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Kurt Braun

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Everything posted by Kurt Braun

  1. I freely admit to being an ignorant concertina player. From what I can gather from the forum, however, those who have educated themselves on the diverse playing styles have done so by attending at least one and more often many of the major "squeeze ins." I hope someday I'll be able to join the ranks of the more educated -- that is, make it to one of these events. Short of that, I read what I can on this and other sites to learn more. In an e-mail, someone on this list described a performance at a past squeeze in of a duet player and singer. I found his description very enlightening. Perhaps more of that would help. I enjoyed just seeing the lists of tunes and songs in both the "inappropriate" and "unexpected" threads. I would really like to listen to the various renditions of the tunes as well. Short of getting to a squeeze in, I can think of nothing better to cure my ignorance of what concertinas are capable of. Perhaps people should attach mp3's of their playing on posts. I don’t know if that is possible or desirable, but it might be interesting. Kurt
  2. I purposefully put Mairzy Doats on my web because I thought is was a-typical, sort of iconoclastic concertina music -- but no one ever commented on it. It could be that nothing is truly inappropriate for the concertina. I always have a queasy feeling about playing the National Anthem (USA) on 'tina, though it sounds pretty good. I might feel better if I had a foot ball to kick afterward. I've never played it in public, though it might be fun to cause everyone to stand. Bach's arrangement of "O Sacred Head Now Wounded" makes my duet sound "organish" and is therefore unexpected. But musically, it might be my best shot.
  3. I just own one and don't have time enough for it! I figure it cost me, in current dollars, less than about $3,000, for the instrument, trades, repairs, everything. But let's go with $3,000. I've owned it or the one I traded in for part of the cost over 25 years (300 months). That is $10 per month or 33 cents a day. And, if I live that long, it has at least another 25 years to go. No way around it, you don't need a bargin concertina to get a bargin. They are all bargins. It is just the front end cost that bites a bit.
  4. Mea Culpa. I really don't know much about concertinas generally. I don't have more than 2 or three total lifetime hours playing with other concertina players. Mostly I just surmise things about concertinas from here, a limited number of CDs and the books and tutors I've run across. It has been years, but I don’t recall seeing Anglo Concertina listed in the Downbeat Magazine instrument categories. Objectively, I don't think there are enough people to support a Duet forum. I do feel it is a sufficiently different creature from the others and find the original post of this thread to be an excellent question and supportable. Maybe it is my inexperience with all of the different varieties of the concertina that prevents me from seeing the merits of the objections.
  5. I find it hard to play in the between 2 and 15 hours a week range. Once I get past a couple of hours a week I start setting goals and pushing myself to learn and quickly get to 2 hours a day most days. I have a very interesting day job, two kids in school, church choir, scouts, a lovely wife (plays piano and accordion) and several friends and good neighbors, a sister, Mom, Dad. I try to work out some too. So, when I hear about people playing lots of instruments, I project my situation and get puzzled by it all. I have a mandolin that I spent a few hours a week with for quite a while. It took me too long to be able to play five very easy pieces. Not very satisfying. Morgana -- I lucked into a 2 year old, very low milage engraved, silver plated, Selmer SA80 Series II. What a horn! No way I can limit that to 30 minutes a day. These things are cheaper than concertinas too. It looks like the 'tina is in for a bit of a rest until I can get in a band or something with the alto. You can view and hear my 'tina at: http://www.scraggy.net/~tina Kurt
  6. I started out on saxophone as a student and later as a musician (professional). It got to be too much so I gave it up and sold my horns. Several years later took up concertina just to keep myself going musically. A week ago today I got a beautiful and fine playing new saxophone after 30+ years doing without. I don't think I've racked up more than 2 hours on the tina this week. I won't be able to keep up my skills, let alone improve with just two hours a week. I'm in heaven with the sax and family and co-workers are tolerant for now, but at some point I'll need to return to work, family and concertina and saxophone, and choir, and . . . The last thing I need is another concertina, especially one with a different keyboard. So many people on this fourm own and presumably play more than one concertina and concertina type. How do you do it? No families? Independently weathly? Homeless with piles of time and 'tinas? Kurt
  7. It isn't just learning. The three instruments have different traditions and literatures, even different musical goals. The meat and potatoes of alglos seems to be (surmising from this forum) Irish reels, gigs, contra dancing and some folk songs)? I'm less familiar with English, in part because of the current structure of the fora on this site, but seems to be single line melodic, some times very sophisticated music? So it can include much of the above but also some things from the classical flute and violin literature -- even jazz? Finally, there is the Duet -- my interest. It can handle folk music quite well. It can contribute to reels and so on, but that isn't its meat and potatoes. Since it can accompany itself to some degree, it is arguably a more solo than ensemble instrument. Players spend time working on arrangements, adapting music written for other instruments and so on. I use mine to play standards from the 30s - 50s, some simple classical piano and guitar stuff, hymn and carols, folk songs and novelty stuff. It could be that I'm weird or something and no one else is doing this sort of music. But, if there are tina players that I can connect with in terms of the music I make -- not just to learn with, but to share experiences and ideas -- it is far greater more likely to be a duet player that an English or Anglo player. I also like another point -- aren't you anglo and English players just a little tired of all of this irrelevant duet noise? If there was a seperate forum you could still get to it, but it would be interrupting the other discussions. By the way -- I would not argue for supplanting the current fora structure but rather to merely supplement it with 1 to 3 additional fora. I wonder if Robert Gaskins would be interested in a duet forum on his site?
  8. Tim and Jim, I was over reading your less than enthusiastic responses to the idea. Sorry. My point is this. I don't play much Irish music. I'm only moderately interested in concertinas themselves (collecting, history, minute facts of construction and maintenance). I *am* interested in people who play concertinas of any kind and I'm very grateful to have this forum, though I mostly just read it. I generally stay out of the History, and so on subforums. I find it helpful to have them because I don't have to wade through those posts unless I am really in the mood. Perhaps the problem is that while it it possible to talk about concertina conctruction, collecting, history, it is either too difficult or impossible to discuss in a meaningful way, playing concertinas or concertina music or the experiences of learning, playing and performing. When these sorts of posts do appear, they seem to be centered on anglo/English players of Irish music. In my gut, I think the player I'd like to hear from are here and not posting. I'm still hopeful that the Learning and Playing forum will more meet my needs than the General Discussion. Those are the two I scan daily. Finally, I wanted to support the original idea with some moderation. I don't want to argue too strongly for it, because it may very well may fall on its face. I *would* however, like to encourage anyone else who thinks it might be a good idea to speak up and say why. These may be people who have needs not met by the current sub categories --- people who do not currently post with regularity. Again, sorry for the tone of the previous post. Kind regards, Kurt
  9. It isn't so much what I'd like to discuss as it is who perspective I like to have access to. I'm mostly interested in the perspective of people who play duets, or Cranes, more or less exclusively -- people who have choosen the duet as the primary tool to express themselves musically. To me, that is my journey and I'd like to share it will fellow travelers. On the saxophone (saxontheweb) forum there are categories for alto, tenor, bari. They also have categories for different genres (clasical, jazz, etc.) The point is that the three breakouts of Duets, Anglos and English is a reasonable request This isn't the first time I've read a decent post here only to see it quickly challenged by one or more of the regulars (curiously labeled "experts") as a bad idea. Clearly this is not a one man, one vote environment. Nevertheless, my vote is that the idea is reasonable and deserves open consideration to the advantages of such a scheme.
  10. I think this is a great idea. At least a subfolder for duets. I'd like to go even deeper -- Cranes!
  11. I remember joining a photography club years ago. I brought some pictures to the first (and only) meeting I attended. I was the only one who did. Everyone else brought cameras and other gear to share. On this forum too, a lot of the the sharing here seems centered on equipment, history and so on. There is also some good stuff on tunes and practicing, but not enough to fill what to me seems to be an emptiness. Having not attened a squeeze-in, I may be talking out of school, as it were. But, I have to pose the question hinted at here. Wouldn't we all be enriched by doing more with sound files? It wouldn't have to be record or performance quality to share what we are all doing. I, for one, would be more interested in what someone was trying to accomplish musically than the number of buttons, etc. What do you people think?
  12. This looks like a great project for an internet community like this one. Surely there is a way to solve the copyright problems. Several people seem to know about Salvation Army concertina groups. Is this the stuff wikis are for?
  13. I think the advice the advice John Nixon was giving was to forget about yourself (stubby fingers) and the instrument and get on with it. That is excellent advice. Imagine going to the maker of a violin (oboe, clarinet, piano . . . anything but a concertina) and asking the maker to make special version to take into account stubby (or long) fingers. You want to make sure the straps are right, etc. It is like the height on a piano bench, I suppose. But one should not lose sight of the fact at it is musicianship, not instruments that make the musician and the music. The only way to get there is to practice or otherwise spend lots of time with an instrument. The rest is trivial. If you have a decent piano and don’t play well, it isn’t the piano’s fault. If the concertina is an exception to this principle, as far as I know, it is the only one.
  14. John, If there are still some around, it is a huge opportunity. Are there any concertina.net people able to get in touch with these folks? I sure would like to have some of them on this forum. The worst recording would be better than none. If I were only on the other side of the pond. What do these people play? Where do they play? Do they teach? Are there recordings? Pictures? Interviews? Do we need to change the name of this thread? Kurt
  15. I doubt if the Salvation Army still uses concertinas. Wouldn't there be a lot more Crane players and other resources around if they did? I can't recall where, but I think I heard that the "Triumph" name came from a Triumph Trumpet that was replaced by Crane Concertinas. It is hard to imagine a trumpet being squeezed out by a concertina. I probably have it all wrong. There is a SalvationArmy? on the concertina wiki. I'd love to see more on that. You can tell from the tutor that at one time there were many people in the Salvation Army playing Cranes. It must be one of those lost cultures, like cowboys, riveters and such. If anyone knows of a history, or whatever, of Salvation Army concertina playing, I'd be interested. Kurt
  16. Notes following one another in quick succession , on the same line, or space, are termed reiterated notes; they should, when possible, be played with two fingers, i.e. using the approptiate finger and the next to it alternately. The two fingers should be kept close to the keys. In playing reiterated chords, it is necessary to change the motion of the bellows for each chord, instead of changing the fingers. ----Page 37, From the Salvation Army Tutor for the Triumph Concertina FWIW, Kurt
  17. Years ago I was in a band and we got a new member. I first heard him as he warmed up for a rehearsal. He was ripping through some impossible stuff. I took it to be showing off for the benefit of the people in his new outfit and wise cracked, “Take it up a half step.” Without a pause, he did. He played tenor sax, an instrument that has a definite home key. Indeed, saxophones are transposing instruments, meaning the home key isn’t even C. He was a very good player, and fortunately, forgiving of wise cracks. The point is if you are really going to master an instrument, you need to be able to play fluently in any key. You might have a key or two you hate, but even then you should be able to play the key or be able to work a tune up when asked. The great thing about modern transposing instruments like clarinets and saxophones is that the key work makes it easier (not necessarily easy) to master all keys. This is not a problem for violin players or mandolin players who learn one scale in a few positions, then they are done. I play a crane system and do not pretend to be knowledgeable about other concertinas, even other duets. I don’t have a single song in my repertoire in the key of C# and I'm not interested in Gb either. I like the key signatures of C, D, A, G, Bb, F. When feeling bold I’ll take on Eb, Ab, E and B. Part of my problem with getting far from home is due to the instrument. However, I had similar problems with the saxophone when others overcame them. You have to practice those scales you rarely play to be ready. I'm in this for the fun and can conviently bow out when I don't like the key. I can’t find much fault with the Crane system in this regard. Transposition on the Crane, like the saxophone, has never been my forte. However, transposing up a step or up a fifth was never the issue. It is the key I’m transposing to. Down a halve step from C# to C is no problem. F# to C wouldn't be a problem. No at all like down a half step from D to Db or F to C#. My problem in transposing to any key is that I don’t know all my keys because I’m not willing to practice scales in keys I seldom use.
  18. I don't use baffles either. Here are my alternatives: 1. "Arrange" more lightly on the left as mentioned by others. 2. Get used to it. Organ, harmonium, harpsicord and other players do. It requires harder listening to hear the melody, but one does get there. 3. If seated, you can aim your ends. That is, lift the right end up (a little) and point it toward the audience (or your own ears). You can also sort of muffle the left end by pointing it slighly downward or toward your body. 4. Sit at an angle with your right side tilted toward your audience, microphone or what ever. 5. And most effective of all, if it is a song, sing louder than you play!
  19. The biggest difference will be the same keyboard on push and pull. Go to http://www.maccann-duet.com/ Poke around a little and you will find the keyboard diagrams for each system, not just Maccann. Most people seem to like the system they have, or started with, the best. Kurt Braun
  20. Most of the sheet music I play from is in a large three ring binder. Some pages are Xeroxed straight from books and other sheet music I have around the house. Some are Xeroxed from books borrowed from friends or public libraries. I also have transcribed a considerable number of tunes and songs by hand into fake sheets. I've been doing this for nearly thirty years so as pages get tattered, I Xerox or re-Xerox them and they are mere shadows of what they were. In recent years I've been scanning music into my computer so that reprints are not degraded. I also have Allegro so I don't need to transcribe by hand anymore and it is much easier to transpose! The “book” is large enough so that I lose track of what is in it. Every once and a while I undertake trying to organize the entire collection into one large pdf file. But, as I do, I run across something interesting and stop to play it. I don't think I'll ever get there. Maybe I should hire it out.
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