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Little John

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About Little John

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    Chatty concertinist

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  1. Gremlin was the name used by Hobgoblin Music in England. I had a Gremlin English for five weeks before I traded it in for a vintage Wheatstone. It was my first concertina.
  2. Great work, Geoffrey! I'd seen the first two on IG and unfortunately the third won't play - it tells me I haven't been granted access. LJ
  3. Same here, playing a Crane duet. I've generally found no need to go beyond two flats and three sharps for folk music and song. I've played a couple of jazz tunes in Eb, but that's about it. (And that was just for the challenge. My guitarist friend uses a capo anyway for these so he could have moved it down a fret to D.) LJ
  4. If you're going for a duet then I'd say the Crane system is closest to a piano. It's derived from the English layout in that (on each hand) the three middle columns are the white notes and the two outer columns are the black notes. The right hand starts at middle C (C4) and the left hand at C3 (an octave below) - giving a range like a tenor-treble (except lacking the squeaky notes you don't need). LJ
  5. The comparison recordings on this thread demonstrate the ("a"?) difference between traditional and hybrid reeds, and on the Wakker Concertinas thread four recordings (so far) demonstrate the differences between traditional reeds in different instruments. Concertinas have a wide variety of tonal quality, but this may not be the most important aspect. To pick up on Alex's point, if people give up after trying a cheap Chinese instrument I believe it's likely to be because of "playability" issues rather than the tone of the reeds. I've owned many concertinas, and the pleasure I've had in playing them has been more to do with playability than tone. My Holden Crane duet is a sheer delight to play not because of its tone (great though that is) but because of its responsiveness, short button travel, good bass/treble balance, light weight, easy bellows etc. The Crabb I had prior to that had a lovely tone but I played it very little until Alex sorted out the action and other issues to make it more playable. Then it became my favourite instrument. I have a Wheatstone bass (steel reeds) which to my ears sounds very bassoon-like. I wish we (as a community) understood better why concertinas produce the tones they do. I'm willing to bet that all the traditional-reeded concertinas on this and the Wakker thread are steel reeds in brass frames, so why the widely different tonal qualities? LJ
  6. To me the Lachenal has a fuller, rounder sound. But I know how difficult it is to capture the true sound of a concertina. I should admit I am only listening on my laptop speakers.
  7. I don't think I was "mixed up" - just using the term I'm familiar with. Another reason why Brits might use "continental" is to distinguish it from the system made popular (if not invented) by Scotsman Jimmy Shand. That also has three rows but they are diatonic in B/C/C# and hence also a "chromatic button accordion". Like the continental system it has a Stradella bass, so visually there's nothing to distinguish between them. Members of this forum might be familiar with John Kirkpatrick playing the Shand system, but I don't think it's used outside Britain.
  8. I used "continental" without thinking about it in my earlier post. Maybe it's a British thing. "The Continent" probably has a more specific meaning here. Whatever you call it, Bernard Loffet makes an instrument very similar to that played in the video by Sean Folsom, called the "petit chroma" http://diato.org/chroma_e.htm LJ
  9. Yes. The standard vintage baritone is 48 buttons. The range is really useful: from G2 (octave and a half below middle C) up to C6 (two octaves above middle C). And often the Ab2 is re-tuned to an F2 which is much more useful for most people and great again for song. LJ
  10. If you're already doing right-hand-melody-left-hand-accompaniment on the anglo then a duet would be the natural choice. An alternative to the piano accordion is the continental button accordion (CBA). Just as versatile as a PA but somewhat more compact. Still nothing like as light and compact as a concertina though! LJ
  11. Gregor's version is the waltz-like song version. The jig version Robin is interested in seems to be more commonly known as The Wyresdale Greensleeves. Putting that into Google will bring up several examples (including RVW's original manuscript). There are several variants of the melody. Most have the leading note natural rather than sharpened. The three-man dance is entertaining. As for the accompaniment, I'd say go for whatever you like the sound of. Following loosely from pikeyh's version on YouTube (it comes up in the Google search) I'm quite happy to use both Fmaj and Dmaj in the A music. This is how I played it the day I learnt it. I play both the melody and the harmony slightly differently now. LJ
  12. I, likewise, have been doing this for years. In particular I avoid doubling the third - it just makes it sound too heavy. So if I'm harmonising the note C on the right hand with a C major chord I'd be happy to play the full CEG triad on the left, but if the right hand note was E then I'd play just CG on the left. However, that's not an "implied" chord since all the notes of the triad are there. I extend this concept to first inversions too so (sticking with C major) if the note on the right was G4 I might play E3C4 on the left. On occasion I will use a second inversion, so if the note on the right was C5 I might use G3E4 on the left. All are "complete" chords though, as all three notes of the triad are present. LJ
  13. 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
  14. 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
  15. 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
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