Jump to content

Bob Michel

  • Posts

  • Joined

  • Last visited

Everything posted by Bob Michel

  1. Oh, well, as Emily Litella used to say, that's very different. Clearly I've outed myself as a MIDI illiterate. But a quick search online suggests that all sorts of MIDI devices do connect to an iPod Touch nowadays (e.g., http://www.sweetwater.com/cs--iPod_MIDI). So unless I'm missing something (again), the iPod should do the job. Bob Michel Near Philly
  2. MIDI isn't really part of my toolkit, so I don't have any good suggestions regarding an input device. But depending on the software you're using, screen size might be something to keep in mind. I use Auria pretty exclusively on the iPad now (it's not currently MIDI-enabled, but a major upgrade is expected any minute), and it's hard for me to imagine navigating its interface on an iPod screen. Cubasis and some other powerful recording packages for iOS do accommodate MIDI. (I used Cubase for years on a PC and found it a clumsy horror; Auria is vastly better, at least for my purposes.) A compromise might be an iPad Mini. I have a friend who's quite happy using one of these (with Auria) as a dedicated recording device. It's more expensive than an iPod, but an older model (perfectly adequate for this use) would be fairly close in price, depending on the amount of storage you want. And while it's great having lots of room, there are enough ways of offloading big sound files that even a 16 GB model (whether iPad or iPod) ought to do the trick. Bob Michel Near Philly
  3. That's one of those bits of trivia that's mysteriously satisfying to know. Along similar lines, I only recently learned that Henry Clay Work, whom I'd always thought of mainly as the composer of the Civil War song "Kingdom Coming," also wrote "Marching Through Georgia," "The Ship That Never Returned" and "My Grandfather's Clock." That's a significant slice of the Americana pie right there! I enjoyed this arrangement a lot. I'm particularly fond of the C part, actually, but I like all of it. I have a ton of old ragtime tabs for guitar that I've struggled with off and on over the years, and I've vaguely intended to try a few of them out on concertina. Maybe this will light a fire under me. Bob Michel Near Philly
  4. I rate this tune as "unlikely" for the sole reason that I've never actually heard anyone play it on a concertina, and hadn't thought of doing so myself until recently. But not long ago I was rereading an old thread on this forum entitled "Australian Concertina Cartoons" (http://www.concertina.net/forums/index.php?showtopic=14688), and I found myself wondering just what that dapper gentleman with the "AGITATOR" sash might be playing. Well, what else could it be? Turns out that the famous melody and the instrument I play it on get on exceptionally well, possibly because they're very close contemporaries. Though on reflection I have a strong hunch that the fellow in the cartoon and I aren't the only people who've ever picked out these particular notes on a concertina. I'd like to hear his arrangement, just for comparison's sake. http://youtu.be/DotvQ99yPB4 Bob Michel Near Philly
  5. Bravo. You've inspired me to appreciative larceny. A C#/D box (the only two-row I currently play) has its own quirky ideas about the tune, though: http://youtu.be/6szcgIs3BhE And on concertina: http://youtu.be/5NG5wpwR83A Bob Michel Near Philly
  6. Thanks to Randy and Jim; I'm glad you enjoyed it. It's a long way yet from a party piece, but I had fun playing around with it. My only regret is that I didn't use the old Lachenal so that I could incorporate the whistle and/or crying baby. That will have to wait for the next assignment... Bob Michel Near Philly
  7. I finally got around to roughing out an arrangement for YouTube today: http://youtu.be/aPI_X7msXRc It could certainly be more polished, but it's almost what I have in mind. Bob Michel Near Philly
  8. Thanks, Jim. The extra buttons are indeed great for chording, but for what it's worth, this particular tune makes scant use of them. I did play a push Bb in the C#dim chord, but one could leave it out (or, in the Jeffries 30-button layout, play it on the draw). I took advantage of the C drone on the draw to play a Bb9 chord, but I could also have played the C, albeit a bit awkwardly, an octave higher on the G row. Otherwise, I think the only chord where I couldn't have dispensed with a 40-button fingering option was the plain vanilla G7, which I played several times on the push, taking advantage of one or another reverse F natural. But of course that chord is easy enough to play, in whatever inversion, on the draw. So 30 buttons should be plenty to duplicate the arrangement. (If--Groucho voice here--that's your idea of a good time.) Bob Michel Near Philly
  9. This seemed pretty unlikely when I first thought of doing it, but I kind of like the way it worked: http://youtu.be/WdsvQvo89D0 Bob Michel Near Philly
  10. Wikipedia tells me that Eydie Gormé's hit was in '63. So by the time I was in full adolescent-tribal mode (musically speaking) a few years later, it had probably migrated to lush orchestral arrangements on the dreaded WMNI--which is how I remember it. So I'd have pigeonholed it as unacceptable Music of the Older Generation, which it certainly wasn't. I felt the same way, as a kid, about the actual Brazilian music that was in vogue in the early '60s: Jobim and Gilberto and all that. Now, of course, I love the real Brazilian stuff. Eydie Gormé, not so much. Bob Michel Near Philly
  11. Well, it's "Blame It on the Bossa Nova," of course. One of a vast library of such tunes lodged in my head from those endless childhood hours when the living room Philco was set to the horrifying Easy Listening station my mother favored, rather than the rock 'n' roll station we switched to as soon as both my parents were out of the house. Thanks for the earworm... Bob Michel Near Philly
  12. Hmmmm. I have some close associates who wouldn't miss the chance to observe here that "unlikely concertina music" is a tautology... But we know what's meant. For me the concertina mainstream has always been Irish trad, and probably the chief pleasure of participating in this forum is seeing and hearing--and learning--so many other ways of using an Anglo. In that spirit, here's a bit of genre mixing. While I still play plenty of traditional (and original) stuff, my recent preoccupation has been early Tin Pan Alley songs, from roughly the period 1908-1920. Mostly I accompany these on stringed instruments, but the concertina is starting to claim a role for itself. Which makes sense when you think of it, since in those years it had more currency than it does now, and hadn't yet been pigeonholed as a "folk" instrument. I stumbled on this title a few months back, and knew that I wouldn't rest until I found the sheet music. Since the song involves harassing a fiddler, it seems particularly well suited to concertina. http://youtu.be/VHChYF7l67A Bob Michel Near Philly
  13. Yep, that looks awfully familiar. A bit cleaner than mine was (or is), actually. If it's in decent restorable condition it could be a nice find for someone. Of course, the most important question is whether the whistle and baby's cry buttons work. Mine do! Bob Michel Near Philly
  14. Thanks for the kind words, Don. Probably the biggest factor is simply which of the two I've been playing more recently; I try to give them equal time. That said, there are some differences. The Wheatstone is a late one (1953), but I had a riveted action installed in it by The Button Box years ago. So it's quite fast and responsive. It also has a whopping eight-fold bellows in the South African style, so it's great for chording. And it's loud; it probably goes to more sessions than the other box. The Lachenal had a major makeover in 2013, and I'm simply in love with it, clacky hook-and-lever action and all. It's a bit more demanding to play (though still quite fast), but oh, those reeds. It's sweetly tuned, and its layout is wonderful--I have a pull E in the low octave! Even the action has grown on me: I like an instrument that pushes back a bit. I haven't had the opportunity to play vast numbers of concertinas, but I've gradually formed the impression (and more knowledgeable people have told me in so many words) that it's a highly unusual Lachenal. The upshot? The Wheatstone is certainly more efficient. The Lachenal is more expressive. The Wheatstone is a first-rate tool for a working musician. The Lachenal approaches being a soulmate. I doubt I'd ever part with the Wheatstone. I know I'll never part with the Lachenal. Bob Michel Near Philly
  15. Here's one more favorite of mine, "Louis's Waltz" by Andy de Jarlis: http://youtu.be/UtKinYcba_0 Played as usual on 40-button Anglo. Bob Michel Near Philly
  16. The Rochelle is a remarkable instrument with a distinctive, lovely voice of its own. It's limber enough to play fast dance music (with perhaps a bit more effort than a more traditional concertina would require), and really shines when accompanying songs. If 1) money were no object but 2) I had to choose a single instrument, then yes, I'd pick a "proper" box. But I think the Rochelle stands on its own merits--not the least of which is that it's relatively affordable. I've never owned one, but several of my students have. So far from looking down on the model, I'm a big fan. Bob Michel Near Philly
  17. The Zoom H2n should work fine. It's a great all-purpose recording tool. Just check, if 24 bit recording is a consideration, that the Zoom can handle it *as an interface*. The earlier H2 is 24 bit-capable as a stand-alone recorder, but not as a USB device. Apart from that, I can't see a downside. Neat little tool. Bob Michel Near Philly
  18. I've used a Zoom H2 (predecessor to the H2n) as a mic, as well as a Blue Yeti. Both work well, and the H2(n), of course, is also a good independent field recorder. For this purpose, though, I'd give the Yeti the edge. It's very well built, and the multiple patterns are a nice feature. And the Blue Yeti Pro (which I haven't used) can be used to make 24 bit recordings, while the H2, when used as an interface, is limited to 16 (I'm not sure about the H2n). I liked the Yeti enough that I was considering upgrading to the Pro, but ended up getting an Apogee MIC instead. Since I mostly record on an iPad these days, it makes for an extremely compact and convenient package, and the sound quality (to my ears) is excellent. The MIC comes with a USB adaptor too, but I think it only works with a Mac. Bob Michel Near Philly
  19. Thanks to Wolf and Rod for the kind words. Typically I just sit down and record something on the concertina (or other main instrument), and then decide what accompaniment, if any, might be suitable. I have tried it t'other way around: e.g., some months back I made a YouTube recording of "Eighth of January" and "Arkansas Traveler" for the Theme of the Month at www.melodeon.net, where I recorded a stringband arrangement in advance and did the video portion (playing melodeon) last, wearing headphones. I was surprised at how awkward and counterintuitive this was. Probably I should take the trouble to start with a scratch track of concertina and replace it with a more polished take later, as I would if recording "serious" audio. But a lot of the enjoyment I get from making the videos comes from doing them quickly and spontaneously. If it started to feel like work I'd probably start avoiding it. Bob Michel Near Philly
  20. A couple more waltzes: http://youtu.be/yHl2stYP8to Back in the late '90s I was part of a group whose lead singer did a lovely waltz-time version of the song "Ned of the Hill." At her/their request--or maybe it was my own idea; I can't remember--I wrote a second waltz to complement the tune. The title "Her Eyes So Blue" was probably conceived as a weak pun on "Her Mantle So Green." We played a complex arrangement with the two waltzes interwoven; here I just play them sequentially, after an intro quoting my tune. Bob Michel Near Philly
  21. That's perfectly lovely. And the film is wonderful--thanks for passing it along. Bob Michel Near Philly
  22. Thanks, Wolf. You beat me to the punch, since I wanted to say how much I enjoyed your take on "The Tennessee Waltz." I'm always impressed to hear something new in an old chestnut, and you certainly accomplished that. Lovely harmonies. Here are a couple more: http://youtu.be/VegRJRstlVA http://youtu.be/wFahjdCbYFo "The Cabri Waltz" comes from the prairies of Canada and/or the U.S. (Cabri is a town in Saskatchewan). It is, or used to be, an American old-time standard; again, I probably learned it back in the '70s from the indispensable Highwoods String Band. And "La complainte du folkloriste" is a tune from Québec, a composition of the late Philippe Bruneau. I really enjoyed the contrast in style and mood between these two Northern tunes when I was recording them. "Waltz" covers a lot of ground--much like "Canada," actually. Bob Michel Near Philly
  23. Any useful information here? http://tunearch.org/wiki/Annotation:My_Own_House I've only ever known it as "My Own House," and I probably learned it from the Highwoods, though I've heard an awful lot of versions in the years since. Bob Michel Near Philly
  24. I love playing waltzes, and shall try to ration myself this month. But here's one I've known most of my life that I thought might sit well on the concertina: http://youtu.be/Y09YfCt5y4U It's most often called "My Own House Waltz" in American old-time music circles, though it has other names as well, particularly in Scotland, where I believe it originated. Appropriately, I recorded it in my own house. Bob Michel Near Philly
  25. Me three. Not only is it palate-cleansing; it reminds me, whenever I pick it up, that my principal duty as a player of dance music is to provide lift and drive. And it's positively brutal in the way it exposes flaws in my technique. It's always fun to see an accomplished Irish-style player of the B/C or C#/D system, especially an older one, pick up a humble melodeon--often the instrument s/he began on. It's a joyful reunion, like a homecoming. I reckon a 20-button concertina produces the same effect. It's all you need, really. Bob Michel Near Philly
  • Create New...