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Bob Michel

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Everything posted by Bob Michel

  1. Here's a go on Anglo, with some backing tracks. I tried it on both my concertinas, and found that I much preferred it on the old (1890?) Lachenal. Maybe the noisier action evokes a hurdy-gurdy. As for its being "the ultimate international melody," I can't even begin to wrap my head around what that might mean; unless I've been misusing both those adjectives all my life, the claim is as opaque as a Zen koan to me. But I did play it in my own way, since despite my best efforts I couldn't figure out how to do otherwise. The tune doesn't need all that hyperbole, anyway: it stands perfectly well on its own. http://youtu.be/qzocGlg2hmM Bob Michel Near Philly
  2. Terrific tunes, lovely playing. Coincidentally I've just been working on "The Wonder." And "Welsh Cuckoo's Nest" goes on my to-learn list. Bob Michel Near Philly
  3. Here are two of my favorite swingy concertina tunes. I originally learned "The Ebb Tide" from the wonderful playing of Jacqueline McCarthy on "The Wind among the Reeds," and my setting obviously owes a lot to hers, though I find that it's diverged a fair bit over the years (it's much swingier, for one thing). As for "The Flowing Tide," I have no idea where I got it; I suspect I just picked it up osmotically from hearing it at countless sessions. The odd thing is that I've never heard anyone else play these two hornpipes together, though they'd make a lovely pair even without their complementary names. Bob Michel Near Philly
  4. I'd made a bunch of very simple YouTube videos earlier in the fall, playing various instruments, just for my own enjoyment, and to learn how it's done. Eventually I started overdubbing a little accompaniment, and one thing led to another. Yes, on this one I play the instruments you mentioned, plus mandolin and C#/D melodeon/button accordion. The first step--making the actual video of me playing the concertina--is straightforward as can be: you could do it with a tablet, videocam, digital camera in video mode, or whatever toy you have handy. If you can then get this video file onto a computer, its soundtrack can be opened using the free program Audacity--and then the fun begins. All you need to play along with yourself is a way of getting sound into the computer and a set of headphones. I'm sure I could do it all on the tablet, in fact: I have the rather amazing multitracking app Auria, which can do most of what Audacity does and some other things besides. But I haven't yet sorted out how to make the apps play well together; hence my recourse to the old tried-and-true PC. Anyway, I'm glad you enjoyed the experiment(s). I've been fooling around with recording at home for the last ten or twelve years, and the technology just keeps getting easier to use. Bob Michel Near Philly
  5. Mastery of electronics?!? I still own a VCR, and it still blinks "12:00." As for the TV, I succeed in turning it on perhaps two times in three. (I'm not making this up.) But you're very kind to say so. I'm enjoying making the videos, particularly the ones that involve a bit of a musical stretch. Bob Michel Near Philly
  6. Since I started posting to YouTube I've worked out a system: the initial video is made on an iPad using an app called MoviePro. I use a Blue Yeti external mic (which, awkwardly, requires a USB hub and the Camera Connection Kit) on a stereo setting. Once I'm satisfied with the video (or just sick of messing with it), I upload it to Dropbox, then download it to a PC. I import the video to Audacity as a sound file (you need an add-on for this; it's explained in their manual) and tweak it very slightly: noise removal, and just a touch of compression and reverb. Any subsequent tracks are recorded directly into Audacity using the same mic, tweaked in a similar way, then panned to give the mix a stereo image; the mix is exported as a .wav file. I load the video file into Microsoft Movie Maker and replace the original soundtrack with the .wav file from Audacity. Then it's just a matter of adding a title and a couple of stupid visual tricks (my video-making skill set is pretty basic). I export the video in the format optimized for YouTube, and upload it. It probably sounds complicated (and could probably be streamlined by someone more knowledgeable), but given a decent initial take it can all take well under an hour. One of these days I'll improve the set-up, but for now this method seems to work O.K. Bob Michel Near Philly
  7. Here's a well-known seasonal tune from Shetland, and a last video offering for 2014: http://youtu.be/iWi8USnUBQc Like many of my contemporaries I learned it from The Boys of the Lough: before that album was released I'd heard them play it in Paris, of all places, at a wonderful concert that was partially responsible for launching me onto the slippery slope of traditional music in the first place. This means (sigh) that I've been noodling it on one instrument or another for a few months shy of forty years now. To celebrate that anniversary I invited several of those other instruments to the party. So this is by way of a year's-end thank-you to my new friends at www.concertina.net, and of wishing you all a very happy Christmas--or whatever feast gladdens your heart. Bob Michel Near Philly
  8. Well done, Daria. The Morse sounds great, and you really do it credit. Bob Michel Near Philly
  9. That's most kind, Rod; thanks. From both of us. Bob Michel Near Philly
  10. I'll second Daria's recommendation of a Morse. I've had the opportunity to try a lot of different makes of hybrid concertina, and have found something to admire in all of them. But the Morse design seems to me really extraordinary, combining extremely fast and trouble-free action and a sound very close to that of traditional concertinas. And they weigh next to nothing. A new Morse would run a bit more than your stated budget, but so would most of the other hybrids. And used ones turn up fairly often, both at the Button Box and elsewhere. Either way I think you'd be very pleased with your choice. Bob Michel Near Philly
  11. A very jaunty version, I like it! Thanks, Alex. I can't decide whether I like it better as an august anthem of solstitial mystery or as party music for mischievous reindeer. Bob Michel Near Philly
  12. A couple of hours ago I was idly working out harmonies to this old carol, while listening to the wind howl on an uncommonly dark and bleak day. I was about to put the concertina away when the dog traipsed over and snuggled in next to me. Well, this is a filmable moment, thinks I. In spite of the dog's priceless reaction at 1:02, I promise that the accompaniment was overdubbed afterwards. He may have been anticipating the arrangement, though; we have after all known each other for a long time. So here's a spontaneous contribution to the Theme of the Month. The words were written by Edward Sears, a Unitarian minister in Wayland, Massachusetts, in 1849; the melody (one of two to which the words are sung) is attributed to Richard S. Willis. It happens to have been my late mother's favorite Christmas song, which may be why I was noodling it in the first place. The dog appears to like it too, although he is old and perhaps a bit deaf. http://youtu.be/VgK-A14JnL0 Bob Michel Near Philly
  13. If we Yanks took the dance the wrong way, It's those antlers that led us astray. No doubt the thought's foolish, But reindeer are Yulish. One pictures them pulling a sleigh. Bob Michel Near Philly
  14. I don't mean my version to verge On dulling a dance to a dirge, If real Bromley Abbots Are sprightly as rabbits. So...Christmas is coming...let's splurge: http://youtu.be/0-9bSCEtcBk Bob Michel Near Philly
  15. That's not just impressive; it's really lovely. Which is more impressive. Bob Michel Near Philly
  16. I have two C#/D boxes, one tuned pretty dry, the other wetter than some people like. I prefer the sound of the latter; probably the concertina covers my drier moods adequately. I appreciate the versatility of a "semitone" melodeon/accordion--with a little practice you really can play a tune in any key--and of course it suits the Irish repertoire very well. But if I were interested mostly in playing waltzes and the like, I'd seriously consider something with the rows a fourth apart--probably a G/C, though any key combination would do for playing alone--to play in a more chordal style and to take fuller advantage of the basses. But it's the humble, limited one-row--again, I have two, one in D, one in C--that I enjoy playing best of all, though I've been at it seriously for the shortest time. It's hard to explain how magical these are, or how satisfying it can be to strip away all a tune's chromatic frippery while maintaining an absolute fidelity to its rhythm and drive. On concertina or two-row button box I mostly play dance music; on a one-row I dance. Bob Michel Near Philly
  17. The chords are lovely, and I like the way you bring them in after playing the simple melody line. Nice arrangement. Bob Michel Near Philly
  18. I had no trouble picking a tune for this Theme. Danielle Martineau's "Valse d'hiver" is as wintry and haunting a waltz as I've ever heard, and a great favorite. I like to play it on button accordion/melodeon, but decided to try it out on concertina (key of Bm, 40-button Anglo in C/G). http://youtu.be/LNdmIWcttHM Bob Michel Near Philly
  19. Both tunes are new to me, and both are so lovely that I couldn't choose. Rather than make two videos I decided to see how they'd go together. Key of Gm...40 button C/G Anglo. Here's how I hear them on very short acquaintance, anyway. http://youtu.be/8eH9f7Y-1q0 Bob Michel Near Philly
  20. Well done, and a lovely tune. The Marcus sounds terrific, too. Bob Michel Near Philly
  21. Irish tunes being more or less my comfort zone, I thought I'd take advantage of the November theme one more time before the American Thanksgiving holiday preempts any further productivity this month. Here's a favorite O'Carolan tune of mine, and one that doesn't get played as often--in this neighborhood, anyway--as some of the others. I like the way it sits on the concertina, and it's also a nice candidate for some Stupid Overdubbing Tricks. http://youtu.be/Jh1VhTc8n7A Bob Michel Near Philly
  22. That's very sweet. It really breathes some new life into a tune that's been played to death. No small feat, that. Bob Michel Near Philly
  23. That's really marvelous. I play Anglo, but those harmonies are enough to give a fellow English envy. Bob Michel Near Philly
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