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Posts posted by Jim2010

  1. 15 hours ago, adrian brown said:

    I felt an urge to have another stab at this, this time playing it on my Dipper baritone. It's very nice to revisit pieces like this after a long gap and comforting to feel how after a short acclimatisation, your fingers seem to move instinctively over familiar button patterns, hopefully giving more time to think about your interpretation. The harmony in this piece is not quite as close as in some of the earlier stuff I've recorded with the baritone and I think it really brings out the "architecture" (for want of a better word) of this instrument.

    Something for a cold, wet and rainy January weekend?








    Beautiful, beautiful. And I have played it on the lute (and guitar).

    • Like 1
  2. If I am staying in a hotel, I usually have a few options. I can practice early in the morning in the "exercise" room or laundry room (rarely anyone there but sometimes it isn't easy to turn off the TV). Sometimes there is access to a meeting room or restaurant/bar that isn't used during the day. I sometimes ask a staff member if there is somewhere I can practice "so I won't disturb anyone."

    If weather permits, I find a park or other outside seating area. During inclement weather, I find an enclosed parking lot or a little trafficked section of a public building (such as a bus/train station, convention center, university building).*

    Even when people are around, they are usually more curious and interested than annoyed.

    Be polite and leave immediately without debate (apologizing when appropriate) if asked to move.


    * For example, In Charlottesville I have practiced in the Paramount Theater, The Sprint Pavilion, and the bus station.



  3. I also recommend Flow, by Mihaly Csikszentmihaly.

    The current ISBN numbers are:

    SBN-13: 978-0061339202
    ISBN-10: 9780061876721
    An internet search for "Flow Mihaly Csikszentmihaly" results in a number of lectures and articles that may be of interest.
  4. Consistent with what Randy is talking about is this website by music psychologist/violinist Noa Kageyama who teaches at Julliard. Essentially, he explains the difference in practice methods between top performers (in music, sports, etc.) and the rest of us. It offers best practice practices. I have read and later reread the free sections and it has helped me practice much more efficiently—learning more in less time—and enjoying it more.



  5. The advice that is often given when people ask "What kind or concertina should I get?" (English, Anglo, or Duet) is listen to concertina recordings/performances, decide what inspires you the most, and get the type of concertina used in the performance. In your case, it seems like you are essentially looking for a smaller lighter instrument to substitute for your accordion. If I am correct about that, duet concertinas seem like the logical starting point. But which type, Hayden, Crane, Maccann)? There is a website that presents recordings of all three types of duets:



    Youtube is another good place to hear various types of concertinas.


    After listening to some of the recordings, you might be in a better position to decide which or IF any of them sound the way you would hope them to sound if you went to the trouble of finding one and learning how to play it. Just finding an instrument that has the notes you need is just one aspect of it. Do concertinas (any type) have the sound you are looking for?


    12 hours ago, rockie12us said:

    I have looked at Duet Concertinas like the Hayden.  Is this a good option?


    Something that might be of additional interest to you is that the Concertina Connection offers the option of Hayden Duets with mirrored left hands, with accordionists in mind.

  7. 10 hours ago, rockie12us said:

    I have looked at Duet Concertinas like the Hayden.  Is this a good option?


    Or are there lighter piano accordions I can look into?


    If your preference would be to stick with accordion if you can find one light enough, accordionists.info is a great site for information about all things accordion. Very friendly and helpful people.


    Smythes Accordion Center and Liberty Bellows sell accordions of all sizes and sometimes have Hayden duets in stock.

    Smythes currently have a Concertina Connection (concertinaconnection.com) Troubador Hayden duet in stock. Liberty Bellows currently has a Concertina Connection (concertinaconnection.com) Elise Hayden duet in stock.








  8. 1 hour ago, Anglo-Irishman said:

    Why surprised? Renaissance lute music was written in tablature!

    Staff notation only gives you the pitch of the notes; finding them on your instrument entails knowing what pitches are where (which button and bellows direction on a concertina, which string and fret on a lute). Staff notation can be read directly only on the keyboard - or on the English concertina (whereby tenor, treble and bass versions will associate a given dot on the stave with a different button on the instrument.) And, well, if you're a really good singer, you can also sight read from staff.



    Along the lines of what John wrote, I want to add something about notation from personal experience. I was a classical guitar player (staff notation) prior to playing Renaissance lute (tablature). Staff notation tells you the pitch of the notes and also the duration of all the notes (you are left to figure out which strings and frets will enable you to play it). Renaissance lute tablature tells you the strings and frets to play the various notes, but it only tells you the duration of some of the notes. When it comes to the duration of the other notes, you are left to figure that out for yourself, based on your knowledge of harmony/counterpoint.

  9. 3 hours ago, David Barnert said:

    So where does improvisation in performance fit in?

    I suppose that anything improvised during a performance could be called playing by ear. But there is some grey area. For example, I am learning an old song (by ear). I have "composed" variations for some of the measures (again by ear) that I mix and match as I play the repeats. Since it is a little different each time, you could say that I am improvising and playing by ear. But I have practiced the variations in advance. So am I improvising or playing from memory? I think it is a little bit of both.  

  10. Learning by ear and playing by ear require some different skills. Performing a tune learned by ear might be better called playing from memory. Playing by ear is more a case of being able to play a tune (alone or with others) that you have not learned/practiced in advance. One way to get better at that skill is to (slowly and patiently) practice playing all the various intervals in a key up and down and making those actions second nature for your ears and fingers.


    Playing by ear is a lot like talking—you want to hear certain sounds and you do whatever you need to do to make those sounds (choosing the words, whispering, shouting, emphasizing certain words, etc.). You can do that automatically and instantaneously while talking because you have spent years and years trying your hardest to successfully progress from the "goo, goo, ma, ma stage" to the "dad, I need to borrow the car stage."


    Obviously, learning to play as well as you can talk is much, much easier said than done. Luckily, there are only 12 notes and relationships you need to learn and practice. And only 7-ish in simple music.


  11. 12 hours ago, malcolm clapp said:

    I would have hoped that the signatories to the Treaty of Versailles had more important things on their mind, Jim.  🙂

    I'm with you. But I looked it up, and there it is in Article 282 (so at least they addressed some other things first), Section 22, where they agree to accept the standard (A 435) that had been adopted by certain European countries at a Convention in 1885. Article 282 has 26 Sections, each adopting something from a grab bag of things negotiated at earlier International Conventions (addressing a wide range of concerns, including the protection minors, protection of birds important in agriculture, suppression of obscene publications, free use of the Suez Canal, unification and improvement of the metric system, and the suppression of White Slave Traffic.) 

  12. Please thank her Majesty for the kind words.


    I am no Cecil Beaton, but I did once photograph her Majesty. She had just motored into Tampa, Florida, on the Royal Yacht Britannia, and she was being welcomed by our mayor. As you will see, those were different times.


    I had a job where, among other things, I edited a magazine. Back then the Police Department issued press passes, flimsy things, little more than a pink piece of cardboard with your name typed on it. I had had one for years, but had never used it. On the day the Britannia was to arrive, I grabbed a camera, clipped my press pass to my suit jacket, and headed for the harbor.


    I didn't know what to expect, but I was still surprised to see hundreds and hundreds of women in hats and handbags lined up to pass through metal detectors. There were Secret Service agents all over the place. Tall guys, all with little wired microphones in their ears. As I arrived, one of them walked up to me, looked down at my press pass, and said "Good morning, sir. Please follow me." He then escorted me, unchecked camera bag and all, past the lines of women and the metal detectors and took me quite close to the queen and the mayor.


    All I can think is that when he looked down at the pink piece of cardboard, he only looked at the top two lines: City of Tampa Police Department.  



  13. 50 minutes ago, Paul Groff said:

    Another excellent hypothesis Malcolm. Here in the US, the Hohner (and occasional Koch) F#BE boxes  I've seen usually date from the 1920s - early 1930s, and usually found in A 435. Some steirische-type boxes were also made or retuned to those keys.


    I don't know if this has any relevance to the specific Hohner and Koch instruments you reference, but I've read that A 435 was the pitch standard agreed to in the Treaty of Versailles at the end of World War I.

  14. Nice job Simon. I've always liked God Save the King. The first set of variations I ever heard were by Beethoven!


    Here is a set of variations from across the pond where the "God Save the King" was borrowed as a national hymn and renamed "America." Originally written for the organ by Charles Ives, this version by the Unites States Marine Band was orchestrated by composer William Schuman. Maybe someone will make an arrangement for concertina band.


  15. While not concertinas, for ease of access (all on one page) it may be instructive to listen to the sound files of the various Marcel Dreux accordinas (windblown free reed instruments), each with sides made of different materials and/or configurations. With the exception of the final two instruments at the bottom of the page, each model has the same reeds and mechanics inside.



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