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About Breve

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  1. I'll be much closer to home (Texas) - the O'Flaherty's irish music retreat is held in Midlothian, Tx which is a little town south of Dallas. I saw the Noel Hill camps are still listed as going ahead for 2020. I'd like to get to one of those one day. Perhaps next year. Yes and I agree cross rows is key. Thanks for the good wishes.
  2. An update to this: The used Minstrel C/G arrived yesterday. It's a plainer looking instrument with the matte black finish and not as nice looking as my G/D. The buttons are a little rough around the edges - so little things like that are noticed. But it has a milder/sweeter tone and less "honky" sounding than the G/D Herrin. I think volume is a bit less too. Action of buttons etc seems good (as far as I can tell with my slow playing) and I'm glad I didn't get a more basic entry level 'tina. This will suit me for quite a while. As for initial impressions on how brains learn/rewire. I decided that as I learnt to play G/D by reading sheet music and learning the button layout off paper, to trick my brain into learning the new system I would learn C/G tunes by ear and not look at sheet music until I was much more comfortable. Hence the online lessons. The 2 tunes I've learned - one I already knew well, the 2nd was brand new to me. Of course I picked up the known tune quickly (OAIM - Maggie in the Woods). The brand new one (Caitlin Nic Gabhan's free lesson Primrose Lass) took a bit more effort as you'd expect, but I got there without too much trouble. This didn't surprise me. But I was surprised at what happened next: After I was comfortable with Primrose Lass I looked at the sheet music download and tried to play along reading that. My brain didn't like it ! It produced what I can only describe as a sort of cognitive dissonance - the associations learned for those music notes were being constantly tested as I was playing different fingering. It felt a little weird. Then I tried playing along to ABC notation. This is something new to me and I am not experienced doing it at all, but it seemed easier. Reading the letter "A" or "G" etc didn't produce the same odd sensation as reading a music note on the staff did. Perhaps because it's also new thing my brain just went along with it without a fight! It was interesting to realise this morning that while I can hum Maggie in the Woods extremely easily, I can't hum Primrose Lass for the life of me. It starts on "B" and that's all I can remember. 30 mins of learning the tune last night wasn't enough time for my brain to lock it in. I suppose professional musicians have brains that pick up and retain tunes much more easily and quickly than my brain. I'm not a neurologist or an educator but I found it interesting to discover these differences - in how the brain receives new info inputs and how the "rewiring" process happens. So even though it's very early days, it's proving my hunch that learning this new system by a different method (ear vs paper) is probably the better way for me.
  3. McNeela Swan concertinas are still on sale. As for what they sound like here's a nice tune:
  4. I once borrowed a friend's Rochelle for about a month. I found it sort of playable - but it felt too big for my (female) hands. I read about the Blackthorn in my research, but couldn't find much out about it, and I was starting to get cold feet from buying overseas in case there was a problem and had to send it back etc. In the end after a fair bit of "sleeping on it", I bought the used Minstrel from Button Box. It was someone else's trade-in and it's already had a little tune up. Keeping to a seller within the US is easier for me if it ever needs a service etc and I now have two USA concertinas, the Minstrel and my G/D Herrin. The Minstrel will work for me very well I think. The advice given on learning a new system is appreciated - it's interesting to hear of others' experiences. On the G/D now, I tend to go cross rows and try to use both hands whenever I can - although most of the work is done on the right hand of course if it's a melody-only tune with no accompaniment. In fact my memorizing of tunes and getting them up to speed is always delayed because I can't help but try out new fingering. Usually I learn a tune at first in the easiest way - (along the row) and then unlearn all that and try to to learn new fingerings. So mindful of this inability to just settle on a fingering I've decided I will sub to some online lessons for the C/G and learn someone else's fingering for the tunes! Either Caitlin Nic Gabhann or OAIM - haven't decided yet. This gives me about 6 months to pick up C/G system for the Irish music camp this fall. Again, thanks to all who responded.
  5. I like how you kept your old Stagi for nostalgic reasons and also for it's playability. I looked and did not find an old Bastari as you described. The Stagi I have (newer one) has stiff bellows - I did play it for couple of years but the bellows stayed obstinate. My hands/wrists would get a bit sore from the straps digging in as I was pulling against the stiff bellows. It put me off looking at a newer C/G Stagi.
  6. Bill N, interesting how your playing improved overall, after you took on the C/G system. So it was a 2 year learning curve for you - that's good to know. I must be patient and keep persevering then. I agree with your comments about needing a concertina similar in action/ response to what I'm playing. Otherwise yes it would feel like a step backwards and much more challenging.
  7. I am ignorant about bushings. A quick search told me it's something around the buttons and folks mention them wearing out or slipping out of place. Are they some kind of pad then? What do they do?
  8. Thank you to all who answered. I did get an answer back from Chris Algar who kindly let me know he had nothing in my budget and he didn't like shipping overseas due to the reeds possibly shifting out of alignment during transport and thus potential problems for the buyer. I don't know if this reluctance was always the case, perhaps reed misalignment due to rough handling in shipping has been a problem from time to time and he's decided to change how he does things now. I'm tossing up between the new Swan on sale and a used Minstrel. One is within budget, the other just out of budget but a better 'tina. I know all the good arguments for buying the best a person can afford. I can't trade in my Stagi for the Minstrel and I'm waiting to hear if McNeela will take it (they did ask me for photos etc) though I suspect ultimately not - as why on earth would a music store in the land of ITM want a G/D and a stagi at that ? So no firm decision made just yet.
  9. G/D player here. I like my GD lots. But I realise it's not best for ITM - the fluidity/bounce aspect. (insert d'oh reaction here). I'd like to attend an irish music retreat in the fall. So thinking I should switch now, get used to it, and do beginner/foundation workshops at the retreat. If you've switched systems - did you put aside old one for a while completely? did you play new tunes on new system and old tunes on old system with no mixing? Was it a struggle to adapt? Now for the C/G instrument question: McNeela Swan on sale at the moment. Definitely thinking about it. I've also emailed the Button Box guy about suitable used ones and also the Barleycorn guy. Experiences with the Barleycorn ppl shipping to US? I'm aware that I could get by in ITM with less than 30 buttons (say 26 or 28) and that's why I emailed Barleycorn. I want to keep this purchase to be under $1k. But still find something I will like playing (no fighting with the bellows, no sluggishness, no overly shrill sound etc). The Rochelle seems rather large and I don't care for the sound so much - but it would do if I found nothing else. But if you were in my shoes would you jump on the Swan or wait and see what you could pick up in a Lachenal? I have listened to restored Lachenal vids on Youtube and I like the sound, but was wondering if vintage concertinas need more TLC? I also have a beginner (Button Box serviced) Stagi G/D I need to find a home for. So asking here if any one wants to trade for their beginner C/G, in case you were curious about learning G/D but didn't want to make a big investment? Long shot I know as most would trade a beginner concertina back for the next upgrade, but it doesn't hurt to ask. Thanks.
  10. Kate, is that Curlew the one that's still listed for sale under the 2nd hand instruments? It has a review which implies it's been sold but still listed on website. Oh dear... anyway I hope the Phoenix works out for you!
  11. I have a 30 button G/D Stagi I'd sell for about that price, shipping would be extra and it doesn't have it's own case. It was adjusted by the Button Box people and I have an email documenting what they did. G/D is the less common tuning though and you'll have to figure out if that path is for you or not.
  12. Yes I could do that for you. Sent you a message.
  13. I like that list of bullet points. Bravo! When people use the phase "3 chord trick "- what does that actually mean? Well, many tunes are 3 chord tunes - many trad tunes fit this pattern. But it's not 3 random chords though. The chords have a relationship to one another based on music theory. They are the chords based on the first, fourth and fifth note of a music scale. Or using roman numerals again, I, IV & V. In C major scale the I, IV and V notes are C, F, G. Thus a traditional tune in C major will include the chords of C, F and G major. The tune will start in C major, and as the melody develops will change to F major or G major and it will always end back at C major because that's the root or home key. This is a predictable pattern. This is why it's called a "trick". A 3 chord tune in the key of G is built on the I, IV and V chords of the G major scale. That's the G, C and D major chords. Then you can branch out into 5 chords as described above, adding in 2 minor chords. These minor chords are not random but part of the pattern that's coming out of the music scale. Anyway, the beginner G/D book I mentioned in my previous post is by Pip Ives. "The Anglo Concertina. A comprehensive guide to the 30 G/D Anglo Concertina in the English Style". I'm attaching one page of the chord charts so you can see what they look like. The book has a bit of concertina history/how to play, a bit of basic music notation instruction, chord charts, 12 tunes (English traditional) and some maintenance/repair info. It comes with a CD. The author has his own fingering system - but if you read notes that doesn't matter so much.
  14. I have a G/D beginner's book by an English author. I can't remember the name but will check tonight when I'm home. It has chord charts show as visuals. Very handy. You can also figure it out with a little music theory. I'll give an explanation below - and it may not be your cup of tea but someone else might find it useful. There's quite a few exotic chords but the 2 main ones to start with are either major or minor chords. Major chords The basic chord structure is built on the 1st, 3rd and 5th notes of any scale. So if you look up C major scale, the I, III & V notes (it's always written as roman numerals) will be C, E and G. So on the left hand on the bellows pull you have the top left for a low C, a C that's an octave higher in the middle row, plus an E next to it. On the bottom row there's a lower E, an E that's an octave higher and a G. From those notes you can create a C major chord. Similarly, a D major chord is I, III & V from the D major scale, which are the notes D, F# and A. E major = E, G#, B F major = F, A, C G major = G, B, D, and so on, working through all the scales available on a piano, both white and black notes. There's a ton of chord finder websites for those who don't know music scales. The notes of a chord can be in any order, as long as they are the notes that belong to the chord. Your ear will tell you! It doesn't matter if there are 2 notes that are the same but different octaves - this just creates a fuller sounding chord. Once you've grasped the concept of pulling the I, III and V notes out of a scale, then you can look at your fingering chart and figure out the chords you want to learn. Some major and minor chords require a note that is a sharp or flat. I must tell you that a note that is a sharp, is also identified as a flat. A# (A sharp) is the same note as Bb (B flat). It's got a different name depending on what scale it belongs to. If you were to play on the pull: F, A# and D from the top row of your left hand buttons you would be playing Bb major. But those notes are also A# major chord, except we would say A# instead of it's alternate name of Bb. Minor scales. Minor chords sound melancholic compared to major chords but these are still made of the 1st, 3rd and 5th notes pulled from the minor scale. They are written as I, iii & V (lower case roman numerals for the 3rd (iii) note to distinguish them from major chords). In order to create a minor chord, the I and V notes are the same as for the major chord - but the 3rd note changes. The C minor chord requires an Eb to create the chord. Eb is alternatively known as D# and you have a D# on the top row of your left hand on the push. However, while you could play the Eb (D#) and a G note (from middle row) on the push I don't see a C note available on the push. So this 2 note chord would still work to give a minor chord sound but be missing the 1st note of the chord. 2-note chords are very useful - and a workaround to not having all 3 notes of the chord available. You can stick to the 1st and 5th (I & V) and not worry about the 3rd (III or iii) note. This chord will fit in with what you're playing and sound minor when the tune is in a minor key, or major if the tune is in a major key. So going back to the C major chord example. If you were to play only the C and G notes (I & V) you could play this as C major or C minor chord. To have a fuller sound with 2 notes you'd have to play a couple of C's with the G note on the pull. I know music theory explanations aren't for everyone, but it's very helpful to learn some basics. It means you can figure out your own arrangements. Knowing just the 2-note chords of I & V will be a game changer. I'll come back to this post with the name of the G/D book that has chord charts. I don't want to scan pages and post them due to copyright considerations.
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