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Little John

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About Little John

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    Chatty concertinist

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    Hampshire

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  1. Little John

    Colin Dipper Pride of Albion Anglo

    What would be the advantages and drawbacks of sterling silver ends? Wouldn't they need a lot of polishing? LJ
  2. Little John

    Pastime with Good Company - help needed

    Ah, I see. That makes sense. Thank you Adrian. LJ
  3. Does anyone play this tune? I came across it recently on a Jethro Tull compilation and I've been having a bit of fun with it, but having decided to have a serious go at it I'm having trouble with the music. The 1513 manuscript shows three verses, all with different tunes. None of the modern transcriptions or recordings use anything other than the first tune. (I think Jethro Tull hint at the second, but it's too jazzed up to use as a source.) The difficulty arises because each of the three verses is written in a different clef. They all have one flat. There are two little squares at the beginning of each line which I take to be a C clef. In the first two verses the relative positions of the clef and the flat are consistent with the tune being in G minor/dorian; but that isn't the case for the third verse. The only way I can make sense of it musically is to treat the bottom line of the stave as the tonic. That's consistent with the position of the flat, but not with what I presume to be the clef. Also this verse has an additional symbol immediately after the clef which I have no way of interpreting. Can any one with greater knowledge of these things help me out? Did our great King Henry VIII simply make a mistake? LJ
  4. Little John

    Jodey Kruscal UK 2018 Tour

    I can't find a tour schedule for 2018 either, but Jody is coming to Hambledon Folk Club on Wednesday 14th November. LJ
  5. Little John

    Turning End Bolts

    The bolts on my Dipper have slots so narrow they grip the tip of my jewellers' screwdriver. No slipping! LJ
  6. Little John

    Belle qui tiens ma vie

    Adrian - I could be wrong but it sounds like it's transposed up a fifth rather than down a fourth. Having just gone to try it out, I remember I transposed it up a tone to A, so as to be able to use the A2 I have as the lowest note on my duets. I just learnt it by ear (after hearing the York Waits, probably) but I ought to take a proper look at the music. LJ
  7. Little John

    Belle qui tiens ma vie

    Very nice, Adrian. I note you're playing it in D rather than the G it's more usually written in. Is that so as to fit in the bass line without modification? Also, is it a straight transposition of all four parts? I have to admit I've toyed with this in the past. I tend to play these things in whatever key fits most easily. And I often drop to three parts, provided all the harmony is still there. LJ
  8. Little John

    Da Slockit Light in winter and summer

    And, bizarrely, it works. In a rather joyous way! LJ
  9. I plumped for Eb. There was never much doubt I would. I've thought of all sorts of times when I might want a D#, but in practice over the past five months it's never arisen as a real issue. Come Christmas, the Coventry Carol (in Em) was the one I expected to cause problems since D# is frequently exposed in the melody. Solution? Transpose to Gm, which turns out to be the key it's written out in anyway! I use Eb3 in a couple of tunes and Eb5 in a couple of songs, but I've never wanted D# at either of those pitches, only D#4 (right hand). So if it does become a problem I might make that one button D#/Eb anglo style. LJ
  10. There may be a common thread in these three comments. In part the difference is down to the timbres of the instruments, but the comparison is complicated by an additional factor. The Dipper had a very dominant left hand from the outset, so I inserted a partial leather baffle over 30 years ago. Recently I've been experimenting with extending this baffle. This means that not only is the left hand quieter than the right but it is tonally different too, which allows the melody to cut through clearly. By comparison with the Dipper (but not necessarily with other "normal" concertinas) the melody on the Crabb stands out less clearly from the harmonics of the chords. That could explain why Didie preferred the Crabb solo but the Dipper when accompanied (as, indeed, do I). I'd be interested to know if anyone who has listened picked up on this at all. Didie - Loads has been written on mean tone tuning (and other tuning systems). You can find stuff on Wikipedia and elsewhere, and Ross Duffin has an interesting book called How Equal Temperament Ruined Harmony (And Why You Should Care). In brief the problem is this. A perfect (or Pythagorian) fifth is a frequency ratio of 3:2. In theory, if you stack up 12 fifths (A - E - B - F# - ... - D - A) you get back to A. Except you don't. You end up 24 cents sharper than the A you started from. (A cent is 1/100 of a semitone.) This 24 cent difference is called a comma, and its existence is a problem to fixed pitch instruments with keyboards or frets. It's also a problem because this stack of perfect fifths creates major thirds that are much wider than perfect thirds. So compromise is needed. If you reduce each fifth by 2 cents (a 1/12 of the comma) you overcome the problem of ending up 24 cents sharp, but the major thirds are still sharp. (This is "equal temperament"). If you reduce each fifth by 6 cents (1/4 comma) you get perfect major thirds but rather narrow fifths. So a common compromise is to reduce the perfect fifth by 4.8 cents (1/5 comma). But now the circle of fifths doesn't close, so one fifth is much wider than the others (the "wolf fifth"). The trick is to put it somewhere you won't want to use it, like G# - Eb. You can take advantage of this on a large Hayden (as they used to on English concertinas) because D# and Eb, for example, have separate buttons, thus eliminating the wolf fifth (at least, for all practical purposes). LJ
  11. Hi Geoff, You're right: the two instruments have very different timbres, and probably the brighter (or harsher) Dipper would have benefited more from being tuned to meantone. I'm not sure that the recording (on an iPhone) gives a fair representation of the sound. Colin Dipper himself described the Crabb as having a rich tone. As for construction, both concertinas have mahogany (or similar) pallet boards and sycamore (or similar) reed pans, with the exception of the right hand side of the Dipper which has a plywood reed pan. Brass reed frames for the Dipper and aluminium for the Crabb. I'm not sure that makes much difference in itself - John Kirkpatrick's Crabb also has aluminium reed frames but certainly doesn't sound subdued.
  12. Thanks saguaro_squeezer. "I wasn't aware that Dipper made a Crane." I don't think they've made more than a handful. I believe mine was the second and I was aware of one more after that. "I have a Tedrow "Harley" Anglo that is tuned in quarter comma meantone and am trying to get a handle on why that is." The reason for choosing this temperament is that it makes the major thirds perfect. The wide major thirds of equal temperament are one of its worst features and this seems to show up on the concertina more than any other instrument. LJ
  13. Partly inspired by soloduetconcertina's posting of Da Slockit Light, but something I've been meaning to do for a while anyway since I had my Crabb re-tuned to fifth comma mean tone. I'll probably post more on that experience in a new thread, but I've posted this beautiful Phil Cunningham tune on IG to compare the Crabb in mean tone with the Dipper in equal temperament. I'd be interested in any comments. I'm not sure if this will work - you may need to go to Instagram to hear the second version (since I can't see the two dots beneath the picture indicating a second video).
  14. Little John

    Da Slockit Light in winter and summer

    Interesting contrast. Thanks for sharing these. It's good to try these things, but I agree the "winter" version seems more in keeping with the tune.
  15. Little John

    Anglo Concertina Button Layout

    There's more than one convention. The one I use, which seems to be fairly widespread, is based, I think, on the notes on a piano. So middle C is C4. The B immediately below is B3 while the B almost an octave above middle C is B4. The next octave up runs C5 - B5 and so on in each direction. LJ
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