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Kurt Braun

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Posts posted by Kurt Braun

  1. No, I never figured out how to load the sound into the contraption.  But I did load the font into a DAW and even more hassle free a font player (I settled on Sfzando). Then I connect the midi out on the contraption to the usb port of the computer. I have a thin and light Surface Pro loaded with my sheet music that is always nearby, so no problem. I also loaded the concertina font into Musescore as suggested.


    David, you might be interested to know that I used the contraption to lay down a cello track at a recording studio my wife was using a few days ago. That was my very first cello gig and I was really pleased at how well it was recieved.



  2. I have this contraption (aka Roland Aerophone ae10 wind synthesizer) that can emulate various musical instruments. There are too many to list, but some of my favorites are sax, flute, oboe, tuba, harmonica, violin, cello, and accordion. The list of 128 sounds does not include the concertina.


    Is there anyone on this forum who might know of where I might be able to find or how to create a concertina sound patch that I could load into my contraption?





  3. The notes are on the ends, the music in the bellows.


    I recommend that the musical phrase rather than bar lines and such be salient in any bellows adjustments, including direction changes.  I find it very useful to be able to play any phrase in either direction. Sometimes this means you need to practice scales and such so that one doesn't develop a direction preference for certain collections of notes.  The greatest asset of the bellows is dynamics. This will mean playing phrases, rather than just songs or tunes.


    Finally, contrary to the notion that just the notes are on the ends, button attack and release is also important to musical expression.  Using the bellows (change directions) to attack and release is mostly a cheat for not being well versed in attack a release tactics with the fingers. The concertina is fully capable of al sorts of articulation without use of bellows.

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  4. Well, I try to practice chords as arpeggios (no hopping) quite a bit.  When searching for a chord fingering, I first play the chord as an arpeggio and use that fingering for the chord.  I must admit that for songs and tunes learned in the early years, I still find myself playing vertically adjacent notes with one finger.  But I consider it to be an old (and bad) habit.  Good to see people still interested in playing Cranes.



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  5. On 8/11/2019 at 1:31 PM, frogspawn said:

    Thanks to all for the suggestions.


    Kurt, I found that hitting bass notes and high chords on the left (as I believe you originally advocated and demonstrated some years ago) was too much of a jump for me, but bass notes on the left and chords on the right should be easier to find. It also means my right hand will be actively engaged and ready to switch to melody for the fills.


    I try to learn from both Andrew McKay and Geoff Lakeman, both of whom I've met and spoken to in the past. I have their recordings and access to videos of Geoff on Youtube but still find it hard to work out what they are actually doing! Geoff very kindly gave me some time after a gig. He mentioned partial chords, and, I think, walking bass lines.


    I can't work out what McKay and Lakeman are doing either.  It is a shame because I find their playing so much more interesting and organic than what I do.


    Left hand stride (alternating bass notes and chords on the left side) certainly is daunting.  Mostly I just do in with more simple tunes with easy and common chords.  It sure is fun when it works out!


    I'm singing much more than I used to (thanks to a ukulele detour).  Bass notes on the left and chords on the right and singing the melody is great fun.  Then move to chords on the left, (or bass notes and runs) with melody on the right for interludes.


    Here are two other techniques I've been using in more recent years.


    Octave doubling a single line:  Play the line with both hands an octave apart.  (I got this idea from Dan Worrell.) This can be just the melody or you can do improvisation.  This is fun tool for playing with others.  Your octave playing can turn your 'tina into a virtual saxophone for breaks or taking leads.  Or, do fills even while the singer solos.  Remember, saxophones never play the whole or even most of the time.  A little goes a long way.


    Two sided melody: This is for those who can play chords on both ends and can play single lines on both ends as well.  Also great for smaller Duets where there is little overlap between ends. Pick a tune or song in an octave where the melody line goes above and below the overlap.  When it goes below, play the line on the left and the chords on the right.  When it goes above, do the opposite.  Like old time music, it is better than it sounds!



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  6. Even playing slowly, the nature of the musical phrase can, and often does, require that the two notes be connected. If we don't use the same finger on two succeeding notes, the choice of articultion is musical rather than fingering convenience or comfort.

  7. I'd say that no tradition is both a blessing and a curse.


    But back to the topic, I used to play saxophone in a big band. With the right hand doing the melody and lots of chord changes in the left, the duet can remind me of a big band sax section.


    When singing or jamming, I try to emulate a guitar (bass line on the left while strumming chords on the right).


    Surprisingly, the ukulele has also influenced my playing and singing. The uke does lots of rhythms and quick chord changes to jazz up songs. This can be done by playing chords on both sides with independent rhythms. Just chords will also help with learning tune or song structure.


    I do sacred harp (shape note) singing, but I can't say it has influenced my concertina playing. Sacred harp is kind of a thing unto itself for me.

  8. I recommend relying on your own opinion/feelings. Sometimes you will play well for a crappy audience, though it is lots more fun to play well for a good audience. I was once in a really terrible audience listening to Taj Mahal. It was obvious that he recognized that the audience didn't appreciate him. He was not at all happy about it, but he rose above that and put on a good show.


    I also once saw the Bass section on the New York Philharmonic fall apart playing a not difficult Mozart symphony. Everyone has bad days.


    Finally, remember Kipling's If:


    If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster

    And treat those two impostors just the same




    For years I had the straps tight, thinking that was necessary to bellows control. The result was that I could not reach F# or Bb with my right little finger so I used the ring finger. When I finally realised the error of my ways I loosened them so that I can slide my hands in and out. I can now play these with my little finger, which is much better. Loosening the straps also allows me to rotate my hands to some extent to facilitate "cross-fingering", that is using different fingers sequentially in the same column. I think it also allows me to play chord shapes on the left hand that would otherwise be impossible.


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