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Łukasz Martynowicz

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Everything posted by Łukasz Martynowicz

  1. If we are deviating from folk and dance music, may I suggest this Polish-Russian classic tango: "Ostatnia niedziela" by Mieczysław Fogg. The dots can be found online for free. This piece is very popular amongst polish accordion players. The melody isn't all that difficult, but the downside is that it requires fully chromatic instrument, so Elise and 20-button-Anglo players would be excluded. That includes me as well... Here is one of original recordings from 1936: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N-hg58QQmdc And here is an absolutely crazy arrangement by Gideon Kremer himself: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C071-M1e5Vk But as Geoff pointed out, all those non-folk entries require substantially longer practice time and are not well suited for a monthly contest. So maybe it would be wise to come up with some sort of tune-of-the-quarter for advanced tunes and keep TOTM relatively simple. For all those players outside of UK and US it's often the only "place" where one can actually learn something directly from other players - there are almost no concertina players in central and eastern Europe.. BTW: if someone knows a nice tango that can be played without G#'s and D#'s and could share the dots I would appreciate that...
  2. I think that the inventor himself has the best explanation why he did it this way... What I can say from playing experience is that there is one good reason for the slant - playing chords, especially when you have your 3rd finger longer than index finger, like me.. There is one other thing, but has little practical meaning - you can draw slanted keyboard over the staff and read the note associated with each button. This can help with finding accidentals and playing chromatic scales at the begining of learning Hayden.
  3. Jason, as an Elise player too, I must say, that you've pushed this instrument to it's limits! Great arrangement and great rendition.
  4. I found that to be a problem with mobile version of the site - full version works normal.
  5. Again this thread led me to further reading - this time on the subject of diatonic scales and different tunings and I understand now, why equal temperament tuning was such an achievement. We cannot simply say, that music of pre 1900 was diatonic, as different historical tunings made different things possible and music was written with "diatonic language" but for specific tunings. And that just tuning had to be sacrificed for something else not beacause we wanted to be able to play music in any key on one instrument, but to close an octave and make some of the intervals sound more consonant, thus enabling added complexity to composed music. Wolf, again, I do not say, that diatonic scales are in any way limiting. In fact, while I may "sail off" the boundaries of diatonic system in this thread, my point of focus is still on understanding why do they work as they do and academic nauture of this aproach is separate from just enjoying the music itself This thread have helped me to understand why I do like pre-1900 music, why I do like early XX century music (both popular and classical) and why I don't like most of jazz and most of contemporary academic music. This thread is a crash course on music theory for me, and has given me so much... Thank you all
  6. One more thing - just as with planetary movements, realising that circle is not the most perfect, "godly" shape and that planets move on elipses made progress of astronomy possible, the idea that there can be other types of semitones and octave can be divided differently have opened music to whole new ideas. Of course, that doesn't change the fact, that our brains prefer circles over elipses and just tuning over temperamented one.
  7. John, of course I agree, that natural diatonic scale in just tuning is not just a subset of equally temperamented chromatic scale in terms of how they sound. I know, that just tuning sound sweeter, because that's the physics of vibrating strings - one cannot argue with that I know, that diatonic circle of fifths is something matematicaly different than chromatic circle of fifths. And I am aware, that whole music written earlier than 1900 is diatonic. I do not say, that diatonic is in any way obsolete, useless or wrong... What I'm saying only aplies to understanding why diatonic scales work as they do, why they produce "expectations in the listener" - and that concept can be understood easier (in my opinion) while analysing them in context of other scales, especially chromatic symmetrical ones and whole-tone scale. And that's what jazz and modern academic music is doing. Again, there are two layers (not as separate this time as earlier) - how do notes and intervals sound and what they feel like in psychological way. Whether in natural, just tuning or any temperamented one, diatonic functions remain the same. If it were not the case, only diatonic autoharps would exist and only music played on trully diatonic instruments would have it's psychological impact. And all non-western, non-Pythagorean music would be noise rather than music and we know, that it is not. So diatonic music is just a subset of something larger, but "just" has no negative meaning attached. What I was wrong about was calling this larger entity a chromatic scale. Maybe this time it's clearer what I have in mind...
  8. @Wolf: "Diatonic scales complemented to fully chromatic" - historically they did, but from more holistic approach they are a subset of a chromatic system (and further microtonal or contiuous pitch music) and they are easier (for me at least) to understand that way. I think of it in a same way as of Newton-Einstein approach to gravity or (kind of) Ptolemaic-Copernican model of planetary movement. Without wider context diatonic scales require a lot of theory to understand how they work and all of the different intervals functions, scale modes, chord progressions etc.. are a little bit like deferents and epicycles in Ptolemaic model. In fact, they were both build up on same principles - mathematics at that time was much more a dogmatic set of beliefs than a well explained and coherent knowledge. E.g. Pythagorean tuning was introduced based on belief, that simple fractions are pure and perfect and not because it's somehow fundamental to music in general. And using a perfect fifth was best available way to tune a string intrument. It was Pythagoras who first found, that square root cannot be written as a simple fraction and that was a fundamental revolution back then - such "impure number".... Music theory was more in a domain of philosophy and dogma than strict science, so it's full of patches and arbitrary beliefs, "schools", practices and so on.. Some of them are fundamentaly true, some are just a consequence of previous choices.. Indian music is based on completely different division of octave to 22 steps and is as beatifull and rich as western, diatonic music.
  9. @sjm: "I wonder if this is because the previous sounds have established some sort of mental expectation of what parts of a scale should sound like - and then the actual sound does not match this expectation." - that is EXACTLY what diatonic and other non-symetrical scales do! Think of it as "formating" your brain - it gets used to steps of a scale (played both melodicaly or in chords) just like it gets used to stairs: you can climb stairs of any height as long as they are all same height, but if one will have different you will trip or stomp on it. Our brains are very good at finding patterns (or making them up ). Listen to some examples of whole-tone scale on YT - it is a scale with all notes two semitones apart. When you'll listen to it directly after listening to something "normal" (diatonic) it will sound awkward. But If you'll just loop it, it will become completely normal after just few repetitions. And this is a scale that leaves no expectations - it is even, "flat", symmetrical. It won't force you to stop on tonic note, because there is no tonic note.. It wouldn't force you to arrange your improvisation in any way, so as long as you'll stick to the scale "anything goes". That's why it is so popular within jazz. I've read about it only recently, but for me, it is a great reference point and should be (maybe is, I don't know ) taught (or just introduced) before diatonic scales, to give foundations to understanding how and why diatonic scales work as they do. @diatonic instruments: For me, it's a secondary matter, that an instrument is diatonic or chromatic - I can do just fine on any that has logical and cyclic layout. That's why I have given up anglo and was frustrated by clarinet. I find EC, Wicki-Hayden, or various chromatic button accordion isomorphic layouts far more musical, as they incorporate in a very clear way the fundamental principle of octave consonance and cyclic nature of music. Of course piano keyboard has this property "embedded" in the layout, and octaves do look the same throughout whole range, but I personally don't like it for its linear construction. Concept of pitch is usually taught as a linear space of staff or a circular space of octave, but it's both at the same time - so for me the most adequate representation of musical space would be a 3d, conical spiral. This way a piano is a built along the spiral and two dimensional layouts are built "across" or are a "side view" of it.
  10. This discussion inspired me to do some reading on "common practice period", scales different than diatonic, interval functions etc.. and now I finally understand why different degrees of diatonic scale, as David said: "create expectations in the listener". And why listening to jazz is so different than listening to classical and folk music. I think about diatonic scales now as "unstable" or "unbalanced" (as oposed by whole-tone or twelve tone scales, which are symmetrical - "stable") - "unstable" in a positive way.. I don't know how to put it in words.. in a way that forces brain of the listener to overcome this unstability, to wait for "sweet spots" and melodic "rest points". Seriously, this thread became one of the most significant music lessons for me - it has "sorted out" so much in my head... @JimLucas: one does not need to understand gravity to build houses or throw a spear into a target, but being able to solve gravity equations made moon landing posible. I was singing for 15 years without almost any musical knowlege - just by ear and heart and I think that true music comes from such approach. But when I started playing concertina, I had to learn some basics and I found that music theory is a vast area of human knowledge I had no clue about. And I just don't like to don't know @John: thank you for posting the disc, I can see now, how it does it's job. I must say, that I have always had a hard time understanding all of the circular diagrams used to explain different things in music - circle of fifths, different scale modes etc, mostly because sharps and flats being the same while not being the same at the same time when put in a such context.
  11. David, that quoute is so true to most musicians... I've done some reading today on different scales and what strikes me most, is that concepts like whole-note scale are discussed using terms that evolved based on diatonic approach to music. They are analysed based on structures build around diatonic scales. One can imagine, that if whole-note scale came first, music history and naming would be completely different. I now understand, why jazz and blues were invented outside of western diatonic tradition...
  12. @sjm: unfortunately, in solfege, names corespond to degrees of diatonic scale - not to intervals. So you could name intervals by pairs of notes, but this would raise same argument as whether D# and Eb is the same note, some kind of unison or some kind of a second etc... The problem with named intervals is inherent to diatonic theory of music. You're trying to do something I used to do - use just fixed names for any given number of semitones, regardless of notes involved. Unfortunately, in western music theory any given number of semitones has exactly two names depending on notes involved. And the problem whether D# and Eb is the same note becomes clear when you're trying to understand harmonics while not looking on piano keyboard or traditional staff but on any of isomorphic layouts.
  13. John, maybe I should use word "fundamental" instead of "simpler" - I'm quite biased by my mathematic education and to me"simpler" means something "more comperhensible" . I understand the simplicity of use of your circle. I was only trying to point, that when using Hayden layout (you can do the transcription on just printed hex grid) the proper naming of notes is completely inherent property of the layout - you don't have to choose anything, you don't have to design v1.1 disc.. I don't mean, that your circle is complicated - just that it's an artificial tool designed for a specific purpose - easier to use than a table or a list of possible combinations, but as I understand, it's an "automated translator". What Brian Hayden invented (and what any other hexagonal isomorphic layout is) is (from mathematical point of view) just one hex with named intervals attached to sides of it. Rest of properties emerges from this. It is simpler in mathematical sense... That said, I am very courious on how your disc looks like - can you post a photo or an illustration of it? I'm familiar with sol-fa (called solmizacja in Poland) - this is the first (and only) thing taught in primary school (we only have elementary music in our obligatory education). While it is isomorphic, it's not the best notation for duet instrument capable of playing multiple melody and harmony lines at once... Translating e.g. Yann Tiersen to readable sol-fa would be a rather hard endavour. But I agree, that using isomorphic notation with isomorphic instrument makes a lot more sense than using traditional staff with it. The only problem is the availability of music already transcribed to it or software that can do the conversion (Lilypond can do it, to some degree)... @David: "And, I might add, very insightful for a self-taught musician." - thank you, I'm trying my best, and such comment is very rewarding.
  14. John, there is a simpler way to translate tonic sol-fa to any key, with proper note names... Just treat it as in C or Cm and mark it on any "infinite" (non-wraping) isomorphic layout (e.g. Wicki-Hayden) and then just move it around keeping the shape of it. The whole idea of isomorphism (both in notation and instrument layout, as thoroughly explained here: http://musicnotation.org/wiki/music-theory/isomorphism) simplifies almost anything in music theory, changing many of difficult to memorize relations and concepts to simple geometric shapes, so great deal of music theory can be deducted from the keyboard itself. For example: diatonic functions of chords and triads used on each degree of a scale can be read from Hayden keyboard directly, just by trying to fit the triad on each degree in an overall shape of a scale. For C major scale, this gives you respectively C, Dm, Em, F, G, Am and B diminished - just by trying to fit every chord on "datonic scale hex" of ten buttons in 3-4-3 layout. With isomorphic layouts whole thinking about music theory becomes thinking about geometric relations between notes, transposition is simple spatial translation etc... It is most illogical for me, that in every music school there is an obligatory piano class, just to teach people music theory, while piano is one of those instruments where distinction between D# and Eb don't matter! On any isomorphic keyboard the difference between sharps/flats and their functions becomes obvious just by looking at the keyboard... Łukasz
  15. @cboody: thank you very much for your explanation! As I'm completely self-taught musician I had a very hard time understanding intevals - they seemed completely unlogical and obscure, because a simple result of mathematical calculation or sound perception was translated to (what seemed like) completely unintuitive naming convention. Now I understand how there are two completely separate levels: one of mathematical proportion and second resulting from history of western music being an ongoing expansion of primitive pentatonic scales to diatonic and chromatic by an increasing number of patches and that my confusion comes from trying to understand all of this based on simple mathematics and not whole history of music... I completely agree with JimLucas that "there should be a simpler language than a nomenclature system that requires an advanced degree just to parse it". From my point of view, both traditional staff and interval naming is a great from composer point of view (and for those who need an analytical insight into music they play) but could be much, much simpler for players. For example, I find this form of music notation: http://musicnotation.org/system/6-6-tetragram-by-richard-parncutt/ much more readable than conventional staff - you don't need to remember sharps and flats, melody line is clearly visible, chords of given kind look always the same regardles of root, etc.. Main drawbacks of all of chromatic staves is that they "forget" what composer had in mind: "is that D a D or a C## or Ebb"... But for players of equally temperamented instruments who just want to play music this is completely nonexistent or unimportant matter. In other words, in my oppinion (from player, not composer point of view), music can be pain in the back if you try to learn and understand piano and classic staff notation, or an easy walk, if you play on isomorphoc keyboard of any kind and use chromatic notation...
  16. I can understand why "rhytm is more important than melody" - well, maybe not important, but definately more fundamental in music. Easiest way of explainig why I think so will be by extremities: you can easily dance to solo djembe drum, but it's very hard to convience people, that completely arhytmic music is music at all. For common people ear it will be a bad played set of notes, whether forming melody or not. Or a very modern jazz And oldest found instruments used by cave people were rhytmic in nature. Melody is much younger invention. But I cannot agree, that "all music is for dancing" - that's probably true in folk music (but I would rather seek an answer to "strong version" of this question from an ethnologists than from musicians/dancers) but I can name a vast amount of genres (througout entire music history), which are "undancable", even with most avant garde contemporary dances. Łukasz
  17. Thank you both for advices: some of them I already use, some are new to me. The one about voice singing is most true for me, as I started my musical journey by singing sea shanties a'capella. It'll be hard for me to learn from dances though, as I have two left legs As I favour gypsy and balkan folk over Irish or English and I play a lot of modern polish rock, my musical choices are a bit different from most concertina players and so are the instruments that I learn from: accordion and piano, brass section, clarinet and glockenspiel. I find guitar most frustrating to "convert" to concertina... but the brass section sounds absolutely brilliant played on concertina - especially played in octaves. My initial question was focused on technical part mostly because of what I wrote above: because of my musical choices I had to analize and arrange most music that I play, which was a great lesson on theory of music and understanding what I'm doing.. What I miss is the opportunity to exchange practical knowlege on concertina as there are maybe five (!) concertina players in Poland... We also do not have a large folk playing tradition - this is what I'm most jealous about with all English and Irish players here - that you can simply take your concertina and go to a pub for a trad session. This is why this TOTM idea is such a great thing to me. Again, thank you for your comments, it is great to peek inside other musicians views.
  18. Geoff, you've nailed it - my question was more about the technical standpoint. When I first started learning Hayden layout (it was on 64 buttons DIY MIDI concertina at that time) it was completely "blind" learning: anything what I could learn from YouTube concertina and accordion videos. And at that time I found myself trying to sound like people on EC, with harmonies added to melody - partly because I couldn't play different things with both my hand simultanously, but partly because I didn't know what is possible [i was almost a total beginner at that time, both on playing and music theory]. Answering your question: in four keys, Am, Dm, Gm, Bm as those are only keys that fit on Elise keyboard.. With Bm I have to use different fingers (but on the same pattern). As some others have said in other topics on this forum, changing keys on Hayden when playing solo makes little sense, as the fingering won't change a bit or fall apart completely for keys on the edges of the keyboard (I have tried different patterns on my MIDI concertina, which has same keyboard layout as Wakker H-2, and while every chord is possible, those that "wrap around" the keyboard are difficult to incorporate into playable arrangement).
  19. Of course it's not just the instrument Of course I get ideas from other people play - but it's on "how the melody can be played" and not "how things can be done on my kind of instrument". For me there is a big gap in my mind between understanding what I hear (or to be more precise: what I can visualise, what is played and how it's played) when I hear a Hayden and when I hear any other system that I'm not familiar with. Maybe that's because I'm biased by "geometric" approach of isomorphic keyboards. [it's sometimes difficult for me to write everythin clear, as english is not my native language...]
  20. This is my first month on TOTM, but as a self-learnig player I already find this form of sharing different renditions of the same tune to be a great way to learn music. I'm especially glad to hear David's version (It's great BTW ) - as his and mine (posted earlier) are both on Haydens and I can do more straightforward comparison and I have better understanding of what is going on "under the hood" (and because there is a very limited number of Hayden performances on youtube and soundcloud...) This bears a question to you, as most of you here are far more advanced players: do you also get more knowlege from players of same kind of concertina? Personally, while enjoying anglo renditions, I usually can't learn anything from them as a Hayden player, because of fundamental differences between those instruments. It is a little bit better with EC, but still they are different enough (especially on chords/accompaniment, which from what I know is a lot harder to do on EC), that the overlap of useful techniques is limited... Łukasz
  21. So, here it is, my attempt on this tune.. Recorded after about 8h of learning and practicing done over past days. Still a lot of work to do, especially on timing. I plan to add some ornaments to it and maybe change accompaniment a bit here and there but it's basically how I hear it.. http://soundcloud.com/martynowi-cz/parsons-farewell Łukasz
  22. I play Elise, and after almost two years of learning it (I started with almost no musical experience), I can share a different approach to learning note layout, fingering and playing: 1) make a dent or glue something to the top of the button to mark the middle A buttons on both sides and use this buttons as a reference point. Depending on the key you'll play in, this button will fall under different finger. The G-A-D triangle is crucial to not getting lost on the keyboard. My resting hand position is on Am chords on both hands with middle fingers on As, as this is position closest to as much different chords as possible (on the Elise) 2) at the begining don't focus on the key you're playing in but the scale you're playing - on Hayden layout (limited by the number of buttons of course) major and minor scales and chords always look the same, so practice the shapes of scales and chords until they are in your muscle memory and moment of switching row is natural to you. Get used to using your little finger: use it on the row which has 4 notes in it - second in the major scale and first in the minor scale. (Minor scales are a little bit easier to play in my oppinion..) Later on, when playing melodies and not just scales, melody will often force you to change fingering patterns or allow you to use only three fingers. Little finger is usually the only one which can reach to far sharps, so you'll end up using it sooner or later. 3) practice chords and chord progressions with both hands - music is built around chords more than around scales (in my humble oppinion) and practicing chords also get you familiar with intervals. Practice chords as simple "umpa" rythms, then as single note fingerings (think of them as "beating patterns"). I usually practice new chord fingerins on two progressions: Em', Am', Dm'' and D', C', G' (both up and down repeatedly). Then try mix different chords and make all kinds of different progressions. On Hayden system, progressions within music always make some kind of a "circle" on the keyboard (all the buttons needed are confined to some geometric shape). Try to start and end each of your learning sessions with just messing around with chords. Try to work out a fingering, that allows playing chord progressions without noticeable pauses, so try to avoid jumping with the same finger on two subsequent notes 4) when learnin new tune, first learn the melody with your right hand, then play it with both hands simultaneously - hands tend to work together naturaly. Then learn chord progressions with both hands (I often begin with this step, as I play a lot of modern rock, so it gives me base on which I try to transcribe melody). Then try to accompany melody with simple, single button "chords" (just the base for each chord). Once you're comfortable with it, switch to whole chords played without rythm - add rythm to the accompaniment as the last step. When you play with whole accompaniment and find a difficult spot, concentrate on your non-dominant hand, as the dominant hand will do just fine left alone I hope that someone will find this approach useful
  23. If you're considering one of concertina connection instruments, bear in mind that only Rochelle has a full key/note layout of more expensive instruments. This is one of advantages of starting with anglo - you can/have to/ buy more expensive instruments when you reach limits of speed/performance/sound of CC instrument, not when you "ran out of notes". This is most painfully true with Elise, which being a "chromatic" duet is unfortunately NOT chromatic... Another thing about CC entry level instruments you should know is that they have very poor keyboard - keys are plastic/steel plates combo and are not bushed, so they buzz and are wobbly. Without modifying them, overall sound-an-feel of those instruments is worse than old, cheap german anglo from ebay - this is my personal experience with Elise, which lead me to replacing keys to fully bushed alluminium ones. As for music styles, if you're mostly into Irish Folk (and folk in general), Anglo should suit you best, but in my oppinion, it's close to useless if you also want to play classical or modern music. This was main reason, why I switched to Hayden.
  24. Steve, this is very helpful - it's a definite proof, that the concept is valid and I won't just waste money and time on builiding something that has fundamental flaw of some kind I've never heard of single acting concertinas, and I must say that the concept is quite strange to me.. It must be quite a challenge to play it, even when it's bass/baritone, slow instrument... As for tuning the reeds - I don't think that it should be bigger problem than tuning standard waxed accordion reeds... I'll probably tune one side of them and then flip them over and tune the other side.
  25. Playing modern rock songs and campfire singing sessions were the main reason why I've put my anglo on the shelve and bought Elise (I'm not trad player at all). But in my humble opinion most of modern pop-songs, based on same 3-4 chord progressions, usually souds poorly on concertina. I've found, that I get best results (and audience satisfaction ) when playing pieces that were written either for a band including brass section or an accordion. This way I can play bass/rythm with the left hand, brass/accordion section with right (which is sometimes quite complicated and rich) and vocal line makes a third layer which gives better results, than playing exact melody of the vocals with right hand. We have some great modern bands here in Poland, that use instruments outside of "rock standard" (everything that was used by "street folk" bands of '20&'30) and playing their music on concertina sounds better than on just guitar, especially the solo parts. But it sometimes happens, that someone hates the sound of free-reed instruments so much, that asks you to stop playing and let the guitar do all the work... :>
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