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  1. Most 1/8 note runs are your fingers on alternate hands taking alternate steps up or down the central 2 rows of buttons. Sometimes you pause to hit the same button twice in a row, but it's still simple. The EC is the easiest instrument to play lead with I've ever encountered. You don't really need to know ABC yourself at first, just have a computer program than can translate it into sheet music. I don't do Apple so can't be certain but looking at the forScore page, I don't see any mention of ABC. You don't need overlays. Just remember that in the treble clef, the lines of the staff are the left buttons and the spaces are the right buttons, and you're golden. When I started, I went to a lot to unnecessary time and trouble trying to remember the names of each line and space, but it turns out that was a waste until I started tweaking tunes in ABC to be easier to play on the EC. All you need do is check which key you're in, then recognize a note as a line or space (so left or right hand) and relative position on the staff (so which button). Then everything just flows and pretty soon you'll be improvising.
  2. Welcome to the madness. It's always nice to see another EC player. I often think we're the minority here . Anyway, as to getting started and trying out tunes, my 1st recommendation is not to be intimidated by sheet music that's black with 1/8 notes. The EC was made to rip through such runs without having to think much about it. Thus, even beginners can quickly get into playing rather up-tempo tunes. So my advice is to jump right into such things. My next recommendation, if you haven't do so already, is to get a good computer program that handles music files written in ABC notation. I use ABCexplorer myself. The beauty of such programs is that 1), they can translate ABC notation into normal sheet music, that you can see on your computer screen, save a PDF files, and print off. 2) they can create MIDI files from the ABC notation so can play the tune for you, so you know how it's supposed to sound if you're unfamiliar with it. 3) they allow you to edit ABC files to tweak tunes to your liking, or compose your own music (which can then be exported as sheet music and/or MIDI files) 4) they open up the whole massive internet world of ABC tunes for you. There are probably millions of them out there, both old and new tunes, which you can download for free. And then the program converts them to sheet music and/or MIDI files for you. Go to the home site of ABC notation to get started: http://abcnotation.com/
  3. OK, this is more of an engineering question than a musical question, so my Mousterian mind can handle it. A given pitch is produced by a vibrating thing (reed, guitar string, etc.) of a specific length, because its length dictates the frequency at which it vibrates. Compare reeds to guitar strings. With a guitar, you can pinch off the string at any of the many frets. This changes the string's effective length, so changes the pitch of the string. With concertinas, accordions, harmonicas, and whatnot, you can't change the length of the reed so each one plays a specific pitch, period end of story. Thus, these instruments require scads of reeds of different lengths, and a way to activate each reed individually because each reed always plays the same pitch because its length is constant. So, as to your question.... Accordion reeds come in pairs mounted side-by-side. Each has a check valve (usually a piece of plastic film), and within each pair of reeds these check valves are on opposite sides of the reeds' mounting plate. Thus, one valve closes on the push and the other on the pull, so regardless of which way you're moving the bellows, only 1 of the pair of reeds vibrates. This gives the instrument's designer the option of how to tune the reeds in each pair. For English concertinas and piano accordions, both reeds in the pair have the same length, so you get the same pitch whether on push or pull. For Anglo concertinas, button accordions, and melodions,, the reeds in the pair have different lengths so you get different notes on push and pull. The advantage of the same-length scheme is that you can make a chromatic instrument that can play in any key. The disadvantage is that you need twice as many reeds in total to cover that range of notes, which causes problems with packaging them in the instrument. It's pretty much the opposite for using reeds of different lengths. You can make a more compact instrument with fewer reeds in total, but it's generally limited on which keys it can play.
  4. Welcome to the madness. I'm pretty new at this myself (a bit over 1 calendar year with a few months off in the middle) but I've found this place quite helpful. I play (at) the English so we're going to end up speaking different languages when it comes to squeezeboxes, but the more the merrier
  5. Wow, it's been a bit over 1 year since I was last in here. I just wanted to pop in and say that the Neanderthal is still torturing his concertina and his cat still hates it, despite the ups and downs of the past year. Shortly after I posted the above, I developed some bad tendinitis on the back of my left hand, behind the index finger. Naturally, I at first blamed the concertina so quit playing for several months, but the condition got worse anyway and spread to my whole left forearm, then my right arm got into the act. Turns out I've taken to clenching my fists in my sleep, apparently due to deep-seated anger and frustration over things that are really beyond my control. It was so bad I was starting to give myself carpal tunnel. So, after some physical and mental therapy, and wearing wrist braces to bed, things improved to the point where I started playing again. I've just been too busy to say anything about it, or make a recording. Anyway, I suppose I should now leg this necro thread rest in peace. Just wanted you all to know I haven't abandoned the concertina.
  6. I haven't been in here in nearly a year (long story told elsewhere) so I decided I'd better bring a gift. In most dialects of Cajun French, "crapaud" is the moniker for what English-speakers in Louisiana call the "rain frog" (not "toad" as in the original French). These are small but very abundant little treefrogs who make a deafening chorus after every rain. Because most rain falls in the afternoon, these frogs are often up all night partying, so you might as well join them because you won't be able to sleep anyway . Thus, "Crapaud" is a lively traditional dance tune. I really like this tune. It's got that Cajun sound to it. It'll definitely give you a workout playing it at tempo, but isn't so complicated as to make playing it properly fast all that difficult. Enjoy. X:031801050 T:Crapaud C:Traditional O:South Louisiana Z:Transcribed from "Yé Yaille, Chère", by Raymond E. François Z:Generally tweaked by Jim "Bullethead" Weller M:4/4 L:1/4 Q:175 K:G z3/2 G/ "G" B/d/d/B/ |: d B/G/ B/d/d/B/ | A/G/G/A/ B/d/d/B/ | "D" A G/A/ B/A/G/A/ | "G" G B/G/ B/ d B/ | d B/G/ B/d/d/B/ | G B/G/ B/d/d/B/ | "D" A G/A/ B/A/G/A/ | [1 "G" G2 B/d/d/B/ :| [2 "G" G2 g/g/ b | |: !turn! g3/2 g/ a/g/f/e/ | d2 g/g/ b | g3/2 g/ a/g/e/d/ | g2 g/g/b | g3/2 g/ b/g/f/e/ | d2 g/g/ b |a/g/f/d/ c/d/f/a/ | [1g3/2 z/ g/g/ b :| [2 g .g .g z|
  7. Howdy Susan: I haven't been playing concertina long enough to offer much advice there but I can give you examples of the same thing happening in other fields. For example, my main time sink for many years has been primitive technology, especially flintknapping. I've been doing this so long that I usually make quite nice tools, prettier and better-executed than most of what we find in the archaeological record. But some days I shatter every rock I pick up, sometimes I struggle to make even functional but ugly things. Sometimes I cut or smash my fingers. Sometimes this really is the fault of some tragic flaw hidden in the rock but mostly it's me making some mistake. It's the same in every other field of endeavor, even the most trivial. Like this very morning, in between getting out of bed and arriving at work, I spilled my coffee, tripped over the dog, burned my finger on the toaster, attempted to put my left boot on my right foot, and got halfway to work before realizing I'd left my phone and pager behind and had to go back. I'm surprised I didn't have a wreck the way things were going. So don't get discouraged if you have similar streaky experiences with the concertina. It's just life, and if you let it get you down, that just encourages those little bastard gods in charge of petty annoyances to throw even more your way .
  8. Wow, thanks for the info. I have sometimes wondered how the valley got its name, and wondered if it was some corruption of "meander".
  9. That's a good idea, Don. I'll have to keep that in mind. I often wonder why ECs don't have more adjustments possible in their grippy parts. The ability to slide and rotate both the rests and the straps on the ends would seem a quite logical and natural feature. After all, so many other things can be adjusted to fit different people, why not ECs?
  10. Well, thank you sir . "Groaner moments" are going to happen regularly. I've only been doing this 3 weeks, I have about zero musical talent, and if my mind wanders for a moment, my fingers run off on autopilot running the length of the keyboard or some other such thing. But I'm not ashamed to record them for posterity. They're entertaining . I'm really enjoying this thing so far, at least now that I've figured a comfortable way to hold it. The video has a pretty good look at how my pinky is in the angled rest, which I find very comfortable and keeps it out of the way of the playing fingers. But I admit that I'm already considering an upgrade. That, however, brings up the subject of customizing it to suit my hands, which really are more comfortable chipping flint projectile points than doing anything else. As I'd never modify an antique, I'd have to get a new-built one. However, all the new-made mid-range ECs I've seen have mesh-like ends that don't offer many options on where to mount the pinky rests. It looks like they'd need major surgery. Maybe I could convince somebody to build the ends to my specs, maybe I'd have to make my own set of ends. There's another issue. As I've said, I learned to type on a manual typewriter so early on got into the habit of hitting my keys hard. As such, for decades I was wearing out a normal computer keyboards every few months until I got a Siig metal keyboard which so far has lasted about 2 years but is showing signs of age. I figure I'll destroy the action of most concertinas in short order, even when I'm trying to play legato. And I like to customize my tools. So for the nonce I figure I'm better off with cheap things I can abuse, modify, and make crude duct tape repairs on myself without too much of an investment in them.
  11. Thanks for the compliment, Ted. I worked on that synchopation for a while, especially the last few bars ("J'ai passé dedan la porte d'en arrière"). I firmly believe this song wasn't written down until long after it was being performed . I look forward to your future contributions to this thread.
  12. A keyboard would be useful - maybe I should look at ABC explorer. The tabbing I have started to use in the last few days is very basic, is "hand-crafted", and is therefore a little clunky. I simply insert a quoted text field in front of each note, indicating what button to press/pull. The text fields then appear above the relevant notes in the score. The following short example should make it clear how I do this: Thanks for the explanation of your tabs. I was envisioning something like Daddy Long Les developed. Anyway, if you want to look at ABCexplorer, here are a few pointers.... The overall layout is pretty much the same: list of tunes in the left column, ABC code in the upper right, sheet music in the lower right. You can drag the dividers between these windows however you want. To edit the ABC code, hit F5. when you do this, a virtual keyboard and many buttons appears on the divider between the ABC code and the sheet music. One button above the keyboard brings up a pop-up with a number of features, including transposition. NOTE: I have found that sometimes the transposition function bugs out, I have no idea why, but EasyABC doesn't on the tunes that ABCexplorer does. So it's sometimes useful to have both. The file manipulation isn't entirely intuitive to start with but once you figure it out, it's very powerful and flexible. The main difference is that ABCexplorer lets you open many ABC files at once in the same window and arranges them all in the tree structure in the left column. And if an ABC file as multiple tunes in it, you only see the ABC code for the tune your working on in the text editor window instead of all the tunes in that one file. This is nice because it keeps you from accidentally screwing up Tune A with a stray keystroke while actually working on Tune B.
  13. That's 2 fiddles doing a sliding finger in harmony, exploiting their analog tone production. Concertinas, even the chromatic ones, are pretty digital, tone-wise, so it would be hard to do that even with multiple concertinas.
  14. Bienvenue! Your advice on doing fiddle tunes, ça c'est bon, ça. I agree, even on an EC with accordion reeds, it's better to do the fiddle parts. "The Back Door" is more of a fiddle tune than accordion, at least as originally done, and I've got a Cajun fiddle book on order so we'll see. I'm especially looking for "La Sud de la Louisiane", which is one of the few I can sing in Cajun karaoke with my Neanderthal jaw and have the audience sing along instead of pelting me with tomatoes .
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