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Little John

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About Little John

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    Chatty concertinist

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  1. This used to happen to me. I didn't realise it except occasionally when the bellows were close to being completely closed as I tried to get to the end of a phrase. Then I would find my lungs had run out of air too. It doesn't happen any more. I don't know whether that's because I've developed better bellows control, got better quality instruments which have an ample air supply, or that I've just grown out of it. LJ
  2. The link says "I think the concertina itself is about 5 inches across the flats." It could have been a bit bigger than 5" and still look small by comparison with a standard 6" or 6 1/4" box. John Dipper's website gives the Clare I as 5 1/4" and the Clare II as 5 5/8" and indicates the professional model as having 30 - 34 buttons. LJ
  3. It could be for all I know; I'm not familiar with ABC either! Anyway, whatever notation it is and whether it's right or not I think it's firmly established now that this E4 starts at F4 - i.e. first F above middle C. It would be easier if there were an accepted standard for pitch notation. My preference would be for scientific notation where C4 is middle C. Apart from anything else it's easier to type and read than multiple upper or lower dashes, e.g. c''' or C,. LJ
  4. In my experience one reason for this can be the set-up of the reeds. The low reeds often speak more easily than the high reeds, and this makes them louder at all air pressures. Try this experiment. Hold down the button for a low note (G3, say) and a higher note (G5, say) with no pressure on the bellows. Now slowly apply pressure until one reed sounds. If it's the lower reed that sounds this could be your problem. As you apply more pressure the higher note starts to sound, but the low note has already got louder. You can increase the pressure further but the low note will always be louder than the higher note. If this is your problem it can be solved. Take the instrument to a good repairer and ask them to set the reeds so that they all sound at the same low pressure. This will go a good way to solving the problem. It will also allow you to use more expression in your playing. LJ
  5. I'm not really familiar with the C' notation. According to wikipedia it's called Helmholtz pitch notation and c' is middle C (or C4 in scientific notation). The lowest note on David's chart is "f" which is a fifth below middle C (F3). LJ
  6. Thanks, that's very clear (and not at all crude!). So it's a standard treble but with low F and F# added. Very nice! LJ
  7. Well I'm thoroughly confused! On his website Wim says of the E4 "The layout is identical to a tenor english (minus the top 6 notes), but sounding one octave higher." So that gives the range as C4 - C7 with tenor fingering. But above Wim is quoted as saying "The instrument is based on a tenor treble, ..." which gives it treble fingering, confirmed by "It plays just like a normal treble ..." Wim also says "This particular instrument has an extended range down to F." So the range appears to be F3 - F6. Taking all this together, the instrument sounds more like a treble extended down by one note than a soprano. Which I imagine would make it a very attractive instrument for an English player. (Fortunately I'm not tempted - I'm a Crane player now.) LJ
  8. Sorry Gary, I know I'm not your target audience, but for me the 19th century method has it all: true pitch, clear separation of the two hands (by use of the stems) and showing the relationship between all the notes clearly. What do a few ledger lines matter when you've got the button numbers to help you? The shape of the tune is still clear. LJ
  9. I have always assumed they wrote them in the key they were played. Most morris musicians would have been fiddlers at the time so just looking at their fingering would be enough to establish the key. If not, a tuning fork could be used. My theory for this is that the most common instruments for folk music would have been the fiddle or the whistle. Assuming a D whistle then its usable range is D to the B nearly two octaves higher. On the fiddle, ignoring the bottom string the range without leaving first position is D4 to B5. So it would be natural to place tunes within this range. In fact when I did a (not entirely scientific) survey of a sample of folk tunes, 96% fell within this range. There are some exceptions. For example the Rose Tree (Bampton) goes down to a low B repeatedly. I wonder whether it wasn't originally in Bb rather then G. That would bring the range up to D4 - Bb5 and would be easy to finger on the fiddle.
  10. Ditto! In fact, probably even closer to Ali and Phil's version, since that's from where I learnt it.
  11. Looks similar, but I think the right hand is like a chromatic button accordion (CBA) whilst the left hand is something of Tona's own devising. Somewhere on this forum there is a note chart for the instrument. Here's Tona's description: "I play a custom duet made by family Dipper on which the layout is inspired from the layout of the chromatic button accordion... chromatic scale on three rows and 31 buttons for the right hand. Left hand is a bit more complicated, it is not the "mirror" of the right hand. Three rows and 24 buttons."
  12. Thanks for the link. Interesting, but very different from the version I'm familiar with. I wouldn't have recognised it as the same tune. LJ
  13. Could you post it here? The video doesn't play for me. LJ
  14. Only on a forum as generally civilised as this could the discussion be described as "acrimonious"! LJ
  15. Maybe, but not necessarily so. And so do I - basically I'm lucky in that I come from good stock. Maybe, but only after assessing the risks. There are two parts to risk - the likelihood of something happening and the consequences if it does. With coronavirus the first is hard to assess - estimates for the UK seem to range from 1% to 50% of the population. But for the second my belief is that the consequences would be minor for me. So although I'm prepared to take the risk (when allowed to do so) it's only a small one. And actually, I think there's a fair chance I had it back in February, before anyone had talked about it. LJ
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