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Posts posted by Pianist

  1. Combination of things.Yes, you only need the thumb tips in the straps to be able to get to the first octave. It helps to tighten the straps to make this firmer. Yes, you only need to hook onto the rest to get some control. No you shouldn't be supporting the weight. Rest the concentina on one knee and use that to support the weight. Look at videos of players to see how they do it. 

  2. I had piano lessons as a child and picked it up again in retirement. My wife plays folk fiddle and it was a natural match. However, a piano, even a keyboard, is far from portable. I tried piano accordion but to no avail so decided on the English concertina as a portable alternative.  The English suits a pianist and it's easy to sight read once you get the hang of it. I started with a borrowed Jackie and then bought one to see how I got on. After going to Swaledale Squeeze in 2017, I ended up with a nice Lachenal and haven't looked back. We both play at two local U3A groups and find it great fun.

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  3. Depends what you play. Scots tune (really traditional) often require the fiddler to use 3rd position so high c3 is quite usual. Similarly, both Scott Skinner and Phil Cunningham will start on a low A and work up. Scots tunes can often be in A major so use a lot of G#.

    Playford tunes will often be in B flat - again a challenge. The real beggar is Carolan who can write in F minor (A flat major equivalent) and the EC doesn't have a D flat.

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  4. It's not just Banks. York has lost the physical Red Cow Music store as well. However, there are all sorts of outlets around York catering to all sorts of squeezables. Acorn Music - mainly accordions - is at Stillington. Red Cow is up at Thornton-Le-Dale. There's Squeezebox Marketplace at Boroughbridge. A little further afield is Hobgoblin in Leeds. So the death of Banks is not a total disaster.

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  5. On 4/20/2022 at 12:04 PM, Steve Morrison said:

    This book is now back in stock at https://redcowmusic.co.uk/product/contemplating-the-concertina/


     Be warned: on the very first page of tuition Mr Atlas will have you playing a scale of C# Major in six sharps, as an exercise to familiarise yourself with the enharmonic accidental buttons which the odds are you’ll never have touched before.


    C# Major in however many sharps is just D flat major (5 flats with D flat using C# instead) You run across that in F minor or A flat major as well.


    The real fun is to play in B# major with double sharps - B# C## D## etc


  6. 10 hours ago, Gail_Smith said:

    I play EC. For me the  difficulties currently arise when trying to sight-read  dots that suddenly hit you with an A# or a Db. Because they are not where I want them to be.  I suspect this is something i will get better at in future and eventually it won't be a problem... but it is at the moment. I have no idea if this is also a problem with the various duet systems. 


    If you're sight reading, you should scan the piece for "fun" bits e.g. B to E  on the same side or A# / Db then it becomes a bit easier.

  7. 1 hour ago, Geoff Wooff said:

     Beyond    four sharps  and  three  flats  on the  English  keyboard  the  regular  sharing of  notes  between left and right hands  starts  rapidly to  breakdown.  So  Eb,  Bb, F, C, G, D, A and E  and their  relative  minors  are  comfortable  keys  within the system.  


    F's relative minor is A flat with Bb Eb Ab and Db. Db is missing and you need C# (if you have equal temperament tuning) so F minor is tricky.  But that's the easy one. Bb major has a relative minor of Db ? (and 5 flats) or enchromatically C# and Eb  has a relative minor of Gb or enchromatically F# none of which are concertina friendly.


    I'm a pianist and have found the English the easiest to adapt to. I play some Scottish tunes which regularly go up to E6. As to tunes in "odd" keys the only one that I regularly play is Miss MacDermott (Carolan) which is a minor key version of Princess Royal. In Carolan it's in F minor, but the usual session version is in G minor which is a lot easier to play.

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  8. 1 hour ago, David Colpitts said:


    Many musical friends play English.  They can play perhaps fastest and most fluidly, since all tunes split between both hands.  If I hadn’t spent years on Anglo, and had begun with EC, I suspect that’d be the one for me.  But, like piano, seems to require 12 fingering patterns for 12 major keys, and another 12 for 12 minor keys.  So, Hayden remains the winner for me.



    There are only a limited number of finger patterns. Most of the sharp keys (and their minors) use the same fingering. English is a great system for keyboard  players because you are used to working with both hands together and doing different things. It also helps (with equal temperament) when you're playing in crazy keys - like Carolan's Miss McDermot in F minor - where you have to do enharmonic substitutions.


    Basically, the choice of system comes down to your musical background and what exactly you want to play.

  9. From Steven Bradley on Facebook



    We're sorry, but you probably won't be surprised ...

    We have decided that given the current situation with covid-19, it would be very unwise to run the Swaledale Squeeze this year. The potential risks to participants and people that we know seem to be too great.

    We have held back from opening bookings for the last couple of weeks to see how the situation develops, and we have now decided not to open them. Obviously people might have booked accommodation etc, and we're very sorry for any inconvenience caused. Perhaps you would like to visit Swaledale anyway to support the community in the beautiful location that we make our home for a weekend every year. We will be using some of our reserves to pay the guest tutors in part, to try to help with their loss of earnings.

    We'll send the dates of next year's squeeze and keep you posted with that.

    Until then, I hope you stay safe and well.


  10. We've just moved up to Yorkshire from Norfolk.In Norfolk, we had a local session where people did bring music. It was frowned on because they were almost working as a band with arrangements. Some singers did use i-pads and other devices. Here in Yorkshire, we go to a U3A group which uses dots. The dots are borrowed from a session in Harrogate - http://www.crimple.demon.co.uk/sessions.htm

    However, some of the versions are dire. This seems true of most tune books - some winners  and many losers. Eventually, you get a version you like or adapt a version based on somebody's playing.


    Dots don't seem to be geographical but vary according to the session.

  11. I play the EC, my wife plays fiddle. We quite happily use fiddle parts to play tunes together.


    Depends how old the tunes are, but we like Playford and one thing there is divisions where you add more and more notes to the tune. Sometimes starting at half notes and working up to sixteenth or  even thirty second notes. The division can be played over a simple ground or can be a part with the basic melody played over it. That's one technique which gets away from chords or a simple SATB type arrangement. Another (classical) technique is to add something like an Alberti bass as one of your lines.

  12. 6 hours ago, Little John said:


    Hi Pianist - it's perhaps worth mentioning that in the 19th century the English Concertinas would have been tuned in a mean tone temperament, so Db would not be the same as C#. Likewise Ab and G# would be different. The instrument would be limited to the eight keys between three flats and four sharps - enough for most people and not requiring any awkward fingering.


    I know this is not the answer you're looking for, but most people without your skill and persistence would simply transpose into C or D!



    Agreed. Or, if you're playing in F minor e.g. Miss MacDermott  (Carolan) then you could transpose to G minor. (But it sounds so much nicer in F minor!)

  13. The big problem is d flat (aka C#) Everything else flows nicely. My own preference is to play c d flat(C#) e flat all on the same side and then start alternating again. Otherwise you end up doing two pairs on the same side - c d flat (C#) and then over for e flat (d#) and f and then back to alternating. I find a single enharmonic easiest to handle although the fingering is awkward it becomes easier with practice.


    As well as doing straight scales, once you get up to 4 + accidentals, it's worth doing chromatic scales to get a feel for the notes.

  14. Swaledale caters for all levels including absolute beginner and all systems There were about 50 people there last year. It's held at Grinton Lodge Youth Hostel but you can go as non-residential as well. We usually get a cottage in Reeth for the weekend - my wife plays fiddle so comes along for some of the events. We usually stay until Monday so we don't need to pack up and leave stuff in the car on the Sunday. It attracts people from all over.the UK and beyond.

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