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Kurt Braun

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Everything posted by Kurt Braun

  1. 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.
  2. 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 Kurt
  3. I mostly play with the straps on my knuckles as well. The straps are loose. I do this so my fingers don't curl-- which causes them to "stumble." I generally favor the lower parts of the keyboards. When I play farther up (higher notes) my hand moves more under the straps. I'm very rarely comfortable playing standing. I'm tall (6'5") and my hands are proportional.
  4. I spent about two hours trying different systems with Nevell Crabb at the Crabb shop in July of 1977 while on vacation. I saved some money and ordered a Crane a few months later.
  5. I hope the above quote works. I think it fits here as a testimony on the usefulness of four fingers while playing a Crane.
  6. For me, it is no mystery why that didn't catch on.
  7. I assume that you mean a second so that now you have two, rather than a second to replace the first. I had played Cranes for over 30 year years before I bought a second. I really can't give you much of a good answer as to why, but my rationalizations were 1) so I could send the first one off for repairs and still have one, 2) to have a second size, and 3) to have a bit more overlap to play in octaves. I've had it for nearly three years and rarely play it. I guess that I just bonded too well to the first. Plus I can only play one at a time anyway. On the other hand, I have 7 ukuleles and play four or so regularlly. Kurt
  8. Another great weekend at Palestine with fun music and old and new friends. What a blast!!
  9. Frogspan: In contrast, I've recently started dabbling with guitar and mandolin and can already accompany a few songs. OK, it's not Martin Carthy or Nic Jones - it's just strumming the three-chord trick, but it's perfectly adequate and indeed appropriate for a folkclub floor singer in a noisy pub. As much as I love the sound of squeezeboxes, I'm seriously wondering about the effort to achievement ratio. ************************ I started out on saxophone as a kid and later picked up oboe. I studied both in college and managed a 4 year "career" in the Air Force as a bandsman. The saxophone has a marvelous "effort to achievement ratio." The oboe, not so much. After the Air Force I changed careers. The Crane duet has been my avocational instrument since 1978. I love it. I have no wonderments about the "effort to achievement ratio" of the Crane. It is absolutely dismal!! I still play the Crane daily and I love it. I jam with it, sing with it and enjoy it tremendously. However, I also play lots of ukulele as of late. It is so much easier and just plain fun. I can work up a presentable version of a song in a small fraction of the time it would take on concertina and I've only been playing ukulele a couple of years. Still, I love my Crane and will never give it up. Best to you.
  10. G7 usually resolves to C. Adding the 7 to the G makes the resolution stronger -- more like you really landed. If you want the G to pull harder to C, add the 7.
  11. My 59 key Crabb Crane goes down to the same low F by taking down the entire left side a whole fourth. The F is accomplish with a key outside of the five-column pattern. Then the f# (like your c#) is loaded up to sound lower (in my case, the C two octaves below middle C). You can see more at scraggy.net/tina. I also have a Crabb Crane with 57 keys (a normal 55 with a low Bb and a low F added with the C# unaltered). In both cases these instruments were not altered from their original construction.
  12. I'm using and loving mobilesheets ($10) on an 9.7 inch android tablet. This is an image and pdf reader rather than ABC. It has replaced a fakebook I started over 30 years ago. With the paper (and pdf) versions it allway took a minute or so to find a tune or song, now it is just a second or two and it weighs much less. The tablet also holds and manages thousands of mp3 files. Spiffy! Kurt
  13. Another great weekend in Palestine. Too bad we have to wait another year.
  14. I don't see why you couldn't play an octave higher and pitch yourself an octave lower. Another thing you might try is not playing the melody on the concertina at all and let your voice carry it. For example, guitarist often refrain from playing the melody while singing. Or you could play the melody on the left and some chords on the right. You could also try playing across your hands. That is, when the melody line goes below the lowest note you have on the right, play it on the left. If you are singing at the same time and the melody just goes below the right's range for a note or two, you can just sing with a tad more emphasis and not play those notes at all. Finally, you may want to experiment with a looser hand strap. If that doesn't work you could see about moving the hand bar. But I'd be very surprised if loosening the strap and some practice wouldn't do the trick for your pinky. Good luck. As a disclaimer, I play and occasionally sing with a Crane duet.
  15. Some 40 years ago when I lived in Northwest Arkansas, a violin maker moved there from "back east" (Pennsylvania, I think). He went to a local community college and offered to teach a class in violin making and put up adds all over the place. He got too few takers make a class. A few moths later, with the help of some new Arkansas friends he offered a class in "fiddle" making and filled two sections.
  16. That IS odd. She looks like she was well made and well played. Some one knew her well.
  17. Also check out Mark Gilston on Youtube and around here. Great player! Mark is always at the Palestine festival that Gary mentioned. Kurt
  18. The ship captain in Prometheus, in theaters now, plays what appears to be a very nice English.
  19. Here is what I'm bringing to Old Pal and brought in previous years. I made it myself based on a stand I saw there years ago. It folds flat, but I should warn you, even then it is more unwieldly than the wire ones. On the other hand, it holds a concertina and has a sort of "purse" for extra music. It is also what I use for daily playing at home. Maybe I should go into production!?
  20. I have a six fold smaller duet and an eight fold larger duet. I was attracted to the smaller duet because, well, it is smaller. The two instruments, though they are very different is size, weigh about the same. (Take that into consideration for anything else I say). My smaller duet has an advantage in that it can play a little higher on the left side. I find this useful for playing guitar transcription and other things. The larger can play a little lower on the left side, great for adding the bass to four part choral music. But let me set all of that aside and talk about the difference in air as you ask. Here is my call: There are some getting-used-to issues with the larger instrument. That is, for the neophyte the smaller instrument might seem easier to handle. However, any larger air difficulties will be overcome by practice, and by that I mean the practice of playing the instrument, not by any special exercises to handle larger bellows. For the player who is use to both larger bellows and smaller bellows, I don't imagine any situation where he or she would select a smaller duet instrument because there would be an "air" related advantage. On the other hand, the number of reasons for selecting the larger instrument because of "air" would be ... well, I'd feel silly trying to list them all. Like I mentioned earlier, there are some non "air" issues that sometimes draw me to the smaller instrument. And as to the sub-thread on the original design purposes of the duet, is anyone aware of citations for primary sources on this topic?
  21. You might give Pandora a try. You tell Pandora what your favorites are and it suggests additional selections based on your favorite music. Kurt
  22. Everyone! Classical musicians for phrasing and subtle artistry -- all instruments. Choruses, choirs, and other part singers (even Manhattan Transfer) for four part playing. Several for inspiration in singing with concertina (all guitarists and most notable John Hurt, Leon Redbone, Ry Cooder, Jerry Garcia -- basement tapes, and right now a little known singer-guitarist Meridith Axelrod). Block chords played with rhythmic variation a la guitar strumming works as well with concertina (play soft!) for vocal accompaniment as guitar strumming -- and it is simple (easy) and musical. I have big-band sax-section in my background and I sometimes try to emulate that for style, syncopation, harmonic sophistication, etc. especially when playing stuff from the big-band era. When listening to (and jamming with) blue grass and old time string band types, in addition to guitarists and fiddlers, I pay particular attention to the bass and mandolin players. With regard to om pa, the bass is the om and the mandolin the pa. I'm not facile enough with arpeggios to get much from listening to banjo players. Listing these inspiring influences is inspiring in itself. Music is wonderful!
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